Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How to Deal with Used Car Salesmen

This last weekend I decided to do a little research for fun. I decided to spend two days driving from car dealership to car dealership and throw in a private owner here and there. Okay, the truth is I, like most people dread the idea of dealing with car salespeople. I actually ran away from a dealer. After asking what the policy was on having the car checked out by an independent mechanic, I was told it could be written into the sales contract. He had the nerve to push a sale before I even saw a car. This even beat out the old trick, "I'm not sure where the car is... lets walk over to the other lot." Yeah, the back forty. I never did find out what happened to the car that was advertised. I thought bait and switch was illegal.

My trick is... Tell them you are on your lunch hour and your buddy (that went with you to act as the voice of reason) has to eat or you're in deep trouble. I'm not sure why it worked, but it did. Other suggestions include:
~ Do not leave your car at one lot and drive to another with the salesperson. You will be trapped.
~ Take a spare key to give to the shop if they want to inspect it for trade in. Keys have a way of disappearing. Do not give them a full set. Only give them your car key.
~ Decide what you are willing to pay before you set out. You may need to adjust it after you look at a few cars.
~ Be prepared to walk no matter how much you love the car.
~ Take the time you need to make sure you are comfortable with your decision. Over at No Credit Needed, he writes in Day 12 of his 33 Days and 33 Ways to Reduce Debt and Save Money series to Be Sure.

So, why am I telling you this story? Two weeks ago, my 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was totalled. It was parked when a drunk driver missed a turn and ran into her. I have a long history with this car. Although I have owned much newer cars, this was my grandfathers Olds and I learned to drive on her. (Yes, I realize I am referring to the car as her... her name is Bessie because she's an old cow.)

Now I've been struggling with the financial decisions as well as the grief and loss. I am really working to get out of debt and the idea of adding a car payment really doesn't appeal to me. Unfortunately, my savings doesn't give me much to buy one outright either. You can't get much that you trust with $3,000. (This does include the money the insurance company paid me.) If anyone has a thought on this, please share.

1 comment:

IPMco said...

You are a brave woman! Used car salesmen... yikes. Now, I know you have heard an earful of my ideas, but I would like to share this one to plead my case again, and even moreso, to share this with your readers...

I have lived (rather happily) without a car for the last 2 years. "How, you might ask, can she do it!?" Well, my secret is Flexcar. It is a great alternative to owning a car. I don't have to pay for gas or insurance. I can also feel good about reducing pollution... the hippie in me LOVES that most of the vehicles are hybrids or just very fuel efficient. Check out www.Flexcar.com for information about rates and availability in your area (more cities are coming on board all the time!) I pay an annual fee of $40 and usually a max of $10 per hour of use. When you use it more, you pay less. I'm actually now signed up for a $30/mo plan that gives me my drives at a mere $5 per hour. I love it!

I also commute alot by bike (which has been GREAT for my weight!) And I even ride the bus.