Once considered rock bottom on consumer lists that rank trustworthiness, car salespeople have climbed above others in surveys today. A recent report shows that 82 percent of used-car salespeople value honesty as an important factor in achieving success, whereas stockbrokers rated honesty 30 percent lower than that.
Car salespeople have a twofold job: selling you a car and selling you a car you want.
Seek out a car dealer who errs on the latter side. Shop for a dealer as diligently as you
are shopping for your car. We have provided and easy way to help you Click
Ask to speak to the service manager before you buy a car. Find out when the service department is open, especially if weekends and weeknights are the best times for you to bring in the car. Also ask about the availability and condition of "loaners." Some dealers loan cars when repairs take a day or more to complete. Others will rent you a car or provide you with transportation.
Proximity is another important consideration. Having your dealership close to home saves time and gas money when servicing the car.
Ask friends to recommend dealers or seek out customers' opinions. Also, look for customer service awards proudly displayed on the walls of the dealership. Manufacturers survey the dealers' customers about the service they received and recognize top-flight dealerships. You can also call the Better Business Bureau for more information about a dealer.
New cars are sold through dealers but what kind of dealers? There are several types, each with its own personality and numerous sales techniques. Get to know the types, then decide which particular seller you're most comfortable with.
The Traditional Dealer
The no-hagglers of the '90s are a little different, however. The one-price strategy still works best for dealers selling high-demand vehicles. But today's greater demand for customer service has added a new dimension to car sales. Customers want good service, plus the option not to haggle, while still getting a good price.
No-hagglers may offer a standard discount below the sticker price and hold the price steady for all customers. The set price allows the dealership to make a decent profit, yet it reassures the customer that he or she isn't being taken for a ride. This allows a friendly relationship between the customer and the salesperson.
One no-haggling salesperson, who called himself a "service technician," said, "I steer you into the correct vehicle. I'm not just trying to sell you anything. I want you to find the 'right seat.'"
Be aware that no-hagglers may negotiate loans and may push extended warranties, rustproofing, credit life insurance, service contracts and other back-end extras, as discussed in the next chapter.
More than half of the people who buy used cars buy them from private individuals and half of those individuals are friends or family members. Other used cars are usually found through ads in the classified section of the newspaper, on bulletin boards, or you may see a used car with a home-made sign in the window.
Dealers, used-car lots, rental car agencies, auto brokers and auctions all sell used cars, too. There are major pros and cons to buying from each.
Cons: If you don't know the seller, you might not get honest answers about how the car was driven and maintained. Ask for repair receipts. And be sure to check that the seller is indeed the owner. If not, the seller could be what's called a "curbstoner" a used-car sales pro who pretends to be a private seller and more likely than not specializes in fleecing his or her customers. You can run into title and licensing problems when you buy from anyone other than the owner. If you suspect the private seller is a salesperson posing as the car's owner, ask to see the title of the car. If the name on the title is different from the seller's, walk away.
Cons: Used cars from new-car dealerships may be more expensive.
Cons: Used-car dealers often buy the castoff cars from new dealers. They also buy from auctions or purchase used cars from lease fleets, taxi companies or police departments.
Used-car lots often don't have a service department to repair cars; instead, these operations tend to sell cars "as is."
The dealer may also offer to sell you a service contract to cover the cost of repairs. This serves as insurance against having to pay through the nose for repairs. But read any service contract carefully so you know the deductible amount and exactly which repairs are covered.
Rental Car Agencies
Cons: You don't have any way of knowing who has driven the car before you buy it. You don't know if the car was abused by one or more of the drivers who previously rented it. That's why the Texas Automobile Dealers Association members have adopted a standard to disclose when cars for sale are previous rentals. That way, you can make up your own mind about whether you want to purchase a previous rental vehicle. Rental cars may also cost slightly more than cars purchased from private sellers.