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Having the confidence to walk into a car showroom and command the price you want, for the car you want isn’t easy, but if you go with the right knowledge and the right attitude, it will go a long way toward a successful sale.
Unfortunately, the car-buying process doesn’t always run smoothly, so it pays to be prepared to avoid being tricked into any scams. Buying a car from a reputable franchised dealer is the best option as it will guarantee the car you are buying has been thoroughly checked for any discrepancies.
Take a look at our 10 Points of Difference promise to find out what are the main advantages of buying from a Trusted Dealer, but to ensure you walk into the car-buying process with your eyes fully open, we’ve outlined 5 car-buying scams to avoid below.
Scam 1. Part-exchange
If you’re trading your old car in for a new one, watch out for the low-balling trade in scam. This occurs when the dealer quotes you a very low price for your car. Initially, they want to see if you’re willing to readily accept the low price, but if you’re not they are hoping the low offer will cause you to reconsider the price of your vehicle. In this way, when they increase the offer, they’ll trick you into thinking you’re getting a good deal – you’re not. Since they started so low, you’re actually getting ripped off. The way to avoid this issue is to approach a number of dealers to get trade-in prices – this will give you a well-rounded ball park figure of what you car is really worth.
Scam 2: Avoid quotes online
Avoid emailing or calling a dealer to obtain a part-exchange price for your existing car. More often than not, the dealer will make you a high offer which will encourage you to bring the car into the showroom. When you bring the car in, the dealer fails to honour the offer after inspecting it in person – their goal was to get you into the showroom where they can then work on persuading you to make a deal. The answer here is to always take your car into a showroom to obtain a legitimate part-exchange figure.
This scam is used in all areas of retail as well as the car industry. The dealer advertises a car with a really low price, you are keen to buy it so take a trip to the showroom. When you get there, the car has sold – this is the dealer’s scam to get you into the showroom. The way to avoid this type of scam is to always call the showroom prior to visiting to confirm the vehicle is actually still in stock. If you’re still unsure, ask them to email you a signed statement to back this up.
Scam 4: Monthly payments
Some dealers will provide you with a ball park figure to attract you into a finance deal. For example, a dealer might suggest that for £250 per month, they can get you into a your perfect car to drive home today. This may be true and may look like an attractive offer if your budget is indeed £250, but the scam is that they are getting you to focus solely on the monthly payment figure, which may hide all sorts of lucrative back end products that you don’t need. The trick is to always negotiate a deal based on the price of the car and if there are add-on products or services, make sure the dealer separates each part of the transaction into a separate negotiation.
Scam 5: Increasing the price of a lease car
Even if you’re not buying the car outright and you are considering entering into a finance deal, you still need to negotiate just as hard to reach a overall price you’re happy with. Many buyers don’t realise that lease figures can also be negotiated, so they leave it up to the dealer to make them an offer, then get ripped off. The answer is to negotiate just as hard with the dealer as if you are buying the vehicle that day.