Buying a used car

I have read the interview with Deep Plain. My next question is this - How does a woman keep from falling into the “tricks” mentioned - such as becoming a follower of all the commands. I have always known to not show my LOVE for a car at first sight and I find that sometimes I wind up appearing rude just to keep from falling into their traps. I don’t like being rude but would like a good way on how to NOT fall in the traps and NOT be rude.

I am in the market for a used car now - I think I want a Cadillac.

The real trick is to assert yourself when you might not normally do so. I have politely said “With all due respect, I don’t like the way you are treating me. May I please speak to your manager so that he or she can assign me a salesperson with whom I am comfortable?” There are salespeople out there who won’t use these tricks and traps and instead treat you like a human being. There is nothing wrong with asking the sales manager to match you up with a salesperson who doesn’t use aggressive sales tactics.

Gender makes no difference; if you don’t like something the salesperson is doing or saying, by all means speak up. Be rude if necessary, and don’t be afraid to walk out the door.

The only way to keep from being dragged into their game is to control the situation. They are trained to take control and “drag the buyer around by the nose” (I was a car salesperson once, this is exactly the terminology they used). If you turn the tables on them and take control you will be in a much better position.

Always remember; it’s YOUR money, and you get to decide how much of it you’re willing to spend.

Don’t believe anything they say. Most car salespersons really don’t know very much about cars. They could just as easily be selling washing machines or time shares in Vail. Whether you’re talking about price, warranty, features of the car, or anything else, if it isn’t in writing it means nothing.

Do some research on the vehicle you’re interested in before you go anywhere near a car lot. Find out as much as you can. Consumer Reports is a good place to find out about reliability. has lots of good information about ownership costs. and similar sources can give you an estimate of what a given vehicle might sell for. The more you know before you step into the dealership the better off you’ll be.

ALL PRICES ARE NEGOTIABLE!!! Especially now. The bottom line is what you need to watch. The price of the car is one thing, trade in value is another, and these things can be juggled around. What you want to pay attention to is the money you will be spending.

Politely (or not so politely if necessary) decline any and all extended warranties, service contracts, paint treatments, upholstery treatments, undercoating, etc.

Use your computer and do a lot of research prior to visiting showrooms. and and all have lots of car listings and comparative information on different models. You can even get a good idea on pricing. When you see all the cars that are out there for sale you will be OK with moving on when a salesperson is out of line.

Rather than trust the sales pitch, take the one or two cars you are most interested to an independent mechanic for an evaluation. The mechanic will point out the good and weak points on the car and then you’ll have great information for the final negotiation leading to a deal you are OK with.

When helping someone shop for a used car (I buy new…then keep them forever) I like to bring a Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers’ Guide, an NADA price guide, a Kelley Bluebook, a Loan Amortization Guide, and a new printout of my bank’s auto loan rates. I do my own research and my own loan calculations.

Knowledge is power.

I also “take over” the process. I see them as being there to provide services to me in the search process, not to lead me to buy a car.

This past weekend I was helping a friend search. They had photocopied our licenses prior to our going on a test drive. The salesman was too hungry, too new, and tried to drive the process. My friend became very uncomfortable and decided to abort the process. When I said we’d changed our minds and reached down and picked the photostatic copies of out licenses up off his desk he went blank. The sales manager came running out wanting to know what went wrong. We simply explained that we’d changed our minds and did not want to leave that personal information behind.

These poor salespeople are starving right now. I feel sorry for them, but I gave at the office.

You need to control the process. And be willing to walk away.