Buying a used car needn’t be an unpleasant experience, but just like most things there’s the right way and the wrong way.
One of the aspects of used car buying a lot of people get worried about is what to say and what not to say to the dealer.
That’s why in this exclusive video we asked world-famous used car dealer and Mr Wheeler Dealer himself, Mike Brewer, the things you should not be doing or saying to a dealer when you’re buying.
Before I get on to the words, phrases and questions you should leave at the dealer’s door before entering their premises, I just want to say buying any car, whether new or used, should be an enjoyable experience.
Never go into a showroom thinking you’re going to have a fight. Dealers are usually really nice people! I know lots of car dealers and they’re all lovely people – they’ve just got businesses with overheads and they’re entitled to make a living, just like everyone else out there.
Do your research and you’ll enjoy it. But do NOT say or do the following things…
‘I don’t know what my budget is’
It’s really simple – have a budget, know what you’re going to spend and stick to it.
Don’t walk in to a dealership and say – ‘I don’t know what my budget is’ because that’s ridiculous. You wouldn’t walk in to a supermarket and fill up your trolley without knowing how much you’re going to spend.
Not only that, but it will put you on the back foot because the dealer will waste a load of time showing you something that you possibly can’t afford. And then you won’t like the dealer for doing that, so know your budget and what you want.
Don’t make a ridiculous offer
As much as you might want some money off – and who doesn’t, eh? – don’t steam in and make a stupid offer – trust me, it won’t get you anywhere, and you’ll probably insult the dealer rather than bargaining them down.
It always amazes me when people do this. Let’s go back to that supermarket again – you wouldn’t walk in, pick up a loaf of bread that costs 90p and walk up to the counter and say ‘I’ll give you 30p for it’. They’re not going to take it so why should a car dealer take it too?
You need to know what your target car is and what your target price is. Don’t walk in there and kick the dealer… it won’t work!
‘I love this car’
This is something a lot of people do: they walk in and say they’re in love with the car, it’s the perfect car to suit their lifestyle… You shouldn’t do this!
Why? Well, you’re just undoing everything you could possibly do with a dealer, because you’re not going to be in a good position to negotiate.
Put it this way, the dealer already knows you want the car so when it comes to talk about money you’ve undone everything.
I can speak with a lot of experience here as I’m guilty of it myself! I bought a new car recently and said how much I loved it and that I was going to buy it. When I said if I could have some money off, the answer was no. Why would they knock money off when they know I want it? Learn from my mistake and don’t be so obvious in wanting the car.
‘I can find this car cheaper elsewhere’
Don’t be stupid – go and do your homework. Find the car you want, look at what cars are going for on the market and find other ones to get a feel for prices.
Why’s that? Well, it might prevent you from saying to a dealer: ‘I can find this car cheaper elsewhere’. Not only will you look like an idiot but the dealer, quite rightly, is just going to say ‘go and buy it elsewhere then’.
Know your marketplace and be full of knowledge before picking up that phone or walking into the showroom.
‘My part-exchange is worth more than that’
Part-exchanges. It’s fine to want to part-exchange your old car for a set of shiny new wheels, but you’ve got to remember a really important thing here. Don’t moan when the dealer offers you less money than you expected for your old part-exchange.
The reason is the dealer has to take the risk and gamble on the part-exchange. It’s a case of simple economics: a dealer has one car to sell, you come along with your part-exchange and they now have two cars to sell to get that original profit.
Don’t be insulted if the price is less than you would get privately or at retail, because the dealer has to get a profit.
‘Is this car genuine?’
Dealers hate it when you say this. ‘Is it genuine? Has it been clocked?’ Don’t do this!
If a dealer has a car and they can’t verify the mileage, they have to display it legally with a sticker across the milometer that will say the mileage cannot be verified. You should, therefore, be cautious about buying that car.
Most cars these days are backed up with really good service histories, there’s data online and there are loads of apps out there – even the DVLA keeps a record of mileages. Don’t insult the dealer by saying this unless you’ve done your research on the car first.
‘Hello… can I have £££s off?’
This one drives dealers up the wall – customers walking in and immediately asking for how much money they can have off the asking price. It won’t work, you’ll upset the dealer, the deal won’t go the way you want it to and you’ll look like an idiot.
Lots of people try it with me all of the time. They’ll phone up, come and see the car and before we’ve even discussed the car’s benefits and extras – like metallic paint and the optional wheels – they’ll ask if they can have £5k off. Now I know this deal isn’t going to go well because all you want to do is rob the car off me.
Unsure of the good dealers? We’ve just published the nominations list for our Used Car Awards 2020 – click here to find out more.