If you’re buying a used car, you want to be sure you’re buying a dealer you can trust. We’ve all heard horror stories of cowboy dealers saying anything to get the sale. Avoid being conned, and follow these tips to find a dealer you can trust.
1. Go in prepared, so you’re harder to mislead. Do some research about the model of car you’re interested in so you have a rough idea of the average value. It’ll be much harder for a dealer to inflate the price if you know what you ought to be paying.
2. Phone ahead before visiting a dealer and take notice of how you’re treated on the phone. A good dealer should be polite, friendly and happy to talk to you about the used cars they have available before you visit the dealer in person. Do they seem knowledgeable?
3. Try an independent dealer instead of a chain. An independent, like Newtons of Ashley, won’t be under pressure from head office to make the hard sell, putting you in a better position to negotiate a fairer price.
4. When you visit the lot, take a look at the cars they have out. Do they appear to be in a reasonable, safe condition? Are the cars being looked after? If the cars look run down, dangerous or like nobody has cleaned them in a while, look elsewhere.
5. Does the dealership have their own repair shop? Not having one isn’t a black mark, but if there is one, it’s a good sign that the cars are being properly maintained, as it can be done on site. It also suggests the dealer could handle warranty claims easily too.
6. Does the dealer offer a standard warranty? A good warranty offer is a good sign that everything is above board, so double check before you buy.
7. It’s important to get an inspection on a used car before you buy it. If the dealer objects to this or seems reluctant, this is a huge red flag. Don’t buy a car that you can’t have inspected.
8. Check out the reviews on Google or other local review sites before choosing a dealer to visit. Are there consistent complaints or issues being brought up? Use your common sense to filter for reviews that identify genuine issues. Ask friends or family who’ve recently bought used cars for their recommendations too.
9. See if the dealer has their inventory of used cars online. Take a look, and if there’s a car you’re interested in, check the number plate online to find out more. You should be able to find out if the car has been written off or involved in an accident, which is a clear sign you should look elsewhere.
10. Do you have a relative or friend who has a good relationship with a local dealer? Ask them to come with you to look at cars. If you’re with someone the dealer has a friendship with and has sold to before, you can trust that they’re not going to send you off in a dangerous vehicle, and they might be more flexible on price.