T - Tricks of the trade

05 June 2006

Tricks of the trade - Salesmen will spin you all sorts of yarns in order to secure a deal. Here are some common ones:

• Most car manufacturer special editions are hard-to-shift base models with extra equipment, but dealer special editions are the bottom of the barrel. A pop-up sunroof, some stripes and a dodgy name will not add value to your car. In fact, when it comes to sell it, the special edition will only be valued as the base car.

• Dealers are always promoting deals which run to the end of the month - but you can be reassured that it won't be long before another deal will pop up which might be even better.

• Finance commission is a major source of income for dealers. Some will give away all their profit on a car but still make money with a punishing finance deal. Get a written finance quote and check the APR. Also shop around for the best deal from other finance companies.

• When a salesman asks how much you would like to pay per month, always keep quiet. Just ask for the best price possible and shop around at other dealers, so you can compare prices.

• A salesman will often claim that he has to go away and check a deal with his sales manager. This is a ruse to blunt your attempts to negotiate. Ask politely to deal directly with the decision maker.

• Salesmen may try to give the impression they are doing you a favour by taking your car in part-exchange. They will imply that the car has problems and might need repair work or new parts. However, all second-hand cars have faults. Unless the damage is sizeable, the service way overdue or the tyres bald, no favour has been granted.

• A salesman may imply you're getting a great deal when he throws in road tax as part of the sales package. However, it is an essential part of the legal ownership and the garage is obliged to ensure the vehicle has a tax disc when it's sold. Point this out to the salesman.


Want to know the difference between your APRs and your PCPs? Our Glossary will guide you through the minefield of car-buying terms.

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