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4 tips to help you spot a dishonest used car salesman

When shopping for a vehicle, especially a used one, trust is exceptionally important. The reality is that you’re laying out a substantial amount of your hard earned money and you don’t want to get fleeced. Equally important is the fact that while it may not be a new car, it IS a new car for you and as such, you would like the experience and the product to feel special.

Enter the dreaded used car salesman. The stereotype would have you expect a pushy and overbearing individual who may put you on the defensive right from the get-go.

Of course, salespeople come in all shapes, sizes and personalities so put away your pre-conceived notions and give the salesperson a chance. Whether it’s a car, shoes, computers or a pack of gum, nobody likes a pushy salesperson. Seeing as the purchase of a pack of gum is not at all as complex a process as buying a vehicle, you should be able to take as much time in the decision making process as you need, without any pressure.

If the salesperson lets you do your thing (open the hood, check under the car, test all the equipment etc.) and is there to answer any questions or comments you may have, without pushing it on you, then you have found a good salesperson. The most important part of finding a good sales person is to spot someone that is actively listening to what the client has to say. If the client mentions that they have a new baby, a good sales person shows them a minivan and is not trying to push a two-door coupe on them.

The following 4 tips include “lines” that a pushy or dishonest salesperson will use to swing you into a purchase:

1- “We just got this one in and already there have been dozens of phone calls” – This implies that this vehicle will not last long at all and therefore you should act very quickly to make sure you don’t lose it.

2- -“It doesn’t have air conditioning, but you really don’t need it if there are only two hot weeks in summer” – The salesperson is trying to downplay what you would normally perceive as a negative by trying to convince you otherwise. If you came looking for a specific option and it fits in your budget, don’t buy something without it.

3- “The squeak you hear is just because the car hasn’t been driven in a while” – while that may or may not be true, double check and have the car inspected by your mechanic.

4- “I can’t go any lower on the price because I’m already below cost” – This may be true because losses do happen in the car business for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, they may be telling you this because they see you as an easy mark and want to maximize profits. Respectfully, ask to see their bill of purchase and for all repairs done to the vehicle. If it’s not a sales ploy, they should have no objection.

The bottom line is that you should go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, there are plenty of other cars and plenty of other dealers, because if you make a mistake, you could be regretting it for years.

Joel Salzman

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