Friday, May 26, 2006

Car Dealers

Last week my younger stepdaughter, passed her driving test so was determined to go and buy a car. She has a particular fondness for the Peugeot 206 so went trotting off to the local Peugeot dealer to get a reasonable 2nd hand one. Then we got a call from her asking for our bank details. When I asked why it transpired that the finance deal the garage was setting up for her required guarantors. Well that set the alarm bells ringing.

Quite apart from the fact that Holly is 20 years old and has a job with a regular income (earning more than I am at the moment, I think) I have absolutely no trust in finance companies so would not agree to it. Making further enquiries I realised that they were selling her a car that was overpriced to begin with, had a much higher spec than she wanted or needed, and over a 4 year period she would be paying over £2,150 in interest alone (more than a third of the cost of the car). Holly’s young enough to believe that when the very nice salesman says he’s doing her a favour that he’s being quite genuine about it, whereas I just felt a knot in my stomach knowing that he would have no compunction about taking complete advantage of her naiveté.

The problem is, she lives over 100 miles away so I couldn’t easily go car hunting with her, but I still felt I could get her a better deal somewhere. I spent a couple of days making phone calls and trawling the web and Holly came down to stay with us on Wednesday night so that on Thursday we could spend the day going round garages. Unfortunately there turned out to be a distinct lack of Peugeot 206s in this corner of Scotland.

To cut a very long story short, in the end my friend in the car trade, Barry (the same one mentioned in one of my first blog entries – Compliment the Car), pulled a rabbit out of the hat and managed to get hold of a good condition, low mileage 206 for a price that was several hundred quid less than anyone else’s equivalent. The only drawback was that it was up in Stirling (120 miles north of here). As Holly would be working all day Friday and Saturday the only way to guarantee we could get it was to drive up there yesterday afternoon. Still, it was a great deal and Holly’s as happy as can be about it. I didn’t get home until after 10pm though and was absolutely shattered.

By my calculations, with her getting a slightly lower spec car, financing it in a different way, and dealing with people I can trust, I reckon she’s saved in the region of about £3,500 and still has a great wee car that she’s happy with. It might be green instead of red, but for that amount of money she’s not going to lose sleep over it.

I’m relieved, but also incredibly pissed off with the original garage she was dealing with, because this whole episode has basically taken 3 days out of my life to get sorted for her. Wouldn’t it be nice if it wasn’t the duty of nearly every business to screw as much money out of people as they can (careful Kim, your socio-anarchistic ideals might start showing).

On a light-hearted note though, while I was up in the central belt of Scotland I also bumped into another old colleague of mine who commented on how much weight I’d lost since he last saw me. I gestured to the outsized clothing I was wearing and said something about having a lot of baggy clothes these days to which he squealed with delight, “Time for a whole new wardrobe!” In that instant I suddenly realised why women love having gay friends.

16 comments:

BStrong said...

I'm sure being a woman didn't help her at the original car dealership. You're a good step-dad.

It doesn't make much of a difference because the outcome worked out in her favor, but did you help her because she's your daughter ooooooooooooooor did you help her because of you and your feelings towards finance companies:)

B

Kim Ayres said...

Well I wouldn't give up 3 days of my life just to find a way of doing the finance companies out of £2K.

happykat said...

it happens to girls all the time.
i guess you have to have dangly bits if you don't want to be screwed.

(okay, that didn't come out right)

Charlie said...

This is a "family" blog, so I cannot repeat Martha's very vocal feelings about car dealers. In a word or two, she considers their honesty somewhat below that of the ambulance-chasing attorneys who advertise on television.

Once bitten, one becomes very wary of snakes.

Kim Ayres said...

HappyKat - I have gay friends who would profoundly disagree with you.

Admiral - I guess Martha's feelings must be in the same region as those she feels for people who would tell her to boycott Starbucks

rebecca said...

This is why I still don't own a car.

I hate salespeople, of all sorts and sizes. Particularly those in motor vehicles. And I am able to hammer out a deal on my own even without dangly bits, do it enough at work (maybe a question of age, after a while some bits start hanging, which is rather like dangling...), but it just is too much effort.

Well, ok, loathing of car salespeople is not the only reason I don't have a car. But it does play a role.

St Jude said...

It is disgusting. We had this problem when our daughter was looking for a car. Eventually his Lordship had to go in and sort it our just as you have done.

But the opposite happened when I went to buy my latest new car. I put it on my switch, (cash), they knocked £1500 off the price when they realised it was cash. I did my homework and I did get a great deal.

Stella said...

Yep dangly bits help. I sent my other half to check out my car, I just went along to view it. And your other post was so funny Kim - that is such a MAN thing - you just have to be seen to have got THE BARGAIN OF THE YEAR! Sounds so familiar, I changed my car this year and so did himself and HE DID SO WELL ON THE PRICES!!! Oh I knew all the right things to say to massage his ego.

Kim Ayres said...

Rebecca - most of these guys just remind me of estate agents - you know that they have no interest in you other than your money and will happily leave out important details if it means they'll get the sale

St Jude - you did well. There are plenty I've met who would happily have avoided letting you know you could get the discount if you didn't ask.

Stella - I'm glad you liked the "Compliment the Car" post. It was only mildly exaggerated from a conversaton Maggie and I had in a cafe one day.

SafeTinspector said...

I found one honest car dealer twelve years ago and I've leased from him every car I've had since (I lease a car every two years).

I think it is telling that his office is among the smallest at his dealership, yet he is among the busiest fellows there.

Sad, really...


Lastly:I wish we could get 206's! No Puegots in America as of now. Nor Fiats or Renaults.

Attila The Mom said...

You're such a great dad!

Nikki said...

HappyKat is right. The dangly bits help.

Kim Ayres said...

SafeTi - if you find a good dealer then you're right to keep a hold of him

Atilla - shucks...

Nikki - good grief woman, do I have to start teaching you about the basic principles of feminism?

Nikki said...

Thanks for the offer Kim, but I'm pretty well versed in that area. LOL (my mother may well hit you)

It's reality that car salesmen - and saleswomen, will give a better deal to a man.

In my line of work, I know MANY, MANY car salesmen and I have spoken to several of them about this topic, and I have only spoken to ONE that said he would offer the same deal to a man or woman.

I have learned a few important tips for when I next go shopping for a car. I'll share a couple.

1. Take up the salesperson's time. If you chew up his time, he is more likely to make a deal with you that is more agreeable to your wallet. The line of thinking being - he's got so much time invested in you, he might as well make what money he can and get you out of the way so he can make more money with someone else. BE A TIME HOG!

2. Don't be afraid to walk out. If you are 3 seconds away from signing the papers and all of the sudden he pulls some slick willy stuff on you, shake his hand and leave. When he sees you're serious, he'll go that extra mile to work with you. DON'T BE AFRAID TO WALK OUT!

These might sound like common sense things for most of us, but most people don't know these things or they are just so tired of trying to get a new car, they agree to get it over with.

An important tip for ladies: when shaking hands, don't shake his finger tips. SHAKE HIS HAND WITH A FIRM GRIP, squeeze slightly. I spend a lot of time hand shaking and men HATE the finger tip shake (I have never done this, but see women do it all the time).

If you are scared of getting your hand crushed (I've had my knuckles crack on more than one occasion) take the first two fingers of your hand and stretch them out across the underside of his wrist while gripping with the other 3 fingers. It won't keep you from getting crushed, but it will afford some relief from those men who have no idea they are smushing your paw.

Seems I've been quite a space hog. Sorry Kim, got on a tangent there.

Kim Ayres said...

Useful tips, Nikki. Although the hadnshake almost sounds Masonic

fatmammycat said...

The trick is to cut through the balther and ask, no demand, to know what they can do for you, you can get great deals on returns and guarantees, free insurance, free tax, the whole shebang. But don't ask, don't get. At the end of the day they will fall over themselves to get your money so make sure they work for it.