05 April, 2014

Buying cars

We’ve recently been shopping around for cars. Not having bought a car for a few years, I had forgotten how annoying car salesmen can be. They really do go in for high pressure salesmanship.

So, for example, we test drove a car and liked it. We’d done our research beforehand so we knew that, if the car was a good drive, it was quite likely that we might order one. Once the salesman understood this, his hard sell started.

First of all, he told us that, actually, he could sell us the showroom vehicle that we’d just driven. This was the model up from the one we wanted to buy and had lots of additional features which meant, if we bought it, we’d end up spending £2,000 more than we originally intended—and we’d said right at  the outset that budget was a real issue for us. Furthermore, despite the fact that the showroom model had a few thousand miles on the clock and had, naturally, been driven by lots of other people, the amount that the salesman offered to knock off the RRP was miniscule.

All-in-all not much of a bargain, in our opinion. ‘But why don’t you want to buy it?’ the salesman asked us, feigning surprise (badly!). ‘Because we’d be spending £2,000 more than we intended for a model that we don’t want...’ we replied. Duh!

We stressed that we weren’t going to make up our minds, even with regard to the model that we were interested in, there and then. Our salesman then had to explain all of this to his boss and the boss had to come out and shake hands with us before we were allowed to go.

After thinking about it over the weekend, we decided that we would indeed buy the model that we had always had our eye on. There was a bit of a backlog of orders—a couple of months’ worth—but this didn’t bother us as we weren’t in a huge rush.

A couple of days later the salesman rang us to say that, if we liked, we could have our car a little earlier as there was already a car of the model, colour, etc. that we wanted on order for the showroom. The only snag was that this car had a spare wheel—we hadn’t gone for this optional extra because it cost an additional £100.

In the end, we went for the car-with-spare-wheel that would be ready earlier, largely because the salesman could give us an exact date for its delivery, whereas we knew that if we stuck to our original plan, there was a significant risk that the date would slip even further due to the large backlog of orders.

Despite out best efforts, the salesman managed to persuade us to spend £100 more on a new car than we had originally intended. How irritating!

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