Whenever you think about a business that has got a bad wrap, often the car dealerships come to mind. This is especially true with the used car dealerships. But why is there so much sneakiness and dishonesty with the trading of autos? What is it about the buying and selling of vehicles that creates conmen and petty crooks out of otherwise honest law abiding citizens?
Over the years, I've not found a single car dealership that I can honestly say I trust 100%. A good few years ago, I bought a brand new Ford Sierra XR4 from a local dealer. After it had been in for its first service, I hadn't been driving around for more than half a day when the red oil warning light came on. Alarmed by this, I immediately drove it back to the service center.
The mechanic on duty checked the oil dip stick and nothing registered. I could see by the look on his face that someone had made a blunder. “Do you know anything about cars sir", he asked without making any kind of eye contact. “Not much on the mechanical side of things", I replied. He then went on to explain that new cars of this type use a lot of oil in the early days of running-in, and if I'd just like to take a seat, they'll get me topped up and back on the road in no time at all.
He must have though I was born yesterday. It was obvious what had happened. They had drained the oil out in preparation for an oil change and then someone somehow, had forgot to replace the oil and the car was passed back to me as serviced. Okay, so this incident was caught before any harm real was done, but the point I'm trying to make is that car dealerships, be they used, new, or both, seem to have an inability to be honest with the customer.
When my son bought his first ever car from a private seller(an Austin Mini Cooper S 1000), he was assured by the nice gentleman that sold it to him that it was a much loved and well maintained motor. He went on to say that his daughter was very sad to see it go, but she needed to raise some cash for studies. After 2 days, the brakes failed and 3 brake pipe replacements were necessary. The boy was lucky he didn't get killed. A few weeks after that he loaded the little boot with a heavy suitcase as he prepared to go on a weekend trip and it fell through the rotted floor which was covered up with thick metallic paint and carpet. Of course, we went back and complained to the man who promptly told us to sod off as the motor was sold-as-seen, and we have therefore no rights for redress.
The above are just a couple of incidences within our family, but just about everyone I know has a horror story of some kind regarding the purchase of a new or used motor.
I'm not saying that all care dealerships are crooked, but I do believe that even the best of the best exaggerate the good points and downgrade the bad. It seems to be the nature of the business.
The internet has given them a bit of a slap in the face now though as folks are no longer restricted to just their local car dealerships. Competition is always healthy for the consumer. But perhaps one of the best tools the internet has provided for those looking for new automobiles, is ‘real’ reviews by customers on both car dealerships and cars.
My tip for anyone looking to buy for the first time or exchange their existing motor, is to start shopping around long before you make your next purchase. Get a feel for prices nationwide, check out any extras, and try to find reviews on the sales and after sales service of the traders.
They will always tell you that their offer is the sweetest deal going but with the Information Super Highway at our finger tips, we now know better.
Andy Maingam is a proficient writer for KeepingCars dot com where he has articles on Radio Controlled Cars and Booster Car Seats . He also has many other auto related pieces on the site.