As I wrote in my last article, most people go online for much of their research when car shopping. You can search for new/used cars and trucks, and learn about new models. Most people use companies that car dealers pay to advertise. Some of these are Car Guru, Cars.com, Edmonds, True Car and many others. These companies direct leads or customers to the retailer’s website. Once you find a car or truck at the dealer, you should then check the reputation of that dealer.
Customers, whether happy or unhappy, will go to web reviews like Google, Yelp, Dealer Rater, Edmonds and Facebook. They will voice their opinion of that dealer in those posts. Smart dealerships will pay attention to the ratings and keep them as high as possible. Let face it, who would go to a business with a bad reputation?
Of course, not everyone is going to be happy, although I do try to keep everyone happy and give them a “Wow!” experience. Sometimes customers’ expectations are not met for whatever reason. There are many different personalities out there. You can expect to see a few bad reviews. When there are more bad reviews than good reviews, buyer beware.
Now that you have done your research and found a reputable dealer, you call the dealer and make sure the car is still in stock. Some dealers will tell you it is there when it was sold already. They want the chance to sell you another car or truck. Now it is time to make a decision. Do I stay and see what they have to offer or do I cut my loss and go back to the drawing board? This is where the reputation reports come in. It very well could have sold in the time it took for you to get there. With a good reputation, you might see what they have to offer. With a dealer that sells many vehicles, there may be some that have just come in and have not showed up on the website yet. Remember, it may very well be that the car you look at today and go home to think about could be the one that someone else looked at yesterday and is buying today. I know that sounds like a line, but that is just the way it is.
Let’s say you have found the car or truck you wanted. Some people think they have to make a ridiculous offer to make sure they are not getting taken advantage of. If you are unsure about the dealer and whether or not you are being treated fairly, ask for the Carfax. Most dealers subscribe to this or you can go online and get it yourself. Carfax will tell you all the repairs and if it has been in an accident or not. Carfax will also tell you what the car is worth with the options and mileage the car or truck has. Once you feel good about your decision, it’s time to do the paperwork.
The business office that does the paperwork is the next step. The best thing that I can let you know is it takes time. Just because you have taken hours to make a decision doesn’t mean that the paperwork should be ready in a few minutes. Allow enough time to buy a car or reschedule. In this highly regulated market, business managers are required to present all the products to you. With that being said, it is up to you whether you want them or not. No one can make you take something you don’t want. No law says you must buy what someone is selling you.
There are some dealers who bully and misrepresent products, but that doesn’t mean they all do. Again, this is where the research on reputation comes in. If you feel forced to buy something while doing the paperwork, simply walk out and regroup, or talk to the manager you dealt with. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t have to buy any product you don’t want and no one can make you.
One thing I hear quite often is that you have three days to back out of a contract that you signed at a car dealership. That is not true, so know what you are signing before you sign.
I hope this information helps with your next interaction with a car dealer. And, if I can be of any assistance, whether you are buying from our dealership or another, I would rather help you and answer your questions than have you make a mistake then come to me to get you out of trouble. QCBN
By Dave “Mac” Macfarlane
Dave “Mac” Macfarlane is the general manager of Findlay Subaru Prescott. Contact him at Dmacfarlane@findlayauto.com or 928-771-6900.