Top 9 Dos and Don’ts When Buying a Car…
1. Bring a 3 month old with you. It turns out, most car salesmen are men. And most of these men either have grown children or no children at all. Either way, they have zero interest in hanging out with my 3 month old (crying or not). So, I got free reign over any of the cars in the lot – I got to crawl in and out of them, open every cubbyhole, look under the hood, open and close every door 15 times – and no one pressured me. It is fantastic!
2. Don’t bring your hubby. The car salesmen assume that a woman, by herself, will not be making a final purchase decision. She will have to “talk it over” with her husband at home before any money is spent. So, again, I got free reign over the cars in the lot. The salesmen could care less about me!
3. Find a car that has a power tailgate. I open and close my hatchback a thousand times a day, what with strollers, car seats, groceries; the list goes on. The power tailgate is the coolest invention ever. Of course, my right arm may lose a little muscle as a result.
4. Don’t rely on the colors posted on the internet. They look nothing like the real cars in person.
5. Try not to laugh out loud when the salesman says, “Heather, my manager said I could offer you a very, very confidential deal. Please don’t say anything to anyone.”
6. When the salesman asks, “Are you a member of AAA or Costco?” Just say YES. Trust me, they won’t ask to see your membership card. (By the way, I bet membership of AAA or Costco covers 95% of the population of the bay area. And that was the very, very confidential deal. Again, don’t laugh out loud at the salesman. Membership has its privileges.)
7. Check http://www.cars.com/ before you negotiate. This website tells you the invoice price of the car – which I guess is the best deal you can get from a car dealership. We didn’t do this before hand. You see, I nearly flunked my negotiations class in business school. I’m way too honest and ended up giving everything way in our negotiation “simulations.” As it turns out, Dave is no better. He’d rather pay more money than embarrass himself or feel the stress of the negotiation game. So we were delighted when we got the “Costco” price, not having a clue how much money we left on the table. (By the way, it turns out we did pretty well. We paid just a few hundred dollars over invoice.)
8. When finally making the purchase, don’t bring a 3 month old with you. I had no idea it would take 3+ hours to actually buy the car. Naturally, Kevin was starving during that period. I had to feed him in some random conference room where the mixed aromas of male egos and stale pizza made me a little queasy.
9. When you think you are finished buying the car, then starts the surveys and the phone calls, and the follow-ups. We’ve had three in-the-mail surveys sent to us and at least 5 phone calls. I’m all for improving customer satisfaction, but this is ridiculous! And to top it off, every person we talked to “requested” that we rate our experience a level 5 (out of 5). Any score other than a 5 just doesn’t count, according to the survey company. My advice? Get a new survey company and a new feedback system. How useless is that!? The sales guy that I worked with had me fill out one survey on the spot, right in front of him. He decided my comments were insufficient and he asked me to write “I was completely satisfied.” Yes, I gave him feedback on that one!
If you’re interested, we bought an Acura MDX.