Confessions of a Car Salesman

Confessions of a Car Salesman: Reporter goes undercover and works at a pair of car dealerships for three months. Surprise! Car salesmen are con-men.

The last time I bought a car, I used an "auto broker", and it was an extremely pleasant experience. The downsides are that you have to know exactly what you want; and you have to pay for it outright (getting financing from your bank instead of the dealer.) The upside is that you will get a way lower price with no haggling, because the broker is playing every auto dealer in the state against each other.

So next time you need a car, I recommend getting a bicycle. But a broker is the next best thing.


11 Responses:

  1. erorus says:

    and welcome to 6 months ago. I take it you got this from Boing Boing?

    ::obligatory obtuse site pimpage:: For more old links you may not have seen, stop by my site, Apeirokalia. Great for rainy days.

  2. harryh says:

    I actually find the charged negotiating aspect of buying a car exciting, and the fact that negotiation is more and more absent from our society kind of sad. If anything this shift is probably better for the seller than the buyer.

    You'd be amazed at how many consumer items it's possible to negotiate a price on.

    • deeptape says:

      You'd be amazed at how many consumer items it's possible to negotiate a price on.

      Do tell.

      • harryh says:

        Basically anything that costs over a hundred bucks.

        • injector says:

          Yep. My brother, who is a car salesman, is really good at this. I don't think he pays the amount on the tag for anything. I just used to work at a Software Etc.

          I don't have the full skill that he displays, but I have found two simple lines that work quite often. It is easiest at stores that has salespeople walking the floor. Just stand in around the area of the item you are interested in, looking slightly clueless. Wait for the approach, and the line, "can I help you with anything today?" You just reply with, "I'm interested in this [fill in the blank]. But can you do anything about the price?" You can also try, "Will it be going on sale in the next month?" "Month" is important, it shows you aren't in a hurry to buy, and also covers a wide enough time period to find if the item is going to be marked down. Even though most retail stores are no longer commission, they still track employee sales records. And even if there are no real rewards, they still set up little competitions between the sales staff. They won't want to lose the sale to someone else later on, and give you a discount, or the upcoming markdown. You can also use the second line as a backup if the first one fails. If there are no salespeople, you can try the lines at the checkout. Don't sit the item down on the counter, just show it to the clerk, and ask.

          The most common rejection I get is, "sorry, I can't do that." I usually let it go at this point. But this is where my brother shines. He just has a way about him, he can ask to speak to the manager without sounding insulting the sales staff. Managers can almost always do something.

  3. supersat says:

    Back when I was 16, I was nailed for doing 13 MPH over the speed limit. The day I was in court for my ticket, the salesman that sold me my car plead guilty to a DUI.