199ride – Women Need to Know About Buying a Used Car
If you’re a woman who has walked into a Wisconsin used car dealership or onto a used car lot and felt disrespected or even deceived, you may not be imagining things. If you’ve purchased a car and left feeling like it wasn’t a positive experience, there could be a very good reason.
Are women really treated differently when trying to buy a vehicle? Sadly, research suggests there certainly is a gender gap in the car buying experience.
For example, a study of car dealerships in Chicago found that women were consistently quoted higher prices than men. A 2014 Kelley Blue Book study suggests that while 58 percent of men feel confident buying a car, only 38 percent of women can say the same.
Yet, according to Forbes.com, women purchase more than half of all new cars in the U.S. and females influence purchasing decisions for more than 85 percent of all cars sold.
It would certainly seem that women are an important customer to car dealerships across the nation. It’s unfortunate that there is a lack of respect and a failure to understand how to work with women.
The good news is, since women are such an integral part of the car buying process, you don’t have to feel cheated or belittled. This article will help you identify shady sales tactics and provide you with ways to use your power as a consumer to your advantage.
Truth be told … this is good advice for any car buyer regardless of gender.
At 199Ride, we say “we’re a dealer for the people,” because we believe everyone deserves to be treated fairly when shopping for a vehicle.
5 Used Car Buying Tips for Women
1. Do Your Research
Knowing what kind of preowned vehicle you need and what you’re most interested in before talking to a salesperson is the first step towards arming yourself with knowledge. The internet is your ally. Use it to research your top options and get an idea of what they might cost.
Figure out which features are important to you. Learn everything you can about the cars you’re interested in and ask specific questions when you’re at the dealership to let them know you’ve done your research.
Some dealers may expect female customers to be uniformed. That’s their mistake, and it will leave them caught off guard when you show them what you know.
A trustworthy dealer will appreciate that you’ve done your research and continue to help inform you throughout the process with your best interests in mind.
2. Know Your Finances Ahead of Time
Besides gathering information about the vehicle you’re choosing, it’s also important to have a solid understanding of your personal financial situation.
Find out what your credit score is before you talk with a dealer. Check your savings to see what kind of a down payment you can afford. Take a look at your budget to see what makes sense for a monthly car payment. If you’re trading in a vehicle, figure out approximately what it’s worth.
Of course, you should always have a price in mind when you walk on to the lot, but knowing all your numbers will help you make the smartest financial decision. If you need financial help, check out our Everybody Rides program.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate
Haggling over a price is uncomfortable for all of us, but research indicates females may be even less likely to negotiate when buying a car.
Part of this is because men and women truly are different creatures. The Kelley Blue Book Study indicated men get more satisfaction from negotiating a deal, but women are more satisfied when they get the exact vehicle they wanted.
When you’re asked the infamous question, “What can we do to put you in a car today?” you should feel confident stating specifics and sticking with them. The goal is to buy a car on your terms.
4. Be Prepared to Walk Away
Part of negotiating a deal includes having the guts to walk out on that negotiation.
If you feel you aren’t being treated fairly, or that the person you’re working with isn’t listening to your concerns, you absolutely have the right to get up and leave.
Research shows patience and a willingness to listen are things many women want during the car buying experience.
A reliable dealer will take the time to listen to you instead of hurrying you through the process. Purchasing a car is a major decision; there’s no reason why you can’t say “I’ll think about it.” And when you do, you may find negotiations go in your favor.
5. Avoid Extras You Don’t Need
After you’ve come to a basic agreement on a deal, there could be a few surprises in the final paperwork. At this point in the car shopping journey, you may be feeling mentally exhausted, but you should watch out for hidden fees and services you may not want or need.
So-called “add-ons” can certainly be legitimate options that can extend the life and value of your vehicle. However, the dealer should always ask if you want them first.
Common add-ons include VIN etching, rust-proofing, fabric guard, and extended warranties or service contracts. It’s up to you to decide whether these options are worthwhile. For example, you probably don’t need rust-proofing when purchasing a car made with plastic body parts.
4 Common Tricks for Women to Avoid
1. Requiring Add-Ons
Federal regulations prohibit a dealer from forcing you to buy any add-on products. That includes forced warranties, which a dishonest dealer may say is required by the bank.
If you’re told you have to purchase an add-on, it’s a lie. The dealer may be trying to regain what they lost to you in negotiations.
2. The Bait and Switch
Some dealers will tell you about a particularly low price on a popular vehicle. However, when you get to the dealership, you find out the car was already sold and now they want you to look at some other options. You’d be wise to wonder if the car ever actually existed. There’s a good chance they were just trying to get you in the door.
You can avoid this trick by asking for the stock number and VIN to prove that the vehicle is there and unsold before you visit the dealership.
3. The Missing Keys Scenario
This tactic seems too slimy to be true, but it happens. An old trick is to tell a customer who wants to leave the lot that the keys to their car are with someone who left for lunch. They’ll try to convince you to test drive another car, but it’s all a lie. Their goal is to keep you there longer so they make the sale.
Avoid this by bringing your spare keys to the lot. Then tell the police that the dealer tried to steal your car. Don’t worry, you’ll get your keys back.
4. False Financing Problems
Here’s a good reason to know your credit score before you apply for a car loan.
Some dealers may take a particularly long time to process your application and come back with approved financing. When they finally reappear, they’ll explain that your credit wasn’t as high as they’d hoped and they won’t be able to get you the rate they expected.
They’ll pretend they will work something out for you, but it just means you end up settling for a much higher interest rate than planned.
But, how can you be sure they were being truthful about your credit score?
Knowing your FICO credit score ahead of time is easy and free. Services like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame provide this service at no charge. Plus, many major credit card issuers now offer free credit scores to customers.
So if a dealer’s financing department tells you your credit score was 580, but it was 720 before you left home, you’ll know something fishy is going on.
Why Work With 199Ride?
Buying a car in Wisconsin should be a positive experience. That’s why our used car dealerships in Appleton, Green Bay, Wausau, and Antigo focus on finding solutions for people in need of a vehicle. We do that by putting our customers first.
Everyone deserves a nicer, newer car, and our goal is to be your trusted advisor, helping you qualify for and own the car you really need. Visit us today or call 800-500-1133 to find out more!