Saturday, December 6, 2014

What not to do when buying a car in Australia

I had a rather unfortunate incident recently.

I had just arrived back in Sydney in Australia and needed to buy a car quick.

After driving to a few second hand and new car dealerships we settled on the type of car we wanted - compact SUV - and started to shops around.

I had also acquired some approved finance from Macquarie vehicle finance who were quite good and very helpful, especially as I had just arrived in the country.

Anyway, so once I decided on the exact car (Holden Captiva 5 LT), I called a few dealerships to try and get the best price possible. One of the dealers said he would only go to his manager if I gave him my credit card details as his manager would not want to play a bidding game. He assured me it was not a deal but he needed it to show his manager I was serious. He also assured me no deposit would be taken. I also had some queries for him regarding if he could source the right color car(ie did he have the car in stock).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, he did not have the color car I wanted and I went with another dealer.

I informed the original dealer courteously by email that I had found the car elsewhere and that's when the s h i t  hit the fan. I got about 20 phone calls and follow up messages in the space of about an hour! Numerous texts and also very aggressive, condescending voice mail messages.

1) they tried to tell me that giving them a credit card constituted a contract.
2) they then sent me a invoice and contract and informed me that as they had emailed me a contract it meant it was also a deal (I had not even seen it I my email...not to mention signing it)
3) the car dealer, had taken $500.00 off my credit card even though he assured me he would not. This happened directly after he got of the call.
4) I was threatened with 5% contract value of the full value of the new car!
5) I was threatened with legal action

When the guy saw I was not going to roll over and put my legs in the air for him, he started to realize I knew my rights.

He then tried to get me to write him an email explaining that I had agreed to buy the car but now had changed my mind, and in the email it should ask to be let out the agreement.

This really got my back up as I had not entered into any agreement to actually buy a car as we were still at the "do you have stock stage". I believe he was trying to trick me into writing written proof that I had agreed to buy the car. needless to say - I did not write any email.

Watch out, car dealers are super friendly when selling a car! they are not your friends! They want you to believe this. In reality they only want your money. Once you have signed, the super gracious treatment will stop and they will move on to the next possible client.

Treat them hard, shop around, get prices from multiple car dealers and phone back telling them all the lower prices, make them drop their prices.

Do not feel guilty, this is their job, they do this for years every day. Turn the tables on them, they will make you believe you have just robbed them but in reality you probably could have got a better price.

Amazingly, the more dealers I phoned, the lower the price went. Some dealers even told me they were selling me the car at a loss. (yeah I believe that...not)

Anyway good luck with your move to Sydney

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