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Don’t Get Suckered By Online Car Sellers

With all due respect to your father, you don’t want the car he told you to buy, the salesman told one of my daughters a few years ago.

He explained why a different car would be better — and he was right. She took it.

It was priced lower than what I’d suggested. That meant a bit less profit for the dealer and probably less commission for the salesman.

Imagine that happening with an online car retailer. You can’t because it wouldn’t.

COVID-19 was a gift to online vehicle retailers. With them, you never have to visit a car lot. Heck, the internet sellers have “no-contact delivery.” Trust me on this when I tell you any automobile dealer in our area will be happy to do the same. I’ll bet they’ll even toss you the keys from six feet away, if you ask.

But online buying is increasing for other reasons. The internet car and truck sellers insist it’s more pleasant. One is running a commercial in which a couple visiting a car dealership is assaulted by a gang straight out of a horror movie set at a carnival. The evil ringmaster, the murderous-looking clown and a variety of other villains can be avoided if you just buy online.

I suppose it’s possible to find a few of the stereotypical high-pressure, dishonest car salespeople. They’re headed rapidly toward extinction, however. The vast majority of dealers and salespeople have learned that in the long run, you’ll make more money with an honest customer-service approach.

Like the fellow mentioned above. He saved my daughter a few bucks on the purchase and several hundred over the life of her car. As a result, she’ll be back.

Another story I’ve told before is about the car salesman who probably saved my life when I was a teenager. My mother needed a car. I had talked her into one.

Glancing at me, the salesman told my mother, “Ma’am, you really don’t want that car.” He sold her a cheaper one.

The 1970 Chevelle SS454 — one of the most muscular cars of the muscle-car era, stayed in the showroom. I’d have probably killed myself in it, inside of a month.

I could tell you other stories about salespeople and dealers who went the extra mile.

Do the online folks do that? Not nearly to the extent of people who live in your community, may even know you, and are interested in more than selling you one car.

How local folks work at online vehicle retailers? How many local worthy causes, from animal shelters to youth baseball leagues, get donations from the internet crew? How much do the onliners pay in taxes to support local schools?

You know the answers.

When you’re buying something as expensive as a car, you need a good deal on a good car — and ongoing good service on it. Where, pray tell, is the internet dealer’s garage? I’ll wait while you look that up.

Automobile dealers are not the villains the onliners want you to believe. They’re places where you can actually drive any number of vehicles before you make up your mind.

What’s my ulterior motive, you ask? There isn’t one — other than the fact I owe local car dealers a favor. They’ve done plenty for me.

Besides, I hate to see people played for suckers.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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