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Sat Mar 29, 2014, 12:46 AM

I bought a car from a used car salesman a couple of years ago.

True story, but since I don't intend to tell you anything about who the guy is, you are free to assume I am making it up. You'll just have to refer to your own experience.

I saw the guy's ad on-line. He runs a small car lot out on one of the local highways. He had what looked like the perfect car I wanted at a good price. So I made an appointment with the guy and later drove out to look at the car.

The guy was maybe late thirties, early forties. Very big, very muscular. He told me he was a dedicated bodybuilder. I'm not, but I work out (sometimes), so I know it takes a hell of a lot of work to look the way this guy looked.

We talked some about our families and then I took the car out for a test drive. It drove great.

I had a couple of minor problems with the finish on the car, and I told the guy about them. I said I wanted to make an offer on the car, but I couldn't unless I was sure the minor problems were fixable. He told me to give him a day and the problems would be fixed. He wanted me to make the offer before I left, but I told him no, I wanted to wait until I was sure. He was fine with that.

I came back the next day to look at the car, and sure enough, the problems were taken care of. So I made him an offer, and he made a counter-offer. We settled somewhere in the middle. I bought the car. He sold it.

It has been an excellent car. I have had no problems with it. I'm very glad I bought it.

It bothers me when I see "used car salesman" used as a putdown, and not just because it is bad writing. I think a lot of good people make a living selling cars to people who want them. They then take the money and buy groceries.

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 01:10 AM

1. Great story. Thanks

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 01:15 AM

3. Sorry, didn't read your post carefully

 

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 01:24 AM

4. What people don't seem to realize is the dealer takes the car in, does as little as ...

.... possible to get it ready to sell and then sells it. With all kinds of legally required disclaimers saying the car is as-is-and-shown no warranty.

Often times, the cars are traded in by people who know of a defect that may or may not show up when the dealer appraises the car. An engine rod knock that only happens after the car is warmed up may not be noticed until a week after the car is purchased.

A "warranty" is something the manufacturer offers when they produce and sell you an item. A "service contract" is an insurance policy against break-downs.

I worked at a dealership. We had a mechanic named Terry. Salt of the earth church-going guy. Not a loud mouthed Christian - a real Christian (and I'm an atheist). Anyway, he would bring in a lot of business from his church because people knew him, liked him and trusted him as a mechanic. And he was an EXCELLENT mechanic.

Terry used to tell me he absolutely HATED when his church people would come in because they would want his opinion on the car. He would give it a good going over because he was a really nice guy - but he hated it because he told me no matter how hard he looked a how good the car checked out that didn't mean the car couldn't blow up a week later.

Bottom line is the car business is a dirty horse trading business on BOTH sides of the table.

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Response to Hassin Bin Sober (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 04:06 AM

6. It doesn't take a week to warm up an engine

 

to discover a knock or valve tapping.

Buyer beware. Period. If you don't know what to look for when buying a used car, bring someone who does.

However, I don't think that's the basis of this post. I've met and purchased/sold with many good and fair used car salespeople. I've also run into some real shitheads that offer what appears to be a great deal, only to find out I would have been better off flushing my money down the toilet.

I would put us somewhere in the middle politically. As far as the lower and middle class is concerned, we've gotten some breadcrumbs to fight over. As far as the 1% are concerned, their investment is paying huge dividends.

Change? Meh, using the other hand to masturbate with to have some strange really isn't change.

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 03:32 AM

5. I bought 2 used cars from dealers, and one from a private party.

and all lasted me for years. In fact, I am still driving the 1993 Toyota which I bought in 1994.

tis possible to get a lemon, and possible to get a good car, apparently.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 05:14 AM

9. and that's true with used or new cars - we actually bought a Vega new . . .

made it about 5,000 miles before it needed a new engine. Thankfully, the warranty covered it.

What a real piece of junk.

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Response to DrDan (Reply #9)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 01:35 PM

13. thank god for Consumer Reports car info

and now, the internet.
I do rely on them.

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 04:17 AM

7. Some years ago when my younger son suddenly needed a

 

replacement car -- his had been totalled in an accident not his fault -- we went to a local rather large used car lot in my area. My son spent about three hours test driving every possible car in the lot. I spent the time sitting in the small office that was also where all of the deals went down. I got to see more than one deal happen.

In the end that son didn't get his car there, but I walked away with tremendous respect for the overall integrity of that particular place. I could tell that while they certainly were in the business to make money, they were not in the business to cheat people.

Three days later when my older son suddenly needed a replacement car -- his was totalled in an accident not his fault and yes, these are two different sons who had two different accidents -- that used car dealership was the first place we went to. They'd, in those three days, gotten in a car that was perfect for older son's needs.

Here's the best part of that story. I did not have the time to have the car older son was buying inspected by my usual mechanic. There was a time crunch with both boys needing to get back to college. Well, the a/c on older son's car wasn't working. My mechanic said, this is an expensive fix. You need to talk to the guys who sold it to you. The used car lot guys said, Oops, so sorry, our bad. They fixed it, no charge.

If you live in the Kansas City area and need to buy a used car, PM me. I will happily recommend these guys.

Actually, the very day older son was taking delivery on his car, my car died and I needed to replace it. I bought my replacement elsewhere than the used car lot referred to above. But I did basically buy three cars in two weeks, so I'm fearless about buying cars.

And I agree, "used car salesman" as a putdown is crap.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 02:09 PM

14. I've kind of developed a relationship with the local car dealer.

 

The dealer employs a few salesmen who are considered core personnel and cater to the local clientele and are sensitive to the dealer's reputation in the community. They are supplemented by what can best be described as carnies. These guys travel from place to place to help at "special events". The are high order scumbags as distinct as night and day from the regular employees.

That said, I prefer to buy from private parties because
a) they know the car's history and have to look you in the eye and decide to either lie or tell the truth. In my experience the vast majority of people choose the latter.
b) someone willing to dump a car at the low trade in value the dealer offers is either lazy, stupid... or motivated.

A car salesman probably simply doesn't know, or in fact want to know the car's history.

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 04:24 AM

8. I don't have a used car salesman story, gulliver.. but, really just want to say..

great writing and heartwarming.. your story was riveting!

I believe it!

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 05:19 AM

10. I have ever only bought used.

I have only ever sold as-is used.

I have never been screwed over.

And I have never screwed anyone over (I am a hobby mechanist and have always told the prospective buyers what I thought needed attention, I never once got someone criticizing my efforts).

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 07:26 AM

11. How about being told "you should have bought a new car"

After the mechanics discovered 500 bucks worth of issues 1 month after I bought
it from a big dealer.
99 point check my behind.
Run it through the car wash, clean the interior and add 7-10k.
Last car I bought from them, and still tell people to stay away.

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 09:58 AM

12. Thanks for this...

Gulliver, I've been a lurker at DU for years, but your post has finally moved me to speak up.

I cringe every time I see the 'used car salesman' swipe on DU (and it's been used a lot lately) because my dad is a car salesman (both new and used). He's a good, honest man, and not a liar or a cheat. He should have been able to retire 20 years ago, but life hasn't worked out that way for him. He sells cars because it was the only job he was able to get after decades of self-employment, and he keeps doing it because at his age, the likelihood of being hired anywhere else is extremely low. I can't tell you how often he's been treated like crap by customers and would-be customers who assume that as a car salesman, he must be a sneaky asshole who's out to get them, so it's okay to treat him poorly - the times he's gone in on his day off to accommodate a customer, only to end up waiting for hours when they decide not to show up for their appointment; the times he's been lied to by people who promise they'll come back and don't; the times he's driven for hours to deliver paperwork to a customer who lives in another city, because they don't want to have to drive back here. I'm not saying saying there aren't any sneaky assholes in the business of selling cars, but they are no more endemic to that profession than any other. Jerks can be found doing every kind of job imaginable.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience, gulliver, and making an attempt to defend a much-maligned group. Back to lurking now...

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 02:26 PM

15. I am in the process of getting totally fucked by a used car dealer

You have a better chance of stumbling upon a herd of unicorns than one honest independent used car dealer.

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 05:23 PM

16. I have had experiences with both ends of the spectrum

One who broke part of my trade in while "inspecting" it and downgraded it's worth to minimal, removed the registration from the glove box and "forgot" to give it back when I left. I found that out when I was ready to trade it to another place.

One who has given me a great deal and taken care of my new old car for several years.

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