These are the questions to ask while you are buying a used car.
WHOM SHOULD I BUY FROM?
There are three main avenues for buying a used car in India – an individual, a used car broker and the franchised pre-owned dealer. The customer-to-customer model certainly seems to be the easiest choice if the seller is known to you. The fact that there’s no middleman involved to make a quick buck out of the transaction also gives you more leeway to fix a good price. Used car classifieds in newspapers, and websites are also a fast way of getting in touch with private sellers. But do not buy on face value itself, do all the checks necessary and be prepared to do a little bit of running about for the vehicle transfer. Small-scale used car brokers are the other option to search for cars. While such dealers may have the car you want in ready stock, and are happy to close a deal fast, be sure to thoroughly check all details before signing any papers. Dealers and brokers are known to act high-handed once a deal is done. And they seldom entertain any comebacks. Also, be sure to bargain because the quoted price has some room for negotiation.
WHAT SHOULD MY HOMEWORK COMPRISE OF?
First up, be sure if the car you are eyeing is suited to your needs and offers a hassle-free ownership experience. Read reviews of the car and try to speak to a couple of existing owners to get an idea of running costs, the typical problems associated with it and the price of spares and maintenance. After you have finalised on the choice of car, do some homework before setting out on your search and beginning negotiation. Find out about the going rates of the vehicle you are interested in. Prices vary according to the year of manufacture, variant, vehicle condition and even colour. Also, familiarise yourself with the features of the car and variant; this will be helpful in spotting things that may be missing on the car. All the information will put you on firmer ground while buying.
WHAT ABOUT MY BUDGET?
Make up your mind on the amount of money you want to spend, including the room for stretching it. When shopping, it is very easy to get tempted by an enthusiastic salesperson into buying above your means for the sake of a larger car or more features. So, it’s up to you to be vigilant and remain grounded during the purchase. If finance is what you are looking at, then be aware that interest rates for used car loans are usually higher than those for new cars and as a result you might pay a lot more than the sticker price. If finance is a must then opt for short-term loans with lower interest rates. Check with your regular bank for loan options. Facilities like an overdraft on your fixed deposit could work out to be cheaper options.
SHOULD I TRUST THESE GUYS?
Sales personnel and brokers are usually smooth operators who are trained to sweet-talk buyers into making purchases they may not be in the market for. With sales commissions at stake, they usually go all out in convincing customers to part with their money. So, take everything thrown at you with a pinch of salt, what they say, how they say it, facial expressions and even the tone of voice. For example, they might steer a customer towards a lemon (a model that’s not selling), paint a rosy picture of its virtues and offer higher discounts, without mentioning any of its drawbacks. Filter the facts from the fluff coming your way and argue on any point you feel is a false claim; this is where your homework comes into good use. Pay for a car’s worth and do not be swayed with freebies like a full tank of fuel or car polish coupons.