Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tips for Seniors Buying a Used Car

Used Car Lot
Used Car Lot (Photo credit: Hugo90)
Most people are on a fixed budget after retirement. This can make it difficult if your car breaks down and you need to purchase a new one. Buying a used vehicle may be the best way to go, but you need to be careful before choosing a used car. Many unscrupulous dealers try to take advantage of seniors. Here are some things that you need to know when buying a new car. 

Don’t Be Overly Trusting

Unscrupulous people often try to take advantage of seniors, because they assume that they are naïve or poorly informed consumers. You will need to be on your guard before buying a used vehicle, whether you are purchasing from a consumer or a private party.

Robert Jones is one senior citizen that was exploited by a shady car salesman. A dealer sold him a used vehicle for much more than the book value of a new version of the same car. Jones was suffering from a mild stroke and wasn’t thinking clearly when he made the purchase. His daughter tried to have the deal reversed at the local dealer. They denied the request, but the parent company that oversaw the franchise agreed to reverse the deal for them.

Exercise Good Bargaining Skills

Salespeople can be very smooth talkers and very aggressive negotiators. You will need to be on your toes before you start bargaining with them. Here are some tips that you will need to follow:

  • Make sure that you do your research beforehand. You will want to read the value of the vehicle on the Official Kelley Blue Book. You will want to avoid paying more than any car is worth.
  • Do not cave under pressure of a deadline. Dealers often try to pressure people into buying on the spot. You will want to take your time and avoid making any impulse decisions like Mr. Jones did.
  • Contact different dealers to see what they are charging. This is important if you want to make sure that you can get the dealers to compete against you so you can get the best price.
  • Check the car over carefully before committing to a decision. You should always take it to a local mechanic to find out if there are any problems that need to be resolved. If they find any serious defects then you will want to offer a lower price.
  • Read all documents carefully before signing them. Make sure that you read the fine print, because some shady companies try to use subtle legalese to rip people off.
  • Know when to walk away from a deal. Some companies are committed to screwing people over and they will just try to push you out the door if they realize that you aren’t willing to cave.

Researching a used car is a lot of work, but is definitely worth the time. You don’t want to be stuck paying a lot of money for a car that is going to break down on you in a couple of weeks.

Kalen knows a couple of friends that have been exploited by used car dealers. He suggests that people speak with reputable car companies, mechanics and salespeople such as the folks at

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