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With a big transaction like selling your car, a little mistake can cost you thousands. Used-car dealerships earn profits by buying your car for the lowest possible cost, and then selling it to someone else for the highest possible price. To maximize profit, some "fly by night" dealers may try various tactics to undermine your price and push you into a deal where you lose out. Fortunately, you can get informed on the usual tricks and avoid them. Check out the following common traps that car sellers fall into and the solutions to keep yourself safe!
1. Fake Offers
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Trap: When making enquiries over the phone, some dealers may make you ridiculously high offers that you will find very attractive. This way, they trick you into bringing your vehicle down for a viewing, when all the while they're intending to slash prices once you're there. If you don't get quotes from a wide range of dealers, or don't manage to visit the right dealer, you will end up falling into this trap.
Solution: Getting a car valuation can help you instantly find out the price that most purchasers would offer for your vehicle in its current condition. Once you know how much your vehicle is actually worth on the market, you know what to expect!
2. False Deductions
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Trap: Some dealers try to sting you with extra costs by exaggerating the condition of your car. They may be slashing prices based on reasons such as paint jobs or repairs for your car that might not actually be required. It's important to be able to trust your dealer, so that you don't end up selling your car unnecessarily for less.
Solution: You can do your own research online, find out what kind of experience other customers have had and it may be able to tell you whether to trust your dealer assessments. You can also seek complimentary and expert advice from car valuation platforms such as Motorist.sg, who will assign you experienced and dedicated consultants to do these checks on your behalf.
3. Unfair Terms & Conditions
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Trap: Selling your car can involve quite a lot of administrative work, and after a few documents, you may start to lose track of what you're signing. This is where an untrustworthy dealer may start to slip in extra obligations which you don't notice. Some of these terms can be very unfair, and far beyond what the market norm is. For example, a dealer might doctor a condition to obligate you to pay 3 or even 5 times of the deposit amount in the case that you back out, but the market norm is only 2 times. If you aren't familiar with the actual process of selling, you may end up signing something unnecessary that you regret later.
Solution: As a rule of thumb, always make sure you read all the documents that require your signature. It can be helpful to photocopy everything you sign to help you keep track. Of course, it's best to have someone who is familiar with the process to guide you to ensure everything goes legally and smoothly.
4. Manipulative Tactics
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Trap: The biggest trap of the used-car market is still the dealer's overwhelming experience. Used-car dealers see hundreds of drivers each month, and they can spot an easily manipulated driver a mile away. If you don't appear confident, you will be marked as an easy target for tricks and tactics like emotional pressuring or slashing of prices. You may not have enough market knowledge to be as confident as your dealer, but you must not let them take advantage of that.
Solution: You can make up for your lack of experience by being prepared. Before you meet at any salesperson, you should already have the numbers in your head to make sure that you are not being offered anything ridiculous. Alternatively, Motorist.sg offers excellent third-party platform services, to help you sell your car safely and easily. If you choose to sell your vehicle with us, you will be assigned a consultant to personally handle all aspects of your transaction. Each one of our consultants has dealt with hundreds of drivers and dealers, and they have the market experience that you need.
5. Delayed Payments
Trap: The best practice is to receive payment immediately when you are handing over your car. Payment can be settled via cash, cashier's order or a company cheque. Some dealers may attempt to delay payment, giving reasons such as slow paperwork processing. This can be a frightening experience, as your vehicle is already handed over, but you have not received any money.
Solution: Always ensure full payment is made during the handover. Whenever possible, request for full cash or a cashier's order so that you have assurance that the money is guaranteed. At Motorist.sg, we protect you by ensuring that all car owners receive full payment during the handover of the car.
There are many pitfalls you could fall into when selling your used car, but it can also be a safe and straightforward transaction, as long as you take precautions and have the right help backing you up. At Motorist.sg, we have smoothly transacted over $55 million worth of cars and we protect our customers against these traps. We prioritize the protection of our customers, so you can rest assured you and your vehicle are in good hands.