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5 Signs of a Reputable Used-Car Dealer

What are the signs of a reputable used-car dealer? How can you tell if a used-car dealership is going to treat you fairly? Used-car dealers have a reputation for being, uh, not exactly forthright. Finding a used-car dealer that you trust can seem like nothing less than a miracle, but looking for these five signs before you buy will ferret out the swindlers.

1. Trust Your Instinct
Itís a bit like how my mother used to vote for officials in office. ďHe looks like an honest man,Ē she would say. The advice is subjective, but I encourage you to take it.

Trust your instincts. Do you feel comfortable with the salesman you are dealing with? Is he pushy, insistent or superior? Listen to your instincts when it comes to determining if a used-car dealer is fair and honest.

2. Check the Timeline
How long has the dealership been in existence? A new used-car dealership isnít necessarily bad or dishonest, but a long-lasting establishment is doing something right. If a dealership has done well enough to stay in business, it probably has kept customers coming back for a reason.

3. Reputation is Everything
How is the used car dealerís reputation? What does the Better Business Bureau say about it? How do customers rate the business? Do you know of anyone who has dealt with the dealer, and how were they treated? Gather this information before you start visiting dealerships. Know the businessís reputation before you waste your time at a dealer that you will not want to give your business to.

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4. Judge a Book by Its Cover
What is the physical appearance of the used-car dealership? Donít just look for impressive size, glitter and pizzazz. Look for the simple, but important things like neatness, cleanliness and professionalism. Look at the landscaping. Is it neat? Clean? Are the windows of the building clean? Is paint peeling from every wall? Are the cars clean?
How about the staff? Do the salespeople look professional? Are they courteous? Are they attentive during your visit, or do they treat you like an inconvenience?

5. Stay Cool under Pressure
Never feel under pressure or obligation to buy from a salesman. Avoid getting caught up in the keeping-up-appearances game. You do not have to prove anything to the used-car dealer. He is there at your convenience, and you do not have to make a final decision for his benefit. If you tend to make snap judgments, force yourself to walk out of every used-car dealer you consult at least once, and then, after youíve checked out all available, go back to your favorite.

In conclusion, stay objective when buying from a used-car dealer. By applying these five tips while sales pressure is being applied, you will remain confident and avoid buying that over-priced two-seater sports car or cheap-deal lemon. Take advantage of the discount a used-car dealership can offer you, and find yourself a quality car you will enjoy for a long time after the new smell wears off.

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