Start Your Next Car Purchase Via E-Mail
How much do Americans hate car shopping? By some estimates, nine out of ten would prefer no haggling. While that’s probably not going to happen any time soon, you can buy a car via e-mail. That eliminates most of the in-person negotiations most people hate. How do you buy a car by e-mail? It’s not as difficult as you think if you follow some basic steps. RELATED: Beware of Dishonest Hellcat Dealers
Do Your Research
You need to find the exact car you want. You can’t be vague. For example, you can’t say you want to buy a Ford Focus. You need to determine if you want a Ford Focus SE or Ford Focus ST. There’s a $6,000 price difference. Once you know the trim level, go to the manufacturer’s site and build the car you want.
Then use the myriad of online car shopping sites to find out what your car is going to cost in your area. Save the information because it’s going to be the basis for your negotiations.
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Contact Multiple Dealers
New car shopping sites have “contact me” forms you can use. Fill in your contact information and the specific model you are looking for, along with other pertinent information.
Set up a special email account that you can delete when you’re done buying your next car. Use this one to contact dealers. Don’t use your personal email because it will be used for years to come by dealers, websites and whoever they might sell their e-mail lists to.
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Narrow Down the Offers
See what dealers respond to you and then research the dealers to see what customer feedback has been. Don’t select a dealer based on just price alone. Is it really worth a couple hundred bucks for endless headaches? Other consumers can be a good guide for which dealer is going to have the best customer experience.
Narrow the list down to five or so dealerships. (In certain parts of the country it might just be tough to find five within a reasonable geographic area.) Contact the dealers and see what specific models they can discuss from their inventory. Make them provide you with final, bottom line prices for the cars, including things like delivery charges and taxes. Then, tell the dealer you have a better price and see if it can be matched.
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Click off the Laptop and See the Car
You are ultimately going to have to actually go to the car dealership you have selected. You need to physically drive the car to see if it’s a good fit. Bring the printed e-mail with you to show the sales representative what the agreed upon price was. Don’t be talked into something else. Don’t buy from a dealer who won't honor your e-mail negotiations.
A dealer might try to up-sell you by claiming the original car has been sold. If that happens, leave. The dealership has established a dishonest relationship with you. A good dealer may indicate the car has been sold (it could happen) but would offer you a comparable one at a similar price.
It is possible to buy a car via e-mail. You just need to be prepared and well researched to make it happen.
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