Revealed: the ‘underhand’ tactics car dealers use to pressure buyers

Revealed: the ‘underhand’ tactics car dealers use to pressure buyers
Revealed: the ‘underhand’ tactics car dealers use to pressure buyers

Car dealerships have been accused of using “underhand” tactics and jargon to try to confuse and pressurise customers to agreeing to a sale.

GAP insurance provider ALA has criticised dealers for using “big sell” techniques to railroad buyers into making a decision and said that such tactics are turning people against car sales staff.

In a poll of motorists ALA found car dealers were the least trusted profession – behind even politicians – out of a list of 35. Almost a third of respondents (29 per cent) said that they had had an “especially bad experience” in a car dealership in the past, with most citing poor service, pressure to buy that day or getting ripped off as sticking points.

BS Bingo

As part of its research ALA visited dealerships and created a “ BS [Big Sell] bingo card” of hard sell jargon trotted out again and again by sales staff. Among the phrases used repeatedly to force a quick sale were “limited time offer”, “would you be looking to sign today?”, “just for you”, “that’s the best price” and “we’ll make no profit”.

Of the drivers polled that had used a car dealership in the past, all agreed that they had heard cliché or jargon phrases during the sales pitch. More than a third (39 per cent) said there was a “significant” amount of jargon used, whereas the remaining 61 per cent said it was present but “moderate”.

car dealers

Simon England, managing director at ALA, commented on the findings: “Our research found that many members of the British public have had negative experiences when it came to visiting car dealerships, so we wanted to take a closer look at this.

“We created the bingo card, so consumers know what to look out for if they risk using a car dealership themselves, and to make sure they can better spot when underhand tactics might be used to confuse, pressure or push them into a sale.”

The research asked respondents to describe car dealership salespeople in one word, the most common adjectives included sleazy (21 per cent), patronising (17 per cent), confusing (14 per cent), deceitful (13 per cent), rude (11 per cent), and unhelpful (eight per cent).

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