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A third of buyers don’t haggle on a used car

More than third of people ‘do not haggle when buying a used car’ with young drivers the least likely to negotiate, according to a new survey

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More than a third of used car buyers (38%) do not haggle over the price, a new survey suggests.

Nearly three out of 10 non-negotiators (29%) said this was because they either do not know how to, are concerned about insulting the seller or do not feel comfortable doing it, the research indicated.

Drivers aged 18-24 are the least likely to haggle with just 1% negotiating a discount themselves, the poll suggested.

Some 750 UK adults who bought a used car from a dealership in the past 12 months were surveyed for car classified ad website CarGurus.

Chris Knapman of CarGurus said: “While some people enjoy the art of the deal, there are clearly thousands of buyers out there who may not be comfortable knowing how to negotiate, or simply don’t want to.

“Not so long ago, a person’s ability to negotiate could have been all that stood between them getting a great deal on a used car or paying over the odds.

“Luckily, the modern car buying process means you no longer need to be a master negotiator to secure a great deal.”

How important is it to haggle on the price of a car?

Most car buyers assume that there’s always some wiggle room in a car’s advertised price, even if they’re not comfortable trying to haggle with the seller to get the price down.

Dealers certainly love it when a customer agrees to pay full price for a car, as they assume that there will be a bit of give and take to complete a sale. By simply accepting the asking price, they’re making a bit more money than they expected. How much? Maybe a few hundred pounds, maybe a couple of thousand. 

There’s no rule of thumb on how much markup a dealer will add to a car; it’s simply whatever they think they can sell it for.

What if I feel uncomfortable haggling on car price?

If you’re concerned about paying more than you should for a car, but you don’t feel game challenging the dealer to bring the price down, then there are ways to make sure you’re getting a fair deal.

The simplest way to save yourself money is to do your research. Work out your budget, then spend as much time as possible studying car sales websites (Auto Trader, CarGurus, eBay, Gumtree, etc.) to get a feel for what you can expect to pay for the sort of car you like – before you set foot in a dealership.

If you have a car to part-exchange, get some valuations on it from car buying sites (We Buy Any Car, We Want Any Car, etc.) to get an idea of what your car is really worth – it’s usually less than you think.

Get insurance quotes. Check servicing details. Look up the tyre sizes and check tyre prices. Check the road tax charges. Trawl the web for owners’ forums to see if there are loads of complaints about specific problems with your chosen car. The cost of a car goes well beyond the sticker price, with a survey last year suggesting that the average car costs more than £160/month to run – not including any finance payments.

It’s really easy to make a snap decision based on liking the look of a particular car, only to then find out that there are significant costs that you weren’t expecting. This could well outweigh any savings on what seems like a great purchase price.

Finally, don’t rush. Take your time. Regardless of what a salesperson tells you, this car is probably not the greatest deal in the history of mankind. At worst, someone else buys that car because you were still weighing it up. It’s no big deal – there will be another car just as good out there somewhere.

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Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.