While there are a lot of honest car dealers who genuinely want to ensure that you understand exactly what you’re getting for your money without getting a shock at the later surplus charges; there are also a lot of unscrupulous ones who you need to be mindful of. This isn’t written to scare you into thinking that all car dealers are out to rob you blind under the name of “car finance”! It is simply to ensure that you go to a car dealer with enough knowledge to safeguard yourself against being ripped off.

Firstly, ensure that you discuss one aspect of the purchase at a time and make sure that you are happy with it before moving onto the next one. Otherwise, if you’re preoccupied with getting a lowered purchase price, then you could end up getting less of a trade in value than you otherwise could, or you could end up paying extortionate amounts every month. Don’t let preconceived ideas cloud your judgement or understanding of other aspects of car purchase.

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When going to rebate sales, ensure that initial payment is made at the site of purchase. Don’t let them email you with an invoice after sale, otherwise you’ll end up paying taxes and interest rates that went unmentioned when you made the deal.

Ensure that you do prior research to find out which fees and extras are essential, and which are unnecessary extra cost items. Besides from only a few extras such as VAT, a lot of them will be unnecessary, and you are completely justified in negotiating a reduction in costs, or even refusing to pay them. Do not under any circumstances accept any extras offered to you by finance or insurance managers.

According to the AA, it is also prudent to ensure that the car that you are purchasing is in the best condition. Don’t view it in the rain or in poor light, as this will hide any damage to the tyres or the paintwork. Always ensure that you take it for a test drive, so that you will be able to identify any mechanical faults and either get a price reduction for them, or refuse sale.

Don’t pay for it until you are happy that the car is in the best condition and that you are happy with each clause of the deal.

One recommendation for fair deals would be to go to Imperial Cars of Swanwick Ltd, who are used car dealers in Southampton.