As part of our ‘Ask an Expert’ video series we interviewed Simon Palmer, Used Car Sales Director for The Hendy Group, a Motor Dealer Group based in the south and the south west.
Hendy Group has four franchises: Ford, Honda, Kia and Mazda, as well as two commercial vehicle franchises – Ford and Iveco.
What are your best tips for buying a car?
The best tip for buying a car, I think is research.
Nowadays it's so easy for a buyer to research what they're looking for. Get your shortlist down to maybe two or three cars and then visit the dealerships to look at those particular cars.
Which areas of the vehicle should I inspect before buying?
If you're not too sure, I would suggest taking along somebody who does know what they're looking for because there's a lot that can go wrong if you don't get it right.
If you're not an expert, take somebody with you who can show you what to look for.
What documentation do I need to see before purchasing a car?
Any reputable dealer should have all the paperwork relating to that car available: The V5 – or what some people refer to as the registration document, MOT certificates, handbooks and service history. All those things are important relating to the car.
Provenance checks as well – dealers should carry out certain provenance checks and be able to demonstrate to you as the buyer that the car's not on finance or hasn't been involved in any major insurance claims.
What discount on the advertised price is reasonable to expect?
I think good dealers now price their cars in line with market values so discounts are a little bit smaller. That's not to say you shouldn't ask, because if you don't ask you don't get.
The car doesn’t meet my expectations – what do I do now?
If you have a problem that you're not happy with, the first port of call, I would suggest, is back to the sales executive/salesman/sales specialist that sold you the car.
If you can't get suitable redress from him, ask to see his manager. Most of the dealer groups that I know (the really good reputable dealer groups) will actually solve the problem without causing you any hassle.