by: Jasleen Dutt
Buying a vehicle is the second largest purchase in most peoples’ lives, next to buying a house, so it’s important that you get the car you want while at the same time, protect yourself and your money. In local newspapers, automotive magazines, and private postings, there are literally thousands of vehicles for sale. Are these cars a safe bet? Well, let’s find out.
I had the chance to speak with Moe Khan, General Manager at OpenRoad Infiniti in Langley, about the benefits of buying from a dealer. “When buying from a private seller, there is no guarantee that the vehicle will last,” says Khan. “Even though some private sellers are very transparent about the vehicle’s history and condition, most are not, and it’s these people you need to be aware of.”
Khan goes on to say that the ones you really need to be aware of are curbers: “A curber is an individual who poses as a private vehicle seller, but he makes his money through dishonesty about himself and the vehicle being sold.” What’s more is that a curber looks just like your neighbour, but will steal your money and leave you with a real sour lemon.
In the past couple of years, there has been a joint effort between CarProof, ICBC, and the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC to increase consumer knowledge, help buyers avoid curbers, and purchase a reliable vehicle from dealers.
An important advantage of buying a pre-owned vehicle from a dealer is warranty. Most dealers will offer some sort of warranty, and even more will offer 3rd party extended warranties. With a private seller, the motor vehicle is sold “as-is” and there is no safety net. From personal experience, my uncle had bought a car from a private seller, and within about two weeks, the transmission was gone, leaving him stuck with a $2500 repair bill. Khan says, “If there is an issue with a vehicle we sell, we will stand behind it and make sure to sort out any problems.” With the VSA as a regulating body, dealerships today must comply with industry sales regulation.
One of the biggest reasons people buy private is to save that horrendous sales tax. But says Khan, “Most people forget that if you buy privately, you lose the 12% trade-in tax savings. If you have a vehicle to trade in, the tax savings are really beneficial for the buyer.” It’s true – with a private sale, you cannot trade in your older vehicle and you still have to pay a sales tax.
Another reason most buyers forget about is financing. Based on sheer volume, most dealerships are able to give better financing rates than a bank. “Our financing rates for new or used cars are generally less than what you can expect from your bank,” says Khan. “We can offer very competitive rates for financing if you can’t pay off the vehicle in cash; for this reason, many buyers get financing from us.”
Finally, the reason we purchase our vehicles from a dealership is overall piece of mind, which includes everything above. Dealers don’t just want you as a customer, but want you as a customer for life, and thus, are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. In fact, if there are minor deficiencies that arise within a short time of your purchase, most dealerships will take care of them at no, or minimal, cost. That’s why dealerships today are not the same as they were 25 years ago. Also, with the VSA now able to assign some hefty fines to dealerships that don’t comply regulations, you are pretty safe.
In the end, it’s always caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware); however, after doing your due diligence, you’ll find that purchasing a car from a reputable dealership is probably the best option for most buyers.