The female car buyer’s bill of rights
Know your rights! If a car dealer tries to put you on the road to regret because you’re a woman, here’s how to show him who’s in charge!
1. The right to information
Map out your plan. “If you do your homework, you’ll stay in control of the deal,” says Donna Kane, spokeswoman and presenter of Hyundai’s Power of the Purse program.
First, figure out what car you want; don’t let the dealer sell you what he’s trying to get rid of. How much car can you afford? Find some models you’re interested in, and call your insurance agent to see how much your rate will go up if you buy one. Use the Internet to research what you’re looking for. Use
Edmunds.com to find out what’s standard equipment on a vehicle and what’s an option.
Sure, the dealer will show you the colors and styles, but keep him off balance and maintain the upper hand with your knowledge of horsepower and gas mileage.
2. The right to a fair price
Again, research puts you in the driver’s seat when you’re making the deal. A Consumer’s Union spokeswoman says the organization found that women save money when they walk into a car dealership with information. Determine the budget for your new car, set your price and put it in park. If they won’t meet your price, threaten to hit the road. They’ll give you the right of way if they want your business.
The American Automobile Association suggests you shop around for the best price. Generally, they say, sticker prices that are $300 to $500 below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price are considered a good deal.
Edmunds.com goes one better and tells you exactly what the car costs the dealer, what rebates are offered to the consumer and what incentives the dealer is getting to sell the car.
3. The right to the facts from the dealer
The dealer may push the vanity mirror; you should push for mechanical and warranty information.
“Women want the same information as men,” says Kane. “We just assimilate it differently. For a guy, it gives him bragging rights. Women want to know why it’s important.” For example, a V8 engine may make your fellow feel like Superman, but you just want to know if it’ll get across three lanes of traffic
And don’t let them soften you with how your hair color matches the interior or that the car will make you the hottest babe on the road. You have better things to do with your time.
4. The right to an explanation of all of the paperwork
Look over all of the forms before you sign on the dotted line. If your salesman can’t explain the jargon to your satisfaction, ask to have someone else explain it.
Bring a calculator, and add up the figures yourself. Make sure you know the purpose of life insurance or an extended warranty, and, if you don’t want them, make sure it stays off the contract.
Remember that you can walk away from a deal up until you’ve given your Jane Hancock. Don’t let them intimidate you.
5. The right to R-E-S-P-E-C-T
If the dealer doesn’t recognize the power of
your purse and is patronizing you or talking to the man you brought with you to the dealership, redirect his attention toward you and demand respect — even if it means interrupting or doing something equally rude. If he still isn’t treating you fairly, walk out.
Then, Kane suggests you call the dealership owner. “Not the manager, call the
owner. Most owners don’t know their dealers are turning women away. You’ll be invited back, and talk about being treated like a queen for a day!”