The female car buyer's bill of
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
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
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 swiftly.
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
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
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
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!"