The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

News: Timid buyers paying too much for their cars, says new report

A FEAR of haggling is costing UK car buyers thousands of pounds in lost discounts and spoiling their quality of life, claims a new report.


A FEAR of haggling is costing UK car buyers thousands of pounds in lost discounts and spoiling their quality of life, claims a new report.

Causing offence, appearing impolite, thinking it inappropriate and simply lacking basic negotiating skills were among the reasons given by consumers for not haggling over a car’s price.

As a result of their misplaced sensitivity, car buyers were paying around £4,000 more for a new family car such as a Vauxhall Insignia or VW Passat than they needed to, said David Edmundson-Bird, a pricing expert at Manchester Metropolitan University, who compiled the report.

Meanwhile, across most models and price bands, typical discounts that pushier car buyers could expect to haggle ranged from 6-30%, he claimed.

Most car buyers realised they had paid too much but according to the report, which was commissioned by Webuyanycar.com, a used car purchasing company, their failure to haggle caused them more than just annoyance and regret.

“Around 60% of car buyers told us that as a result of their unnecessary overspend, they did not have the disposable income they needed to live the life they wanted,” said Edmundson-Bird.

Consumers’ reluctance to haggle also meant they were paying around 30% more for servicing and 10% more for car insurance.

“The power is with the consumer to negotiate,” said Edmundson-Bird. “There is typically a sweet spot that retailers are prepared to go to of between 10-15% off the marked price. Whether you get that depends on arming yourself with the skills to negotiate. This won’t disrupt your lifestyle; it will enhance it.”

David Edmundson-Bird’s tips to haggling a great, new-car deal:

1.     Legal right to negotiate: You have a legal right in every store to negotiate. A ticketed price is considered an “invitation to tender’”, so embrace your right and bag the best possible deal.

2.     Walk away: Never haggle on a purchase you need there and then. To negotiate effectively, you need to be able to walk away.

3.     Cars: The bigger and more expensive the car, the greater the margin for negotiation. Buy out of season – soft tops in winter, 4x4s in summer – and look to shop on Mondays and Tuesdays, the quietest days of the week, and therefore the days dealers are under most pressure to sell. Take advantage of end-of-month sales targets and visit forecourts on the 28th or 29th of the month. Look for pre-registered cars with 10 or 20 miles on the clock, as these are often a lot cheaper than the same car with no registration.