Dealing with overbearing, overzealous salespeople can be a stressful and irritating process, particularly if they are putting you under pressure to purchase something you aren’t even sure you want.
Buying a car is a big decision, and it’s one you have to live with for a while. So we understand why it can be disconcerting to have to deal with a salesperson who has their eye on their targets and not your needs.
At OSV we have dealt with thousands of customers who have simply wanted information, and therefore we understand that not every customer that enquires is ready to buy.
That’s why we’ve written an article providing some top tips on the ways you can avoid pushy salespeople when trying to buy or lease a car.
How Can I Tell if a Leasing Company is Legitimate?
There is a wealth of legislation in place to protect you from the less-than-scrupulous leasing companies, but there are still some that slip through the net.
A legitimate leasing company will be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), members of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) and be Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) approved or equivalent.
The Financial Conduct Authority protects ‘Regulated Customers’ which include;
- Sole traders
- A partnership company with less than 4 partners.
This means that an FCA regulated broker will be breaking the law if they do not adhere to FCA ruling. An FCA regulated broker must monitor their employees to ensure that there is no mis-selling or pressure selling. They will also follow the ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ principle which means that you are protected as a customer.
The FCA has the authority to close a business down if they are found to be mis-selling or failing to meet compliance standards. Your leasing company should state that they are regulated by the FCA on their website. If they don’t, they are breaking the rules already so it’s probably best not to go with them. You can check any company’s FCA credentials by going to the FCA’s website.
By using an FCA regulated company, you not only know that they are complying with the law (always a good thing) but that they also have to adhere to regulations that mean they won’t pressure you into buying something that isn’t perfect for your situation.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) is the trade body for vehicle and rental leasing in the UK. All BVRLA leasing brokers must observe a Code of Conduct, which means that they will be offering the highest standard of service, fair terms and conditions and accurate information. All BVRLA members are inspected to ensure that they keep up to standard, including ensuring that they have all the required licenses.
The BVRLA can also get involved to assist customers with any dispute or complaint. Therefore, companies that adhere to their code of conduct will be far less likely to be pushy as their interests will be to supply the right car for you.
If the leasing company is Specialist Automotive Finance approved (SAF), this means that they have voluntarily made their staff take a competency test to become SAF experts. The test assesses staff knowledge of all of the available types of motor finance and regulations, which means that you know that they are giving you the best advice they possibly can.
These tests must be taken annually to keep their knowledge up to date. Tests include modules on treating customers fairly, making appropriate recommendations and avoiding any unnecessary or misleading restrictions.
By being SAF approved, your leasing company is committed to treating you fairly as a customer.
If they have the above qualifications and accreditations, then you can be sure that you won’t be dealing with pushy salespeople that are more interested in getting you to buy something that they need to sell than they are in making sure you’re happy with your new car.
What should I consider before going to a salesperson to lease a car?
Having a good understanding of what you will need from your vehicle is important. For example, if you have three large dogs then you probably won’t want a Fiat 500. Similarly, if you spend most of your time navigating poorly maintained country lanes, a low-slung sports car with hard suspension isn’t going to be ideal.
Some of the key things you should consider are:
- The size of the car you need
- The number of passengers
- What types of journeys you will be making
- How many miles you’ll be doing
- Your preferred style/shape
- How quickly you need the car
- Whether you want the option to own
- Your budget
- How much boot space you will need?
- What additional features are you looking for?
- Will you need to use your current car for the deposit on the new one?
- What’s the value of your current car?
Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list but these are some of the things you should consider before you start talking to a salesperson. If you know what you want and what you don’t want, then when it comes to talking to a salesperson you will be the one in control of the buying process.
It’s also important to know what you do not want; it makes it easier for you to tell a salesperson this as well. This will also save you time considering options that really won’t work for your situation.
What sort of customer service can I expect from a car leasing company?
A good car leasing company will have customer service and the needs of their clients at the forefront of their process.
If you can see from the website that customer service and recommendations are at the core of the business then this is reassuring and therefore it is worth speaking to them to make an enquiry. You will soon be able to tell whether they are focused on a pushy sales approach or a great customer service experience.
You should feel confident that the salesperson’s goal is for you to be happy with your purchase, and confident that it ticks all of your requirement boxes. Of course, the price will always be a consideration, but a good leasing company should also be concerned with your experience.
Therefore, it is important that you find out what sort of after-sale service they offer. If they keep you updated on the status of your vehicle and ensure that you are happy once it’s delivered, then you can be sure that they value you as a customer, and don’t just see you as a profit.
If you feel that your needs are being placed second to their targets or that you are not being given all the facts, you should say so and look elsewhere.
Where to arm yourself with honest car reviews before going to a salesperson
Where can I find unbiased car reviews?
In the past, customers had to rely far more on dealer’s knowledge and expertise on car options because apart from a few car enthusiast magazines, there wasn’t much information out there that wasn’t written by the manufacturers themselves.
However, nowadays there is a wealth of knowledge on this site and across the entirety of the internet. Independent sites and customer reviews are a great source of unbiased information and often cover real-world practicalities that you may or may not have considered when making your selection. Parkers, for example, is a great website for unbiased car reviews, with an abundance of cars to choose from.
This newfound knowledge will also mean that you are less likely to be swayed by a dealer who has to hit targets on a certain make or model. Being clued up gives the control back to you and helps you avoid the pushy salesperson.
How to choose the right vehicle supplier
Remember that you always have a choice
Essentially, it comes down to you choosing a vehicle broker that will put your needs first. By finding a company that is regulated by the FCA and part of the BVRLA, you can be confident that the person you’re talking to isn’t going to sell you something that isn’t right for you.
It’s also important for you to take control of the situation and know your requirements before diving headfirst into the world of car makes and models. This will make the process smoother and give the salesperson less scope to try and direct your purchase into a higher price bracket.
That said; don’t forget to be open to some suggestions, especially if you’re positive that the salesperson really is trying to work in your best interests.
Ultimately, if you go through a reputable company you shouldn’t have to deal with any ‘pushy salespeople’. But, in the event that you do, if you follow our advice above you should be fine.