The recent thread about a guy's Apple store experience reminding him of dealing with used car salesmen, got me thinking about my own experience these past few weeks doing exactly that. Situation: a lease on a 2004 Toyota is expiring. Looking to move into a Toyota Matrix or Pontiac Vibe, ideally purchasing a used one to save some money. After visiting a number of dealerships and dealing with several salespeople, a number of patterns emerge... (In order of the people I visited) The smarmy presumptive closer: When I asked about how to proceed with closing my lease, he immediately sat me down and started writing up a sale for a new Matrix. "What colour would you like?" is one of his first questions. Promises to get back to me with some quotes when I tell him I'd really prefer to look at used models first. Never hear back from him. The no-negotiator: Looking at a 2008 Vibe. Absolutely refuses to budge on price, quotes MSRP, claims they sell too well to discount, offers a decent financing promotion (1.5% for 60 months) and says my savings will come from that. No cash discount, no haggling. BUT you have to act soon, the financing special ends in a few days! The nice guy: The guy I'm most likely to deal with after all this. If he's pulling one on me, he's doing a good job of it. Helpful and friendly, no pressure, calls me every few days just to see if I've found what I'm looking for yet. Helping me look for a used model but I know these are hard to come by. Helped me search the inventory of remaining 2007's but we didn't find anything I liked. Offered me, right from the get-go, about a $500 discount off MSRP for an '08 and implied that we could do better. The sweep-it-under-the-rug guy: Visited a dealer with a great advertised deal on a 2005 Vibe. $3000 less than the average I see in internet ads or other dealers. Test drive it and immediately I feel like something is just not right. Engine seems shaky, idle rough perhaps? Tries to show me a feature by opening up a panel, but the locking clasp is broken. Still well under warranty and he shows me a clean record with only two minor warranty claims. So why is it so cheap, and why does it feel so wrong? I run away. The outright lying bait-and-switch guy: I call up asking if they have a used Vibe to the specs I need. Checks over the phone and says, why yes, a 2005 vibe exactly like that just came in! Great, I drop in to the dealership where he stands like he's been waiting for me. Immediately tells me, sorry, he made a mistake, but there's this lovely 2004 here... He tells me that the Toyota Matrix doesn't come with power steering, only the Vibe does. That he searched for remaining 2007 models two weeks ago and "there's not a single one left, anywhere in the country". (He must not have searched the same place that The Nice Guy did, 'cause last week we found a dozen within 300 km of the city...) The good cop, bad cop team: I bring my lease into the Toyota dealer. Salesman trying to get me into a new car looks it over for damage (scratches etc) and says, this is fine, he's seen much worse. Lease manager comes over and starts yelling about me paying $1500 in damages to get out of the lease. When he leaves, the salesman looks at me confidentially and says, "Don't worry, I'm not as abrupt as he is... and I'm sure we can work out a really good deal if you buy another Toyota". Right. (All of the people I talked to about lease returns said that they were all given forgiveness for scratches and damage like that, and walked away without paying a penny.) The high pressure guy: At a Dodge dealership looking at the Caliber (ugh). See a used Vibe in the lot, but it's not equipped how I want. Salesman asks me three or four times if there's anything they can do to help me decide to buy one right now. I tell him no, without the right equipment, I'm not interested. He keeps trying -- how about a $1000 discount? $2000? $2500? What if I wrote you a check to cover the damage for Toyota? "We do crazy things here!" ... Argh. I want to deal with the Nice Guy but he doesn't have a used car in inventory yet that I like. I'm half tempted to just go ahead and buy a new car, but that's a lot more expensive. Decisions, decisions. I hate car shopping.