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January 10, 2012

Negotiating for a Used Car – Step 2: Probe

Probe

Jeff Cochran

2

In the second part of our three part series on negotiating the purchase of a used car, we will teach you how to effectively probe. After preparing for your car purchase, you need to dig for information behind the other side’s position– determine the real interests or needs of the private seller/dealer– this is what probing is all about.

The following ten questions should always be asked when purchasing a used car:

i. Why is this car priced above (or below) the Kelly/Edmunds Value?

ii. How long have you had this car on the lot?

iii. Do you have the factory report? (indicates recalls or warranty repairs)

iv. Do you have the vehicle history report? (indicates history based on VIN #)

v. Do you have the repair history report? (indicates major/minor repairs)

vi. Can I see the actual inspection ticket? (indicates who/what where/when of inspection)

vii. Is the vehicle certified? What is the extended warranty?

viii. What is the dealer warranty? 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?

ix. What additional services do you offer? Free towing? Free Oil?

x. Have you offered or are you planning to offer any specials? Holiday Sales?

Asking these questions will help you in three ways: 1) it will help you understand the condition of the car; 2) it will help you determine what support the dealer is willing to provide after the sale; 3) it will help you establish reasons for price reductions moving into the Propose phase of the negotiation.

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