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My used C4 buying experience

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Author Post
Sat Jun 22 2013, 07:29am
Member No: #31306
Joined: Jun 22 2013
Location: Guildford
I bought my used C4 a couple of weeks ago, and I thought i should share my experience with people who are looking to buy a used Citroen from a dealer, to try and warn them away from the Citroen dealer in [Removed by Admin].

I had been thinking about buying a new car for a while as mine only had 3 doors, and i needed more being one of the only friends in my group that can drive.

Looking around, I found the C4 and really liked it. After a bit of research i worked out that what i was looking for was a pre-2009 VTR+, because it comes with all the extras - dual zone climate control, automatic headlights, rain sensing windscreen wipers..

I found one going pretty cheap in Surbiton and went to have a look one Sunday with my Dad and girlfriend. It turned out to be a really dodgy dealer and i was a little worried about why it was so cheap compared to most others on the internet, so i left it there and thought i should give a main Citroen dealership a go. So i went down to my local dealership.

Once we all arrived, i sat down with a trainee 'sales executive' and told him what i was looking for and what my budget was. He then went away into the back office to have a look at what was available at other dealers as they had none at their dealership. Meanwhile my dad was talking to another sales lady that he recognised, and found that they had worked together about 15 years ago.

They came back to me with a 2009 Airdream+ (which comes with parking sensors too), with 20,000 miles on the clock , and they had reduced it from £6990 to £6490 so that the finance would be £150 a month, which was on my budget. I told them that i wasn't sure that i would take out finance, as the supermarket i work for can offer a discount to colleagues and i would get a quote there first.

They told me that if i was interested i would need to pay a £150 deposit to secure the car and they would get in in for me from the other dealership. When i got home i looked online and the same car was advertised for £7995 located in Dorset. I was a little confused about this but left it at that.

The next day i got a phone call; the car wasn't available but they had found me another one (with 40,000 miles) that they could offer me at the same price.. i reluctantly agreed but said that i wasn't going to make a definite decision until i had seen it and taken a test drive. When i got home that day i went online to see if i could find this new car and look at pictures etc, however i stumbled across the original car still advertised for £7995 for sale.

Confused i rang the dealer it said the car was located, pretending to be an interested buyer, and they told me the car was available and that i could come and have a test drive tomorrow if i was free. At this point i rang my 'sales executive' back and he explained that because they buy their car through a broker, the broker had told them it was unavailable which usually means it's sold, but that unfortunately there was no way for them to get that car for me.

A few days later they came back to me with another car, a 2010 VTR+ with 44,000 miles. I agreed to let them get it for me, but again explained that i wouldn't make a decision until i had had a test drive. This car was also advertised for £7995 online, and they were still giving it to me for £6495 (or so i thought).

When they had the car available i took it for a test drive, and it is a really nice car to drive, however being the facelift (post 2009) VTR+ it didn't have dual zone climate control, automatic headlights, rain sensing windscreen wipers, but it did have £30 a year road tax and was only 3 years old (2010). I also had personalised number plates on my exisitng car, which they said they would transfer for me for £80.

My dad suggested that they should include that in the price too for mucking us around, however they said no. I told him that i would have to think about it as it's not really what i wanted and i still hadn't at this point got a quote for a loan.

He went out into the office to get the information sheet for me, and came back saying that the sales manager had told him that i could only have the car for £6495 if i took out their finance package. At this point i went home saying i would think about it.

The 'sales executive' phoned me a little later, but i was out, so ended up ringing my home phone which my dad answered. He then explained to my dad that they had bought the car for £6495 from the broker and that to make profit and to pay for the MOT, the pre-sale inspection and the 12 month warranty they would get the commission from me taking out a finance package, and that if i wanted to pay for the car and finance it myself it would be more £7000. They also told me that they were doing me a 'special' deal because my dad knew one of the other sales advisors.. which they hadn't told us from the beginning.

I had since been to my bank and spoken to an advisor, who gave me what rate i could get a loan for, and told me that i could probably get the interest down after a year, and eventually be able to pay off the loan in 4 years instead of 5. The finance would be for 5 years, no budging.

I rang my 'sales executive' back and told him what the bank had offered and that the payments were cheaper, and they came back to me with a new quote and the monthly payments were the same as what the bank had offered, however that rate wouldn't budge and i'd still have to pay it off over the 5 years. At this point i was sick of them telling me about their [%*^#@!] finance, as every time i spoke to any of them all the did was try to sell me their finance package. I honestly think they spent more time talking about the finance than they did the car..

I worked it out, and the amount of extra interest i would be paying for the finance package over the extra year would be more money that if i were to purchase the car for £7000, not the original £6495. So i booked an appointment with the bank to get the loan, and tried to contact my 'sales executive' to tell him what was going on. After trying to get hold of him all morning i had to leave for my bank appointment. Once i was there he still hadn't contacted me so my bank advisor rang the dealership and spoke to the sales manager, which was slightly embarassing, but got the job done. I told them what i wanted to do.

The sales manager eventually agreed to let me buy the car in cash for £7100 (he wanted £7200). I suppose it's still a better deal than buying it for the £7995 it was adversited at.

I still had to pay for the plate transfer as well, and there's another story about that, but i have to go to work now so will write about that in the comments another time.

I hope you enjoy reading this.. and are just as disgusted as i am about the amateur imcompetence of this Citroen Dealer.. and i hope none of you will now avoid going there.
Sat Jun 22 2013, 08:13am

Member No: #82
Joined: Jan 22 2007
Location: Hoylake
Sadly, that's how car sales tend to work. Commission for the sale, commission for the finance package. And the old trick of, if you want the car, secure it with a £500 deposit - even if you haven't seen the car!

The other thing to remember is that that car salesmen like debit cards - once the cash is transferred, that's it, no come back. They hate credit cards because of the consumer protection, though they'll say it's 2%+ merchants fee.
Sat Jun 22 2013, 09:08am

Member No: #1
Joined: Aug 07 2006
Location: Northumberland
@edlm_3 whilst you may feel badly done by, that's down to 1 sales exec who may not be at that dealership next week so you can't tar the whole dealers reputation and they have no way to give a reply to your concerns so I have removed the dealers location.

It clearly states in the site terms and conditions you agreed to on registration:

This site is not the place to settle a disagreement or to be a 'wall of shame'. Any posts deemed to be of this nature will be removed and the user account deleted. Settle your disputes in private please.

In this case I have simply removed the dealers location but any further attempt to give the location will result in further action.

As for the price of the car, well dealers can't sell cars at cost as they would soon go out of business.
Sat Jun 22 2013, 11:48am

Member No: #19238
Joined: Apr 12 2011
Location: Cambridgeshire
It's also worth pointing out the dealers might be in the same group but they dont work in a holistic way - the dealer holding the car will want a cut if the deal, thus removing £2-300 from any potential negotiation position with the dealer you are speaking too. We travelled 60 miles to look at a car despite it being in the same group as one where I was in regular contact with a decent salesman - I didn't want to pay for two lots of profit!

Many dealers, especially in large groups, are simply finance houses that happen to tag a car into the deal but after all, they are in the business of making money!

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