Never ask a car dealer for advice

You should never ask a car dealer for advice. Not now. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Here’s why.

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See also: Top 20 ways to beat a car dealer >>

This report is inspired by ordinary people - trusting fools - who walk into car dealerships, in the market for a new car, and they make the mistake of asking for advice. Which you should never do.

Consider this:

(MENTAL) CASE STUDY

 Who's the jolly Joker now, Brad Reeves?

Who's the jolly Joker now, Brad Reeves?

Recently in the Northern Territory, a 41-year-old car salesman named Bradley Thomas Reeves pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to 11 counts of obtaining benefit by deception after defrauding his employer, a car dealer, of nearly $470,000.

These funds were deceptively pocketed from Hidden Valley Ford over nearly two years. Mr Reeves used them vigorously to pursue his favourite hobby - gambling.

Stealing from a car dealer is almost acting as a latter-day Robin Hood, some would say, only Mr Hood did tend to pursue the moral high ground and give to the poor, as opposed to just blowing it at the casino, or something.

(So there’s that minor point of difference. But let's not get bogged down in the details.)

 Gambling is of course awesome fun if you don't understand mathematics and especially so if you manage to do it with someone else's money...

Gambling is of course awesome fun if you don't understand mathematics and especially so if you manage to do it with someone else's money...

Apparently Mr Reeves, consumed with self-loathing and fear, negative emotions of that sort, just walked into a police station and said: ‘I’m not the messiah; I’m a very naughty boy,’ kind of thing. (I’m paraphrasing.) He dropped himself in it.

Mr Reeves’ cunning scam centred around giving customers his own bank details, into which they would then deposit tens of thousands of dollars when they bought new cars. He also offered customers big discounts for paying in cash, which he pocketed (of course). Additionally, he sold trade-in cars to used car dealers and kept the proceeds, just for consistency, and he manipulated the dealership’s commercial records to cover for the missing money and the discrepancy in cars.

Reeves told the NT cops he was a (quote) “nervous wreck”, after the dealership’s new financial controller started asking questions.

 Apparently, stealing almost half a million dollars can be accomplished without being motivated by greed. (Link to special offer to purchase the Sydney Harbour Bridge below...)

Apparently, stealing almost half a million dollars can be accomplished without being motivated by greed. (Link to special offer to purchase the Sydney Harbour Bridge below...)

(Presumably, inconvenient ones, such as: “We seem to be missing half a million dollars, and I can’t find a bunch of cars. Do you know anything about that?” Questions like that.)

A barrister named Helena Blundell, acting for Mr Reeves, said her client’s cop-shop confession was him (quote) “making a cry for help”. I believe she said this with a straight face. Incredibly enough.

Mr Reeves was an enthusiastic but poor gambler, so he ended each month bereft of cash and therefore he had to wind up the steam-powered scam machine to keep life in the copacetic zone for the next few weeks.

Ms Blundell said because Reeves had nothing to show for his crimes, he couldn’t be described as being motivated by greed. She also said this with a completely straight face.

I don’t know how.

 Car dealers come in every flavour, from 'Hannibal Lecter' to 'Dalai Lama'

Car dealers come in every flavour, from 'Hannibal Lecter' to 'Dalai Lama'

MORAL FRAMEWORK

The point is: You walk into a dealership, and you really don’t know if you’re interacting with someone whose moral compass is pointing towards Bradley Reeves or the Dalai Lama.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that car salesmen are all deceptive scumbags with the recessive Robin Hood gene - but I am suggesting it’s a good idea for you to manage risk and therefore be highly skeptical of everything you are told inside a dealership.

This is simply because you are vulnerable to exploitation in this environment. And ignorance is a primary delivery vector for exploitation. To the wrong salesman - a request for advice is a red flag that you are ignorant on some subject. It represents nothing more than an opportunity for the ethically ambivalent to gut you.

 Would you buy a new car from this man? (How would you know?)

Would you buy a new car from this man? (How would you know?)

Even more worrying is ‘wanting to believe’. You want the car. But you need external validation to get it across the line. If the car salesman senses this - he might well give you all the validation you want. True or false - it’s all the same: Yeah: Great idea. Just sign here.

The pressure to sell is immense in these places. Car salesman are under the hammer, and it is relentless. Sell at any cost is often the mantra. On the other hand, you want to make the right choice (because then you have to live with it).

But a car salesman generally just wants to sell you a car - any car, but preferably one that’s in stock, preferably right now. (Just sign here. We'll fill in the details later...)

For the hungry salesman, this transaction must take place before you drive down the street and compare his car with any other car from any other competing brand, where you will interact with another dude just like him, who needs to gut you just as desperately as he does.

BULLSHIT RELATIVITY

 There: I hope it makes complete sense now...

There: I hope it makes complete sense now...

This is simply the wrong environment in which to procure advice. The risk is that the so-called ‘advice’ will be entirely self-serving - it could be true or completely false, but it will most likely be dished up to serve the agenda of gutting you - securing that all-important deposit and taking you off the market.

You open yourself up to exploitation if you go on some quest for honest, impartial advice, or validation, in these places. Different rules apply. See, car salesman exploit the phenomenon of ‘truth dilation’, which is an inevitable consequence of the general theory of bullshit relativity.

S = MC^2: Success for a car dealer equals mediocrity times cunning, squared. This phenomenon bends the fabric of space-time and accounts for the fact that the clocks on all dealership showrooms never move from ‘Bullshit o’clock’ - that’s always the time during business hours, inside a car dealership.

A lot of people don’t notice this.

THE BULLSHIT/PLAUSIBILITY MATRIX

 The late Stephen Hawking. Legend.

The late Stephen Hawking. Legend.

If you watch the video above, you'll see 'professor Cletus van Damme', groundbreaking researcher who discovered the Bullshit-Plausibility Matrix, as usual, live, on location, from his laboratory in Shitsville.

The Bullshit-Plausibility Matrix is dedicated to the late Stephen Hawking (right), who would not have touched a crackpot idea like that with a 10-foot pole - and not just because he was paralysed.

Fellow of the Royal Society, Author of A Brief History of Time, Laucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University (same chair Isaac Newton once held), discoverer of the black hole radiation that today bears his name. Proof that scientific literacy rocks, whereas being an emphatically dumb shit does not.

Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018 - coolest of cool braniacs - requiescat in pace, emphatically.

Remember: don’t ask for advice at a car dealership - make sure your kids learn science and mathematics because otherwise they might become pimps, or, worse, politicians.

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