Should I Use a Car Broker?


Hi John - I regularly hear you on 2UE and need to buy a new car, after mine was written off on the weekend (by a red light runner). I'll take your advice and buy at the end of the month but want to know what constitutes end of month in regard to a car sale and getting the best deal.

Deposit taken and Forms signed or final payment and delivery? 

My query is because this month August 31 is a Sunday and I won't have the required bank cheque - should I be aiming to finalise on August 29th or can I make final payment after September 1 (weekday).

I am really nervous about using a broker (no offence). Cheers, Matt.


Matt, thanks for listening to me on 2UE, and thanks for watching my video on how to beat car dealers >> 

I'm sorry your car was written off, and I'm glad you are (apparently) OK. Crashes at intersections are notoriously hard to mitigate. Sounds like you were lucky.

Basically, on the timing front you can negotiate and put down a deposit and sign the contract by the end of the month and that should be fine. Dealerships are under increasing pressure towards the end of the month, and that makes them more flexible from a negotiation point of view. As long as the contract is signed and the deposit is in place you should be fine. You don't have to do the lot on the very last day.

Now, let's talk about this broker nervousness. Personally I don't care if you use the broker or not. It's completely up to you. I refer people to the brokerage because I got fed up with the vast number of people who got ripped off at the dealership. (I did a bunch of stories on how to stick up for yourself at a dealership on A Current Affair about 10 years ago. Dealers hated them.)

What flowed from that was the tips you saw in that video. But a lot of people were still too nice, too timid, too diplomatic - whatever - to avoid getting ripped off. I refer a lot of people to the brokerage. These people routinely save thousands by sidestepping the systematic rip-offs that are in place in the new car buying process.

Here's an unsolicited e-mail from one such car buyer in Queensland:

Hello John,  My wife and I have recently purchased a Holden Captiva through your service and in dealing with Ben Harris. We both wanted to pass how 100% satisfied we have been with Ben's service, aptitude and efficiency in finding us a car. We will definitely use your service again in the future thanks to Ben and his colleagues. We have passed on your company details to every person who finds out we bought a new car. Please ensure Ben is aware of our gratitude. Thank you and kind regards, [names withheld].

Here is the original e-mail to the effect of the above, for your reference. (I have blurred some details, such as names, to protect privacy.) Click the image to enlarge:

There is no catch - and my reputation, which is something I take pretty seriously, depends on it being a good deal for consumers. Channel 7 and Radio 2UE would drop me in a heartbeat if the process were a rip-off. It is not.

My strong view is that most people should be nervous about going to the dealer ill-equipped to handle the sophisticated apparatus that will be rolled out to extract as much of their money as possible.

Basically the car broker finds the vehicle at the cheapest price from a dealer. You buy it from that dealer. It's brand new. Under warranty. Completely above board. It is easy to see if the broker represents good value: Do the best job you can negotiating with a car dealer. Then call the broker. See if the broker can beat your best price. It's the simplest check in the world...

I don't care if you use the broker. There's absolutely no pressure either way. Just bear in mind the dealer is not there to do you any favours. His objective is to extract all possible funds from you. He does this every day. By the sound of things, you don't. I'll happily give you any advice you request, and I wish you the best of luck in the purchase. I hope it goes well.

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Q&AJohn CadoganComment