Australians are scared of buying a used car

Peter Terlato 27 September 2016

car dealership buying

Many would prefer to see the dentist rather than haggle with a car salesperson.

New research has exposed staggering levels of distrust among Australians buying used cars, either from dealerships or through private sales.

HelloCars Australian Car Sales Index 2016 reveals almost three-quarters (74.5%) of Aussies describe the experience of buying a car as confusing, disappointing, a hassle, intimidating, painful, time consuming and something they don't want to do again.

Two thirds (66.7%) of Australians admit to feeling somewhat unsafe, unsafe or very unsafe when buying a car through private channels. Almost three quarters (74.6%) believe private sellers aren't honest.

It's not much better when visiting a dealership. More than half of all respondents (51.5%) said they felt pressured to buy and more than a quarter (27.3%) bought an added feature they didn't want.

Almost 85% of people said they felt anxious, uncomfortable or ready for a negotiation battle when walking into a dealership.

A recent study by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) suggests Australian car dealers are selling consumers expensive, poor value add-ons that provide little to no benefit.

"It's well known that dealerships derive the vast majority of their profits from selling other products like finance and insurance, so they're incentivised to sell these when people buy any car," HelloCars director Paul Higgins said.

The experience is so painful for some they would prefer to visit the dentist (20.3%), change a baby's nappy (29.8%) or spend holidays with their in-laws (32.5%) rather than negotiate with a car salesperson.

"The bottom line is that used-car sales is an almost universally unpleasant experience for consumers and the industry really needs a wake-up call," Higgins said.

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