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How Not to Buy a Car

Buying anything just doesn't seem as easy as it used to be. For example over the festive period and beyond I've been trawling Auto Trader, ebay etc looking for a car. Has anyone tried this lately? What a pain! Sure there are plenty of cars in such places but not the right car. You lose days just scanning over the same portfolio of cars until your weary eyes find a beckoning headlight amidst the haze of clapped out tin cans. So you read through the advert carefully. Twice. You're so excited about the prospect of driving this car that the first two attempts were a complete waste of time and none of the details sunk in. You can see yourself in this one. This is it, the car you've been looking for, the pièce de résistance, your raison d'être. Apparently it’s also a French car.

You calmly pick up the phone and make the call to the dealer. No-one is picking up the phone! 'How can this be?' You wonder. A slight panic creeps in and you feel a little trickle of sweat across your brow. The phone continues to ring without anyone answering it as though they’re deliberately trying to make you sweat. They’re doing a good job so far. You check the number. You’d checked it twice already just in case you somehow managed to dial the wrong number in your excitement but low and behold the number is indeed correct. You look once more at the webpage as you begin dialling the number for a second time. You're dialling the right number but for the WRONG CAR! You're mortified. Oh my god how did this happen? Of course now someone has answered the phone. You panic and put on a deep fake voice 'sorry pal got the wrong number' and hang up as quickly as you can before he starts trying to sell you his latest dustbin on wheels. After this saga you eventually manage to call the correct number only to find the car you wanted so badly has been sold just five minutes earlier while you were calling the wrong dealer.

Finally you find a car that you like and that has not yet been sold. Next stop, pay a visit to the dealer and see just how much the camera can lie. If they say that cameras add ten pounds to people, for cars it seems to remove ten years worth of damage. Upon arrival it’s hardly surprising that you’re disappointed and despite asking for the car in the photos, this really is the car that was advertised. All you see however is rust, broken bits, missing bits and bits falling off. All of which shows its true age. And that’s just the sales rep. The car is even worse!

You’re about to leave when the sales rep tells you he has something you might like out back. This doesn’t sound good straight away but you decide to humour him and follow him out back anyway. When he said ‘out back’ he wasn’t kidding as you find yourself in a hot, dusty metallic outback. You can’t see a single thing resembling a working car for miles and you’re in desperate need of water. Yet somehow from under the rubble a vehicle emerges. At first you think it’s a mirage but no, it’s real. It’s a miracle! Behind the wheel of the car slowly chugging towards you, shines the balding head of the rep who now has a big, beaming grin on his face. He’s finally found a mug to buy his prized pile of scrap metal and baked bean tins he’s welded together. Or so he thinks.

Buying a car from some dealers can be like buying drugs from your friendly neighbourhood back alley drug dealer. You never really know what you’re getting until it’s too late. You can be going down a street and your bottom falls out. I decided it’s a chance I’m not willing to take just yet so for now I’m back on the bike. The only tin cans I plan on buying any time soon are the ones from the supermarket. Maybe in a few months I’ll have enough to make my own car.