I spent the weekend trawling around car dealers, which was nice. This was especially good as I was actually there to buy a car. All the dealer had to do was have the car I wanted, or at least convince me that they did. That’s how it all works. Let's just say, though, that I was a little disappointed. 

Then on Monday I got a War and Peace-length email from a reader explaining just why he had decided never to buy a used car again and was going to stick with purchasing a new motor. I expected to read that he’d been to some back-street outfit and had the usual ‘not as described’ experience. Instead it was all main agent dealers and five-figure metal and monumental misunderstandings.

It wasn’t that bad for me. In all I encountered just one half-decent salesman who offered some alternatives and listened to what I said. It was a shame that he showed me the most risible of nearly new cars. Indeed, the amount of cars awaiting preparation was as shocking as their condition. Add to that mix a lack of product and stock knowledge, too.

Now these were all main agent, multi franchise, PLC places and they gave only an average account of themselves. One of them did start emailing me to ask how I was, though, and I did fill in the “I bought elsewhere” online form. They were “delighted” that I had done this. I am not sure that dealers have yet worked out the whole online, offline thing at all. 

Actually, box ticking whether it is in the showroom or online is not what it is all about. You ask questions and listen. That’s all. I had fun not sitting down and generally seeing how they coped with a little light distraction. 

What car dealers don’t seem to do anymore is qualify the customer. But hey, what do I know, they sell loads of cars without my genius insight. 

So what’s your experience in the showroom?