Buying a car from a Car Supermarket

Buying a car from a Car Supermarket

Buying a car from a Car Supermarket
Buying a car from a Car Supermarket

Are you thinking of buying a car from a car supermarket? Then before you go out and buy what you hope is your dream car read about my experience before heading out the door.

I have bought a few cars in my time, normally from a dealer. I bought a Kia Picanto from a Kia dealer and Peugeot from a Peugeot dealer. This was my first experience purchasing from a car supermarket. IT will probably be the last time too.

Researching the perfect car

I spent a lot of time researching a car that would be perfect for my needs. I knew what I was looking for in a car, of course, it had to be economical, who doesn’t want an economical car in the current climate where fuel prices are very high and wages are very low?

It also had to be a hybrid. I was looking at hybrid cars where the braking helped to regenerate the battery power. I didn’t mind if it was a mild hybrid or full hybrid (HEV). A plugin hybrid (PHEV) was of no use to me as I don’t have anywhere to plug it in unless I went to a local supermarket or car park where they had installed chargers.

The sort of cars I was looking at was the Honda Jazz, and CR-V. Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro.

Buying a car from a Car Supermarket
Hyundai Ioniq side view

I was also looking for a car that had the technology that I was looking for such as Apple CarPlay, cruise control and reversing camera. The car that seemed to hit the spot for me was the Hyundai Ioniq. There is a lot of technology built into the car such as heated steering wheel and seats, Apple CarPlay as I already mentioned, cruise control and a speed limiter.  

Deciding on where I will purchase

Deciding where I was going to buy a Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid car was where I made my biggest mistake. I have mentioned many times in my posts about doing research before buying anything, but I didn’t take my advice when looking at where I would buy it from.

Of course, I didn’t buy the first Hyundai Ioniq the first place I saw. I did a lot of googling around where locally there we some Ioniqs available and went to visit the dealer to have a look at them. Most of them were not the “trim” level I was looking for.

The Hyundai Ioniq that I was looking at come in three trim levels, Ioniq Se, Ioniq Premium and Ioniq Premium SE. The Premium Se is the highest trim level with the most technology in it and of course the most expensive.

The trim level I went for was the Ioniq Premium because it had the technology built into it that I was looking for within my price range.

I started to look further afield to buy my perfect car and I found a car supermarket that had several Hyundai Ioniqs in stock. That is where it started to go wrong for me. If only I had done my research on this car supermarket company.

My car supermarket experience 

I arrived at the supermarket at around eleven am and I had to sign in to have a look around by giving my name, email address and mobile number. Giving that much information away just to have a look around should have set off alarm bells for me, but it didn’t.

There were masses of used cars on sale from every brand I could think of. That is just one branch in Peterborough, they also had another branch that stocked premium car brands such as BMW. I looked at a dark purple Toyota Corolla that they had in stock, I did notice a mould stain on the front seat and the battery was so flat that I couldn’t get into the car. But they also had several Hyundai Ioniqs in stock that took my interest.

I found the car I was interested in and went to speak to a salesperson. Little did I know how long and how tiring the whole process would take at that time.

Ioniq dashboard drive mode
Ioniq dashboard drive mode
Ioniq dashboard sports mode
Ioniq dashboard sports mode
Ioniq infotainment
Ioniq infotainment

Beware of up-selling extras 

One thing that buyers will find in a supermarket is up-selling. Up-selling is where a car supermarket will offer you additional products or services that will cost you more money.

During the process of buying a car, the sales representative sat down and went through a list of things that they want to sell you. The three things that this particular car supermarket sales representative wanted to sell me were an extended warranty, gap insurance and car seat waterproofing protection.

Extended Warranty

I am going to talk a little more about the extended warranty a little later. The car salesperson sat down and gave me a price for an extended warranty. The price is around £1,995 ($2495.25 current rate). Now I never take an extended warranty out on anything as most things are covered by insurance. 

When I said I didn’t want the extended warranty she said she need to speak to someone in finance. Fifteen minutes later she came back with a revised price. I asked if I could have a copy of the warranty to read through. I was told that wasn’t possible as they don’t print out the warranty to give out.

She then disappeared again and after another ten minutes, she came back with a revised price. The warranty was for three years and covered breakdown too, with recovery. With the revised price I decided I would go for it. Something I came to regret later.

 Gap insurance

I had the term gap insurance, but I couldn’t at the time remember what it was. The car sales representative went on to describe gap insurance as a product that covers the value of your car. If you purchased a car for £17,000 after one year after purchase your car is going to be worth less, but with gap insurance, you can maintain the value of your car for the term of the insurance. The cost of GAP insurance was prohibitive by the price, it was over £1,000 for 3 years. I declined this and yes, I was made to wait while she discussed this with her managers.

Car seat protection

The third product that they tried to up-sell me was a waterproof and anti-staining guard for car upholstery. The price is a mere £500. I believe this involved spraying the car upholstery with stain and waterproofing spray. 

You can buy all these three products much cheaper by shopping around than buying from a car supermarket, so don’t feel pressurised in purchasing any of these products from them.

I purchased a stain and waterproofing product from Amazon called Gtechniq l1 Smart Fabric V2 for £26, which is a saving of £474 in one hit. You can also buy extended warranties online by searching Google or Bing. I felt that buying a service plan and MOT plan was better value for money because when you buy a car from a dealer or a car supermarket it should come with a three-month warranty anyway.

My extended warranty experience

Without boring everyone with unnecessary details after three days of driving the car, it broke down and was off the road for five weeks. 

When the car first broke down, I called the car supermarket’s car warranty line and they informed me that car was still covered by the five-year Hyundai warranty and they gave me their number. Hyundai was brilliant and called out to the AA to check the car and get the car to a Hyundai garage.

While the car was in the garage being looked at I decided to look at the warranty app and I suddenly realised that I had been mis-sold the extended warranty as I saw in one of the clauses, of which there are many, that the warranty does not cover hybrid cars.

My shock or surprise was why didn’t the car supermarket sales representative know this and my next thought was, will I get my money back?

I found that there was a fourteen-day cooling-off period for the extended warranty and I immediately contacted them requesting my money back as it didn’t cover my vehicle. I was fortunate enough to get my money back, which will be used to purchase a Hyundai service and MOT plan. 

I was just fortunate that I decided to read the warranty and discover that clause otherwise I could have been caught out.

Would I buy from that car supermarket again?

The answer is clearly no, I learnt many things that day. One of the main selling tactics is to wear and tire the customer out so that they are more compliant because they just want to leave. I was at the car supermarket sorting out the purchase of the car for five hours, I had already decided which car I wanted within the first thirty minutes. 

I looked the company up on Trusted Reviews and a few people mentions the tactic of wearing people down by keeping them waiting while the car sale representative went between the customer and Sales Managers. Some people just walked out without purchasing a car because of how long it took.

Secondly, it is all about up-selling a product. The amount of time spent trying to buy the extra products was not just tiring but also the hard sell to get you to have them.

My next purchase, if there is a next purchase will be at a main dealer, yes they try and up-sell too but I feel if I am buying from a manufacturer dealer then I have confidence I can go back no matter where I am to sort things out.

Lessons learnt

I did my research on the car I wanted to buy but I should have done my research about the car supermarket I purchased the car from.

I should have read the reviews around the supermarket to see what other people’s experiences were. But I have learnt my lesson on that one.

My advice is if you are looking to purchase a new or second-hand vehicle then check everything out. Look at reviews not just on the car but also on the dealer, online and offline car supermarkets.

Another thing I learnt is don’t be pressurised by up-selling tactics. Remain in control and if you don’t like what they are offering then say no and stick with that decision. You will find that you can buy extended warranties, GAP insurance and stain and waterproofing much cheaper online than what they are offering.

Check the car manufacturers’ websites to see if they sell extended warranties or service plans. I am very happy with the service plan and MOT that Hyundai offer.

Read more

If you found this post about buying a car from a dealership then you can read more on Reviewing Life Experiences. Click here to go to the list of my post. I write about music, book, life and technology so I know that you will find something that will interest you.

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