Whilst the majority of car dealerships are very reputable and have high professional standards, there are some dealers who prioritise meeting sales targets over the individual needs of a customer. Sometimes, it’s difficult for consumers not to feel baffled by the array of motoring terms and acronyms, predominantly only used by car salespeople.
To prepare you for the onslaught of potential motoring jargon you may potentially experience when buying a car, Warranty Direct has decoded key terms to put you on a level playing field with a dealer and ensure you come out with the right car, at no unnecessary extra expense.
A Wooden Duck: This term would be used by salesman to colleagues and typically refers to a customer who does not haggle or negotiate. Whilst not necessarily derogatory, it could mean that a dealership is more focused on looking to sell to an ‘easy target’, rather than considering the individual needs of a customer.
Whopper with Cheese: Another one from the dealer when they’re trying to dupe a customer. This is a deal that has an exorbitant profit. A salesperson using this sort of language should be avoided, as it shows they have no qualms with ripping off a buyer.
Grinder: Also used to describe a customer, but this time one that drives a hard bargain. This is when it takes a long time to negotiate a deal with a strong customer, intent on negotiating for a discounted price.
FDSH: This is a Full Dealer Service History. This is essentially the same as a Full Service History (FSH) but service stamps have been acquired by a registered dealer as opposed to the owner of the car.
HPI check: An important used vehicle check history which determines if a car is stolen, accident damaged, written off or clocked. If a car is listed as any of these things, then it is highly advisable not to buy! (Or if stolen, please do alert the police.)
List price: You may hear a salesman talking about a car’s ‘list price’. This is simply the cost of a car as it’s driven off the forecourt. There may be room for manoeuvre or deals to be done on this price, so it is worth negotiating.
NVH: When discussing the quality of a car, its NVH may be discussed. This is referred to the vehicle’s noise, vibration and harshness and is used as a subjective measure for the quality of vehicle
Q-plate: Registration plates starting with a Q mean a car was either not originally registered in the UK, it was built using off-the-shelf parts (e.g. a kit car), or its origins are unknown. A car’s original number plate can be reapplied if the proper documentation for it is recovered.
VIN: This is the vehicle identification number – a unique number, normally 17 digits, given to each vehicle during manufacturing. This is to help track vehicles that are defective or have been written off, as license plates can be easily changed.
Loss-leader advertising: The dealership sells a couple of unwanted cars at an unrealistically low price to attract buyers, then sells them a pricier vehicle.
Low balling: The salesman tells the customer an unrealistically low price that they should aim to pay for a new car. When they come back because they could not get it for that price elsewhere, they are convinced to buy it for more.
Cut and shut: Readers beware! This is a car damaged in an accident which has been repaired by fusing one or more vehicles together. While a dealership should not be selling this type of car, if you are buying privately then this is something that you should watch out for as the vehicle may not reach recommended safety levels. Checking the car’s VIN number, complete service history and MOT certificates can be the best ways of finding out if a car is ‘cut and shut’.
Limited-time deals: The phrase ‘for a limited time only’ has entered popular usage – and for good reason: it’s an effective sales tactic. Finance with 0% interest, discounted models and free extra equipment are often touted, creating a palpable sense of urgency. Be aware though, while the duration of such offers may well be limited, they occur so frequently that another one will come along sooner than you think.
‘Free’ extras: Be careful of free gifts the salesperson throws into a deal. They’re only trying to slow down negotiations and make you pay a higher price for the actual car. Try to stay focused on getting the best possible value.
Sucking back: This refers to the technique of giving you a very low sum for your part-exchange car, and then compensating by giving you a fantastic price on your new one. Sales people hope the true profit will be hidden in the intricacies of the deal, and aim to make you think you’ve got an amazing deal.
The maze of buying a new car can be full of challenges and difficult decisions, but decoding what a salesperson is saying shouldn’t be one of them. If you already know the tricks of the trade, you’re far less likely to fall for them and more likely to get a good deal.
At Warranty Direct we pride ourselves on being clear and transparent about our products. We don’t want customers to be confused by the meanings of our terms and policies, so we’ve gone the extra mile and compiled detailed policy guides – so every customer understands exactly what they are paying for.