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Tips for Women Car Shoppers

Buying a car remains a hassle for women, according to a recent poll conducted by CarMax, Inc., the nations largest retailer of used cars.This year more than 12,000 women were surveyed on the company’s website. The poll asked what was most lacking during their car-buying experiences. The responses were nearly identical to those posted in 2006, with 21% wishing they could have had a quick, effortless transaction; 16% a salesperson they liked and trusted; 14% lowest, fair pricing; 13% fair trade-in value; 13% respect for/attention to wants and needs; 7% a fair, reasonable finance rate; 4% understandable paperwork; and 12% other factors.

"We continue to see the same trends as women search for satisfaction in shopping for a vehicle," says Donna Wassel, regional vice president, CarMax.

CarMax offers the following tips for women car shoppers:

  1. Use the Internet to research vehicle types, makes, models, options, features, and prices. Visit websites such as carmax.com to see actual prices and photos of nearly every vehicle make and model, review vehicle history reports, and read actual customer reviews.

  2. Print out fact sheets or information about the vehicles you are interested in, so you can remind yourself about what you want when you step onto the lot.

  3. Bring key paperwork items with you, including title and registration for your current vehicle, your drivers license, and insurance card.

  4. If you have been pre-approved for a car loan, bring in the approval letter with you.

  5. Find a car retailer and salesperson you like and trust by asking friends and family for referrals.

  6. Try a retailer that offers no-haggle prices and a la carte pricing on each part of the car-buying transaction -- the vehicle price, the extended service plan, the trade-in, and the financing.

  7. Get a fair offer on your trade-in separately from your car purchase. You can bring your car to CarMax for a free appraisal. Having the appraisal offer will help you understand the fair value of your "trade-in" before you start shopping.

  8. Have confidence in your car-shopping abilities. You have done your research and are prepared to make a smart car-buying decision.

  9. Do not hesitate to ask lots of questions -- as many as you need so that you understand exactly what you are paying for.

  10. Be prepared to walk away if you are unhappy with your car-buying experience.

"Being prepared to walk away can be tough to do, especially if you have spent a lot of time on one car lot," says Wassel. "But if you are not pleased with the car-buying process, its worth it -- remember, you are the one who has to drive the car and make the payments, not the salesperson."