A friend recently purchased a used car “as is” for around $5,000 from a dealer. About 45 days later the transmission tanked. Unfortunately, the problem appeared after the state “lemon law” warranty expired. My friend obtained several estimates for the repair, the cheapest of which was $1,400. Not wanting to pay so much, she returned to the dealer to see if they would help.
What negotiation approach should she take?
She could try a competitive approach and threaten to file complaints with the appropriate state regulatory agency and the Better Business Bureau and stop making her payments (the dealer had financed almost the entire purchase price).
Alternatively, she could take a more problem-solving approach and appeal to the dealer’s sense of fairness and potential sympathy for her plight (she is a single mother and her car broke down shortly before Christmas).
Based on her positive experience buying the car (the dealer hadn’t use overly competitive, high-pressure tactics), she decided to take the latter approach. It worked, and the dealer ultimately agreed to repair the car for only $300 even though they had no contractual obligation to do so.
The bottom-line: picking the right negotiation approach will help you get the best results.