Did I Just Get Insulted By a Car Dealership Sales Call?


I hate getting a car dealership sales call. But I especially hate being asked a rude question when tell them I’m not interested.

When you buy a new car, the countdown for the car dealership sales call begins. It won’t happen right away. It takes a few years. And it also depends on how many miles you put on your vehicle.

In my case, as I recall, it happened about four years or so into my ownership. It goes like this: You get a call out of the blue from someone who says they’re representing the dealership. They tell you the service manager pointed out the “excellent” condition of your vehicle as well as the low mileage.

Yes, my vehicle has low mileage. It’s a 2014 and I don’t think I’ve quite hit 45,000 miles, yet. But let’s face it, my commute to work used to be about five minutes. Since moving to my new place, that commute now takes about 90 seconds.

And since I worked from home for about half of this year, there were even fewer miles to add to the odometer.

Car dealers like cars kept in good condition with low miles. They can buy back those cars and sell them for a higher-than-average price as “pre-owned.” They can then (they hope) sell you an even newer car.

As soon as I heard the spiel about the the service department pointing out my car, I knew. They asked me if the mileage they had on file sounded accurate. I said I believed it was, but then I shut them down. I told them that I appreciated their interest, but I had no desire to sell my car and start a new car payment.

Some car dealership sales calls don’t even begin politely.

My mom once received a similar call. But in this case, the caller didn’t even say hello. The first thing she said was, “How many miles you got on that car?”

My mom said, “What?” The caller then asked about the car she had and what kind of shape it was in.

Mom simply said, “I’m not interested” and hung up.

She doesn’t tolerate that kind of foolishness anymore than I do. But the person who called me was polite. At least initially.

But then she asked one more question.

Sort of like a moment from the old Columbo series, she asked if she could ask one more thing. Here’s what she said:

“Do you think that having the title in hand makes it difficult to make a rational decision?”

I stood there for a second. I tried to process the question as posed and figure out what she might be driving at.

Since I still wasn’t sure, I asked her to repeat her question, hoping she might have misread her script or that I had misheard or misunderstood. She repeated the same question.

“Well, I’m not really sure what you’re implying,” I told her. “I would like to think that all of my decisions are as rational as possible.”

To that, she sort of chuckled and told me to have a nice day. I don’t really think she cared whether I did or didn’t.

Is buying a new car in this economic climate ‘rational’?

It seems perfectly rational to me to maintain my car and keep it for as long as I can. I managed to pay off my car one year ahead of schedule. I did not do that so that I could jump right into a newer car with a new payment book.

As someone who recently bought a home, I’m watching my budget as carefully as I can.

That seems rational to me.

Unfortunately for this caller, I had a scheduled appointment with the dealership for routine maintenance. (I think that’s rational, too.) You can bet I had something to say about the people calling customers on their behalf.

If you have to insult your customers to get them to consider doing business with you, you aren’t worth their business.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.