Haggling Helper: Tell That Car Salesman to Talk to the Smartphone

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By Lonnie Duka, Getty Images

When you’re squirming at the car dealership negotiating table, wouldn’t it be nice to have endless knowledge of the marketplace at your fingertips? With a smartphone and the right apps, you’ve got just that.

Buying a car can be one of the most painful shopping experiences, what with the uncertainty and back-and-forth haggling and the sense that it’s foolish to trust what anyone says.

The NY Times reviews some smartphone apps that aim to eliminate some of the hassles of car buying today. If nothing else, having a smartphone in hand should eliminate this scenario at the dealership:

As too many people have found, you can bring along boxes of printouts from car-advice sites, and slick or unscrupulous sellers will argue that the information is outdated or irrelevant.

The best apps, per the Times, are those offered by expert resources most car enthusiasts already know about: Cars.com, Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book. All three are free for both Apple and Android. If you’re buying a new vehicle, here’s the go-to source:

Arguably the most helpful feature is Edmunds.com’s True Market Value, which lists the average selling price for a particular model, in a particular region, adjusted for options. In discussing a fair selling price with a sales representative, it is indispensable.

The Edmunds app doesn’t deal with used cars, so if that’s more your speed, try KBB, which lists the expected asking price for just about any make, any model, with any mileage, in any condition.

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