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5 ways to spot a lying salesman

2014-01-07 10:00

SELLING YOU A LEMON? Our guide will help you to prevent a dodgy vehicle salesman trying to sell you a lemon car. Posed image: Shutterstock

LONDON, England - Nose-touching, mouth-covering, fidgeting and throat-clearing. Each could be a sign that a vehicle salesperson is being dishonest.

UK vehicle information expert HPI urges car-shoppers to pay attention to a vehicle’s bodywork as well as the dealer's body language and facial expressions.


HPI consumer services manager Shane Teskey said: "Have you ever had that uneasy feeling that someone was lying to you but didn’t know why you felt that way? It could be because you’ve subconsciously noticed their lying signs. Trust your instincts. Pay close attention to body language and facial expressions.

"For example, look for nose-touching and mouth-covering. People touch their nose more frequently when they’re lying. They’re also more likely to cover their mouth.

“Of course, if you're buying online, you can’t look the seller in the eye or take into consideration how they are behaving so investigate the seller’s history by reviewing the ratings from other buyers to ensure you’re dealing with someone who will deliver the car according to the terms you are offered.”


Another potential tell is nodding. Buyers should be on guard if a person’s head is nodding or shaking in contrast to what is being said.

Teskey said: “Make sure the seller isn’t giving you inconsistent signals. Does the salesman look shifty? Perhaps constantly fidgeting? Too much fidgeting with clothing, jewellery, hair or things around them could indicate that they are uneasy and may be lying about the car’s history.”

Try to observe the level of “mirroring” going on between yourself and the seller. When two people have a conversation, they naturally mirror the behaviour of the other but unscrupulous sellers mirror significantly less when lying.

Finally, pay attention to the person’s throat. Excessive lubrication of the throat by swallowing, throat-clearing or gulping may indicate the dealer is being dishonest.

Teskey added: “We always urge buyers to take somebody with them when going to view a car. Having a second pair of eyes on the seller you check the bodywork will never go amiss. If you don’t know much about cars, take somebody who does know a thing or two or invest in the services of an independent vehicle inspection.

"Most importantly, don’t let your heart rule your head and trust your instincts. If the car looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

5 ways to spot a lying car salesperson:

1 Look for nose-touching and mouth-covering
2 Watch when the person nods. If the head is nodding or shaking in contrast to what is being said, this can be a tell that they are lying.
3 Beware of constant fidgeting.
4 Observe the level of mirroring.
5 Watch the person's throat for excessive swallowing, throat clearing or gulping.
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