Buying a car & the fine art of Deception Analysis

Have you been caught out? This could help...

"So it is mechanically sound then", we ask for the second time from behind the counter of the petrol station, to the burly guy who we are told owns the garage and the dusty 4x4 parked outside that we are interested in buying.

It's hot, he's busy, we're fed up of searching the Internet for the perfect vehicle and now we don't care what it looks like, just as long as it runs okay and can carry a week's worth of shopping, plus the occasional teenager and two small but rambunctious dogs.

He had been quite good up until this second attempt at the question. Now he seemed a little distracted, irritated even at the question.

"Yes, yes, of course!" This was the second time he looked down and away and busied himself with something other than the potential sale standing in front of him.

If I were in Basil Fawlty mode this is when I would be explaining that I was so awfully sorry to interrupt the fanatically important job of counting buttons or whatever but I would in all honestly like to BUY YOUR CAR that has been showcased within this very forecourt for the past 18 months with not so much as a glimmer in the eye of a potential purchaser for, well, ever, probably.

No, you are right, it was not that he was distracted, he was in fact hiding the fact that he was lying.

No one is ever truly comfortable when they are lying, thank goodness. So the body displays the nervous energy and the perpetrator just wants to get the whole ghastly business over with.

I also know that everyone needs to lie sometimes for all the worthy reasons we tell ourselves and I accept that, though buying a car is a risky business when parting with hard earned cash. However, the language of lies is the same the world over, so when this happens, keep your money and walk away.

You ask THE question, such as 'is it in good condition mechanically?', 'has the timing chain been replaced?', 'are there any problems I need to be aware of?' etc and....

  1. The subject looks down and away before or during answering.

  2. They scratch or rub the back of the neck.

  3. Some part of them starts tapping, such as fingers or foot.

  4. They move a finger or hand over their mouth.

  5. They place an object between you and them (like a cup or bottle).


These are just five 'red flags' and people will do these things randomly when in conversation with each other HOWEVER, this is how to know if they are LYING to you. Catch and fully observe the movements when you ask the all important question. So many questioners look away at this point! It's amazing! It is as if we feel embarrassed for the person we are questioning and we give them a little privacy as we do not want to be perceived as intimidating. Look and keep looking.

Next, once you have seen one of the above, change the subject. Let there be a little calm, a little laughter or joviality even. Then, ask the SAME question again. Ask again later, though in a different manner and if you get three red flags, run like the wind.

Okay, go get your lovely new car and lookout for those lies!

To learn more sign up to my my new online course Human Lie Detection: How to catch a liar! Click Here

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