Mastering the Fear of Buying

Your palms are sweating. Your heart is pounding. There is a hush over the car dealership's showroom floor, where the top-of-the-line sedans and sports coupes gleam, mockingly, at you.

Somewhere in a back office is a salesperson you are sure is having a good laugh with the sales manager over how they are going to stick it to you.

David Kalmus, chief executive officer of Auto Quest Services, would like to change this scenario. And on Tuesday night in Arcadia, his firm will present a free seminar on how to buy a car.

"The most important part of what we teach them is how to be in control at the dealership," Kalmus said. "You go to buy a dress, you get better treatment than when you go to buy a car."

But then most dress shops do not have "piranha" waiting for you at the door. Some dealerships do, and that person is usually the low man on the totem pole, the salesperson, according to Kalmus.

For a fee, Kalmus and company will help you decide which car you want, negotiate the best price, go over the papers and be there when you take delivery.

"In many ways, we operate like an attorney," said Kalmus, although he conceded that may not be the most appealing analogy these days.

But " they get you through the (legal) system," which is also what his company does in the car biz.

If you want to do it on your own, Kalmus said the seminar will give you the tools to do it. It begins at 7 p.m. in Jordan Hall at The Church of the Good Shepherd, 400 W. Duarte Road. Information: (818) 355-5730.

For the Record Los Angeles Times Thursday October 7, 1993 Home Edition San Gabriel Valley Part J Page 2 Column 5 Zones Desk 2 inches; 47 words Type of Material: Correction Car dealer photo--A story about a seminar on learning how to buy a car ran with a photograph from Times files in the Sept. 26 San Gabriel Valley section. The car salesman pictured in that photograph has no relationship to the seminar or to consumer problems referred to in the story, and The Times regrets any implication to the contrary.
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