May 19, 2008

Beater, no more.

I purchased a new car.

I have passed on the reins o' repair on my former beater. After having a nightmare experience with repairs on it, that is. Two different trips to repair problems that should have been resolved all at once.

The repair experience...

I was, um, NOT happy. The dealership where I took the car for repairs had been stellar in the past but was a long sight from that this time around. Dramatically overcharging me and doing only part of the work necessary, (when I effectively told them what was wrong with the thing), just brought the whole thing to a head.

I sent them a long winded, detailed, polite but direct nasty-gram in relation to the experiences I had. Not surprisingly, they didn't and haven't responded.

...then I received a thank you card from the support manager, (dated the day before my nasty-gram), thanking me for my business and telling me that my satisfaction was their #1 goal. Yeah...sure.

Anyway, the repairs...that's what brought me to the point of the search for the new car.

It's that which I want to talk about here today.

The first attempt at purchase...

You see, in my experience, car purchasing is quite possibly only slightly more enjoyable than being stretched on the rack or being given acupuncture by a someone with a serious case of tremors.

I did some research, (and some questioning of a person I work with), and determined that I wanted to get myself a Kia Rio. You may not like this sort of car, you may not agree with the choice, but it's what I wanted. The LONG term warranty combined with recent reviews and opinions indicating that they were pretty good cars, (even though they don't hold resale value too well), was a clincher for me.

I parked in front of the nearest dealership and there was a salesman standing outside. I stepped out of the car and immediately asked him with a smile, "So, you wanna' sell me a car?"

This seemed to both surprise and please him. I guess cause' it took some of the work out of it.

We proceeded to test drive one of the cars I was interested in fairly short order.

I liked it, agreed that it was a car that I'd like to purchase, and we went inside.

Then came the paperwork. It was a bunch o' goobledygop and didn't really make me all too happy to have to do it. I'd been through it before though, so no big surprises there.

Finally, we come around to the numbers game. The one where they come out with sheet of paper with a bunch of numbers on it and try to convince you that falling at the speed of gravity isn't 9.81m/s squared or that pi isn't any sort of number but actually some guy who works on concrete.

I'd checked before I went to the dealership...on their website, the manufacturers, website, etc. The price of the car was supposed to fall somewhere in between $14,315 and $14,675. The sticker on the CAR indicated least the one I saw.

They stick a sheet in front o' me with a number that starts out at $18,838. Then they take away $4,000 for my down payment, (which would have gone on my credit card), and $4,000 for their 'match' of my down payment, then they take away $500 more for a manufacturer's rebate. Somehow this leaves me at $8,838. I guess the extra $1,500 was for taxes and fees.

I find myself really frustrated. Here's a starting figure a full $4,000 plus more than the prices that are shown in all the advertisements and listings on the web.

Still, I need a car, so I'm willing to consider it.

The discussion of my trade-in begins. They offer me...$1. Yep, one, o-n-e dollar. I did some checking and even with the high mileage on my car the trade-in value is right around $1,000. I was more than willing to take $500. After a couple minutes, I said so. The process went south then. After a bit, it became obvious I wasn't going to get that amount for the trade. I decided to go back to my final option. I had a coupon for $500 off any new or used vehicle due to filling out a survey on their website prior to visiting the dealership. I was told that it wasn't applicable to the car I was buying.

Hmmm...none of the literature on either the coupon or the ad for the car indicated that was a condition. I said so. They shrugged.

SO, I give them my car for free, they charge me $4,000 extra, and the coupon I had was worthless?

I felt like asking them if they were done kicking my asterisk so I could go clean up.

I told em' that wasn't acceptable and I left.

{UPDATE: Got a call from the dealership the next day..."Are you still interested?" No, turd. I'm not playin' your games.}

The second attempt...

Took about five minutes to determine that the same held true at another location, the mark-up. I managed to completely avoid any salesmen. I might have hurt someone if I hadn't. Anyway, I moved on.

The third and final attempt...success?

I wound up at another dealership. I'd called before hand to see if they'd match the deal offered by the other place.

Sure! No problem! Come on in!

I get there. I look at one of the cars in question and immediately find that there's what I now know to be a second sticker on the car. This is, again, effectively $4,000 above the supposed retail price.

I drove the car. It drove the same way as the first one I'd driven. It functioned effectively the same.

We went inside. Then the number juggling began. Without going into the long and the short of it, let's just say that four hours later, I'd purchased the car. I'd paid just over the retail price for the thing, (by about $750), and then extended the warranty, (which was another chunk o' money BUT one that I'd planned on all along at least).

An entire day. From 9am til' 7pm. 10 hours for three visits to car dealerships to finally just give in and buy the damned thing.

It's the first car payment I've had in over fifteen years. There have been payments on the minivans to transport the kids, but none for me personally. Weird feeling. I don't like owing that money. :)

Regardless, whoever came up with the car buying process as it exists today needs to be beaten...or at least given a stern talking to.

There HAS to be a better way to do that stuff.




1 comment:

Jesse said...

Chad, I feel your pain. I absolutely loathe the process of buying a new car, probably why I drive them for a decade or more after I buy them. Nice recap of the experience !!!