31 January 2012

What You See Isn't Always What You Get

It's been a disappointing and frustrating past couple of days.

I've been looking for a new vehicle for awhile, the van has gotten to the point where it still runs well, but we're holding our breath and halfway waiting for something to break. We've fixed a few small things in the past year and I'm not sure how much longer we can go without having to fix something big.

This is the first time that I have time to find a vehicle that I want and is in our price range. With the others I always had a deadline that I had to have a working vehicle by. So I'm being pretty picky and doing my research. Still, I was pretty naive when we went to the dealership on Sunday.

What I didn't research was how car dealerships do things. Things like when I figure out what we can afford I need to knock $2000 off that number to allow for dealer fees, etc. I knew that they existed, but I had no clue that they were that much!

I had been looking online and found a couple of vehicles that I liked. I submitted an interest form online to make sure the website was correct and we weren't going to waste a trip. I got a call back and the Internet Specialist took down my info, which vehicle I was interested in, and noted that I was going to have 2 small kids with me and made me an appointment. I thought that this was great!

I figured that since they had all that info things would be easy! We'd go, they'd have the vehicle pulled up, the carfax ready. Well, apparently all of that meant nothing. Take that back, it meant we waited an extra 10 min with our 2 small children while a sales rep wen to get the Internet Specialist who promptly tld us that the same sales rep would be helping us. Why did we waste the past 10 min then? Especially since she hadn't even bothered to to tell him what vehicle we were interested in or the price.

Then we had trade-in issues. Even though our van is working perfectly, except that the light is out on the odometer ("could be the light or the computer"), they would only offer me $500 for the trade-in. If I wanted to to see if the issue was a light or the computer (to see if there was a way to recover mileage) the charge would be $50 - $100. It's a gamble because if it's just the light then we're looking at over $1000 increase in value, if it's the computer then I'm out $50 - $100.

On top of all  that the sales person led me to believe that even though it was Sunday because my credit union has a partnership with the dealer we could look at my account and work everything out. Ummm, NOPE! The sales guy was just guessing. Guessed my credit score, guessed at my relationship with the credit union, guessed the APR. Guessed even though I had told him that I didn't want to talk numbers until we could talk to the credit union.

So. We sat for over an hour and half, while the guessed, and offered, we told them our bottom line, they disappeared, they came back, they guessed some more. Meanwhile I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old who just want to play in all the cars, climb the steps, and who can only eat so many snacks before they're just done and ready to go.

So after all of that I talked to the credit union Monday morning. For now the vehicle is a no-go simply because of amount we still owe on the van. We had originally hoped to pay it off with the tax return until this car that I wanted became available so I guess we're back to that plan. Maybe the new car I want will still be available, or maybe there's something better waiting for us, but either way I know what to expect from car dealerships now!

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