Used car buyer beware.
I am once more car shopping. The last time, for the long-suffering wife, took a human gestation period. It was at least as painful as well. But at least we got the car she wanted, although I am sure we paid too much.
Yesterday we went to look at a car about 25 miles from here. It was the make, model and year I had been researching and the right color too. It was not right for us, no fault of the dealer. What was the dealer’s fault was that the car was not ready to be shown, never mind bought.
I called the day before to announce our intentions. The chirpy receptionist answered with “Good morning! Blankity blank auto-dealerships. Are you calling about our used car buy back program?”
I replied, “No.”
Long ass silence. She was waiting for me to say something, that was clear. Me, I had all day.
Finally, “Umm…how can I help you?”
“I wanna buy a car.”
“Oh! I’ll, uh, get you a salesperson.” Like this had NEVER happened before.
We will call the salesperson “Don”, becasue that was his name. I told “Don” the lot number of the car and he put me on hold. He returned with the news that the car was on the front row of the lot by the road, I must have seen it there, right? No, Don, I am in another county and will drive up the next day to see it.
“What time will you be here?” he asked.
“What time do you work?” I asked back.
“9am to 8pm.” was his response.
I thought, golly, hell is a used car salesman’s life. We agreed on before noon. Plenty of time to get the car washed and prepped. But no.
Not only was it not washed, it was filthy, inside and out. Some sort of paper strips all over the seats, floor mats dirty, a mystery plastic “thing” laying in the center console.
And the windshield was cracked. Not only had no one even prepped the car, no one had even LOOKED at it.
I handed the plastic thing to Don. He looked at it like I had given him a dead rat.
“What did this come off from?” Don wanted to know. Kind of accusatory, he was. I told him and he handed it back to me without a word. OK…
We took the car out and the LSW HATED it. Since this was to be my car it was my choice. I didn’t like it either.
We agreed to take it back to Don and tell him it was underpowered for our needs and a bit small.
I walked in with the keys and the LSW to the showroom. Don came bounding up. Before he spoke I handed him the keys and said “We don’t like it, and the windshields cracked.” The LSW kicked me in the shins.
Don demurred, saying the windscreen was no problem, they could fix that. I have done this dance enough to know that anything you tell the salesman is wrong, is no problem, they can fix that.
“The engine caught on fire and fell out, Don.”
“No problem, we can fix that.”
It’s not the dealership’s fault or Don’s that we didn’t like the car. But, even though it was a used car, it was sticker-ed more than $20,000. In these marginal times I would think the prospect of selling something for that kind of money, coupled with the fact that I drove quite a ways to look at it, would have made Don wriggle with anticipation at a possible sale. We were the ONLY people on the lot.
Back to the drawing board.