April 2, 2014

They might have come out ahead.

I have been shopping for a new (to me) vehicle for some time.  My SUV was a borderline lemon since day one, and during the most recent round of repairs, my mechanic basically told me to run, not walk, to a car lot and unload it before the rear-end went.

I cleaned it up, but, there are some things that you can't hide on a 10-year old car.  I knew that it was auction-bound if I traded it, and would bring a lower price from a dealer.  But, knowing all of the unseen problems made it such that I didn't feel comfortable selling it privately.  I don't want the next owner having my phone number.

I did all the modern car shopping things.  I used the internet, I searched for months.  I had a couple of salesman at different dealerships keeping their eyes open for what I wanted.  I checked out the car buying services offered through my bank, insurance company, and Costco.  Consumer Reports, Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, TrueCar, I did my research. When I found the vehicle I wanted, I  knew that their advertised price was a fair deal to start with, even giving other salesmen the opportunity to beat them, which they couldn't.

The vehicle was at a dealership about 100 miles from my home.  I took my mom with me, as I don't play the sales game, and I was fully prepared to drive both vehicles back home, if they wouldn't give me a fair price on my trade.  Heck, I was fully prepared to walk out on the whole thing, despite the commute, should they not deal fairly with me.

In the end, I got the new-to-me SUV, and traded the old one.  I was satisfied with the trade price, though in hindsight, I think they jacked up their dealer-added 'documentation fee' to make up a couple hundred dollars.  But, I left them with an empty tank and demanded a full one, so I probably made that back up.

Still, as with many major purchases, spending that amount of money causes a few second-guesses.  I wondered if I should have played it a little differently.  Maybe I should have started to walk out.  Maybe I should have employed a little more PSYOPS.  With buyer's remorse niggling at the back of my mind, I sat down at my computer to finalize the insurance changes, removing the old vehicle from coverage and adding the new one.  Just a few minutes later, I settled in to watch the late news.  And there it was, on the meteorologist's magical green screen...the radar view of the hail-laden storm system sitting right on top of the dealership I had purchased the car from.

I hope for their sake that the hail was enough to total my old vehicle, then they might actually get their money's worth out of it.

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