I Got Taken for a Ride
by Cory on May 6, 2020 2:12 AM
So... I bought a car on Sunday.
I regretted it immediately. I was a huge fucking moron who knows nothing about buying cars. This is a story of a shit dealership, a sly salesman, and how I made every rookie mistake in the book.
My old car's transmission shit itself this January and that's when I had enough with its bullshit and decided to save up for a new car. Around that time, I went to a whole bunch of dealerships and rental agencies to window shop for new cars and eventually decided on getting a newer Honda Civic model, for their inexpensive maintenance costs and reliability. And mostly because they look freaking cool. So anyway, my inbox lately has been a bukkake of dealership emails asking if Mike Hunt or Jervis Pinchmynuts IV or Joanna BigTiddyBoobenstein is interested in buying a car.
Fast forward 5 months and I see a flash sale for used car that's the exact make, model, and color that I'm looking for. And it's a really good deal. I get on the phone and explain that, no, my "brother" filled in the information and yes I'm interested in test driving that freaking civic. I sign up for an appointment for last Sunday and I think to myself that I'm ready to buy as long as the car turns out not to be a screaming metal deathtrap.
I wake up Sunday, go over to the dealership and ask for the salesman by name, like they told me to. They leave me waiting outside for like 20 minutes when some random old fuck walks out and says that he's "missing". Ok whatever. The old guy disappears again for another 20 minutes and then comes back and says he can't find the car. And then it turns out that the car was sold the day before and someone was supposed to tell me but they didn't. Anderson Honda has been kind of shitty this entire time so what's new. I'm kind of pissed and I realize that I really wanted that car. Why are so many people buying cars during the lock down???
When I get home, I have this idea that I should do a search for more of the same used car around the area, since I have the loan approval and I'm dressed. Why not. I find another one about 2k higher in price, but I figured I can check it out and try and negotiate it down to the other one's price. I drive 30 minutes down to Victory Honda. Hooo boy. Fuuuuuuuck Victory Honda. Fuck 'em. They are squarely in the cartoon stereotype sleazy car dealership territory.
I go down there and I meet with the salesman who turns out to be a really young dude and he seems really nice. I take the car out for a spin and it's working. It's also covered in dust, has a low tire pressure light on, and has small scuffs in a whole bunch of different places. I spent about 3 hours there talking numbers and getting worked over the entire time. Just pal'in around, pulling the wool over my eyes the entire time. As I would later find out, pretty much nothing he said durig this time was true. First I try to negotiate the base price down and they don't budge an inch. I should have walked away at this point (you'll hear this a lot real soon).
Next I'm trying to find out more terms and what comes with the car and he just goes hard to the monthly payment cost. Like fucking everything I ask, he leads back to "so this is what the monthly payment cost would look like". This is a classic sales tactic where you get people to focus on this number to the exclusion of other things, like the total price of the car, for instance. It's getting really annoying, especially because I don't know where he's pulling these numbers out of his ass from. Based on my own calculations of sticker price and tax, my estimated montly payments come out to less than $70 than his per month.
I finally get him to show me the fucking contract and I see that it's loaded up with options. (Ok, what's new? Really.) There's $1300 in prepaid maintenance, $1000 gap insurance, sales tax, fees, fees, dmv fees, fees whatever. And lastly, there's this measly little "non-optional" optional anti theft device add-on that's a casual $1695. Multiple times he would not remove this, as I am guess it's where the margin is. I should have walked away at this point x2.
It takes like 2 more hours to remove all the add-ons. We go back and forth over and over again, him trying to convince me that this fucking maintenance package is a good deal and I have no clue how to do car maintenance. (I don't, but FUCK him.) I stop asking about removing the theft device after like, the fifth time. Also at this point, I stopped negotiating the base price and have anchored myself 2k higher than the original deal. I guess I'm tired at this point because I'm remembering what I did and it doesn't make sense at all. We start negotiating the terms of my auto loan. He takes the paper I brought with a pre-approval to the back office where I never see it again and then swaps it for a new loan he opened so the dealership gets a commission on it. We start going through numbers and doing all sorts of bullshit about, here's the monthly payment (this shit AGAIN) if you do x amount downpayment, or x months at this APR.
I'm breaking down at this point and he's just out right saying "sign it. sign it. let's do it. sign it" over and over while I"m sitting there doing the calculations. The total price is 3k above my original budget after I've put down 4k in down payment. I have this incredibly stupid thought. "It's just 3k difference, and I need a car, so why not."
There are times in your life when you wish you could go back in time and slap the ever-loving shit out of younger you, and this is one of those times. I could end every one of these paragraphs with "and I should have walked out then and there." And I was so close to backing out, but instead I thought, man, what's another 3k?? LIke a fucking idiot.
It doesn't stop there. I get the contract and start signing it. There's a binding arbitration agreement in it and I sign it without blinking an eye. (I didn't know it at the time, but now I do that binding arbitrations aren't standard and usually done by sleazy dealerships. You don't have to sign it and if they make you do it, you should walk away). I sign this and sign away a voluntary cancellation clause.
As for the car, it's in okay condition. I didn't check under the hood and I don't know what I'd be looking at earlier, but I should have hired a mechanic to take a look at it. I'm finding more scuffs and small dents around it over time. And the shit cherry on top of this ass sundae is that the salesman made a big deal about this car being a Honde Certified Pre-Owned vehicle (meaning that all repairs are under warranty for some period of time). It is not Honda Certified Pre-Owned. It's not in the contract and it's not in the service report. It was just a complete lie and I was too distracted to verify it.
So here's the damage, folks:
+$1200 on the intended sticker price
+$1695 for the optional non-optional anti theft device (I see routinely $300 add-ons like these, but not $1700?!? I deserved to get pissed on for this amount jfc)
+$500 or so for various dmv fees, registration, and "doc" fee (unique bullshit to Honda)
Total: $5k above what I intended on a fucking USED car. I might as well have bought a new one. That's 5k I might as well have thrown into a trash fire. I'm never seeing that money again.
Here's some lessons learned:
- Come up with a price. At the very most, a tight range you're willing to go. Don't do any heavy math at the dealership
- No add-ons. Absolutely none. If you can't remove all the of them, this is a shit dealership.
- You can always negotiate price. If they won't budge, leave. It's not a good time to buy a car
- Tell the salesman to shut the fuck up if he starts talking about the loan terms and monthly payments
- DON'T sign any binding arbitration agreements. If it's non-negotiable, then leave
- Take the time to closely look at the contract. Don't sign unless 100% satisfied. LOOK AT THE NUMBERS. LOOK AT THEM. Dealers can purposely fuck up the numbers
- Don't have a car. Take a taxi, start biking, lose weight, save the environment. Fuck this stupid horseshit industry
This Thought is part of Corys Blog
This is my blog. It's the miscellaneous topic. I mostly complain here.