This hodge-podge series documents my efforts to buy a new car. It has unlimited updates. Who knows how long this shit is going to take? This is Update #4. To read the previous update, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next update, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks for reading!
The Naked Copy
I’d just made a deal to purchase a Chrysler Pacifica Limited, which I’d been told was in the process of being built in Windsor, Canada, and that the build wouldn’t start for at least another month. This is the sort of doublespeak and vaguery I’ve come to expect from car dealerships.
I was promised that after my Canuck car arrives in California, it will be delivered to my house for free, where we’ll sign all the paperwork. Then they’ll take my trade-in and haul it away. And we’ll all live happily ever after, with shit-eating grins on our faces. At least, I think that’s what they said over the phone. Or was it just my wishful thinking?
My salesman, Dick Dastardly, also promised that there would be no dealer markup over MSRP. Heh-heh, that’s the beauty of buying a gas-guzzling, gross-polluting vehicle that nobody wants these days. The Pacifica gets 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg, highway. That’s a gas hog by today’s standards. But hey, no dealer markup! And hopefully, very little wait compared with buying an electric hybrid. So let gas prices and climate change be damned!
I gave the finance department my credit card info over the phone, and put up the $500 deposit. Soon after, an email arrived with a photo of the deposit receipt. It was a tape receipt, and it was laid over the Priced Order Confirmation (POC). The POC is a document that lists a long column of prices and fees, including MSRP price, and Destination Fee.
I quickly noticed that the tape receipt in the photo was positioned so that it covered most of the numbers in the long column of prices. That left me feeling nervous. So I emailed Dick and asked him to send me an unobstructed POC, showing all the prices. I also made it clear that I wanted no additional dealer installations (such as nitrogen in tires, VIN etching, paint protection, horse cock up the ass, etc).
Dastardly’s reply was rather terse. He protested that this was a “naked copy” of the POC, and that there is no invoice or set price until the vehicle, which is in the process of being built, but which won’t begin being built for a month, is built. He said the price was subject to change by the factory, due to inflation.
Naked copy. I wondered about this strange choice of words. How could Dick call it a naked copy, when he’d used the credit card receipt like a fig leaf, to cover the column of prices? I responded by assuring him that I understood the price was subject to change, due to inflation, but I still wanted the complete, unobstructed POC, so I could have a ballpark idea of what the vehicle would cost when delivered.
Dick relented and sent it to me. And I felt relieved to see that no additional dealer-installed extras were listed in the column of prices. But I felt perplexed that no other fees were listed either, such as sales tax, licensing, registration, and all the other usual fees we get nicked with in a car sales contract.
It only showed the MSRP of $51,545, a $73 discount because the goddamned supply chain shortage won’t allow Chrysler to include power folding mirrors, and a Destination Fee of $1,596, for a total price of $53,067. For a ballpark out-the-door (OTD) price, which would include taxes, fees, and other charges, the salesman advised me to dig out my calculator and add 13%.
13%?! That would lift the price of my gas-guzzling heap to $59,965.71! I felt nervous about this, worrying about what sort of dealer extras they might be planning to stick me with, to arrive at a price like this. I wondered just how big of a horse cock they kept down at that dealership.
I decided to play hardball. We’ll see where that got me, in the next update.