How Not to Buy a Car, Update #5: The Bluff

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 #5. To read the previous update, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next update (when available), CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks for reading!

The Bluff

My salesman, Dick Dastardly, reluctantly provided a Priced Order Confirmation (POC) to me, showing the MSRP and a few other charges, on the car I had reserved. But it didn’t show everything, and I wanted to know all the charges and fees I’d be hit with, once the car rolled in from the factory.

So I decided to hold Dick’s feet to the fire. I emailed six Chrysler dealerships within a 75-mile radius of my house and asked if they would commit to a detailed purchase order, signed by a manager, showing all charges and with no dealer extras, if I factory ordered the car I wanted.

I got one dealership to agree to this. Then I contacted Dick and threatened him with canceling the deal and going with the other dealership. But I told him that if he would provide me with a detailed POC, showing all contemplated fees and charges, I would consider sticking with the deal that he and I made.

Dastardly replied that with our deal, I’d only have to wait about a month for my car, because it was “In-Transit.” But if I factory ordered from anyone else, I’d have to wait about six months. So no, he wasn’t going to provide a detailed POC.

The bastard called my bluff.

He was right, because four to six months is what the other dealer told me. The fucker had me by the balls, and he knew it. He called my bluff, and since I was in no mood to wait six whole, goddamned months, I backed down.

But only for about a week. Dick’s recalcitrance stuck in my craw. One evening, feeling moody, I got on Yelp and looked up the ratings customers had given to Dick’s dealership. I nearly fell out of my chair. That’s because I hadn’t fastened my seat belt.

Nearly all the Yelp reviews, out of hundreds, were one-star. Customers posted dire warnings to run away from any deals with these “crooks.” One common complaint was that they loaded up “In-Transit” vehicles with additional dealer installations, after the cars arrived at the dealership. This added thousands of dollars to the price of the car. Then they pressured customers to pay for these additions, under threat of losing the deals they had reserved with their deposits.

That was the last straw. The next morning I got in touch with Mr. Dastardly and requested a refund of my $500 deposit. And, to my relief, he complied without a fight. Within a few hours, the money was credited back to my credit card.

So now I’m back to square one, trying to figure out how to buy a new car. Because I haven’t yet learned my lesson. I haven’t figured out how not to buy a car. Which is to not buy one.

And that’s where things stand at this moment. I’ll post updates now and then, to this ongoing saga, as I continue to wade through the shitstorm of buying a new car in the seller’s market of 2022.


Categories: business

15 replies »

  1. Finding a dealer that isn’t full of crap is tough. I don’t know how urgent it is for you to get a new car, but things will get better as the production capacity catches up to demand. I am seeing a little less component pressure these days though there are still a few hard to get items.

    Automakers, like every other company, have probably spent the last year and a half committing to material orders for 2 or 3 times forecast in an attempt to get supply. This means that they are going to get to a point with over-stuffed warehouses of parts that they are going to want to move. I don’t know when the shift will be, but I think the dealership and salesperson will have far less of a negotiation advantage soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t need a helmet, due to the metal plate in my head.

      I would have never bought the car if it was loaded with dealer add-ons. By getting the refund when I did, I just saved myself some time, freeing myself to look elsewhere for a car.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Seems like you’ve been looking to buy a car the (good) old-fashioned way. Unfortunately, you seem to also have found an old-fashioned slimy car salesman in the process.

    I recently purchased a “new” used vehicle but used more of the modern info technology and auto sales methodology to find and purchase the 2019 Subaru Forrester that had only 15k or so miles on it when I picked it up two weeks before I left California for the 2300-mile drive to my new home in Michigan.

    Overall, I was pretty happy with the way things worked out. The only part I might not be happy about is based more on my lack of knowledge and possibly experience in the whole realm of modern cars.

    My idiot ex worked for Nissan so I left all that to him over the last 30+ years. The last time I bought a car on my own was 5-10 years before that, when the major source of educational info about cars was Consumer Reports magazine. Back then, it was actually printed and bound and available for my review onsite in the reference section of my local library.

    Since I’ve owned this car for 3-4 months now, I can probably say it’s lived up to its reputation for safety, at least. What I discovered when I drove it off the lot, and which has continued to loom and grow into a larger issue, is that I still can’t figure out how to comfortably use all the “bells and whistles” and new technology that are standard features of the top-of-the-line Touring model I have. I guess I should have been more careful in what I wanted, because that’s what I got! Maybe I’ll be able to finally access the right site or U-tube videos while I’m snowed in. Actually, I might have to if I ever want to be able to drive out!

    Anyway, happy car hunting, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Subaru Forester is a pretty good car, and with the top trim, I think you’ll be very happy with once you learn all the bells and whistles. Adaptive cruise control is probably one of the best recent inventions in car technology.

      I’m still working at it, and hopefully I’ll find the car I want, soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheeesh!
    The most dastardly thing we experienced was they agreed to a price and held to it …right up to financing, where we could get that price if we went with THEIR financer at THEIR ‘free for 12 months’ then jump to a high interest rate deal.

    Liked by 1 person

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