The Car-Guy Rant

My dear brother-in-law, PJ, is visiting for a couple of days; he’s one of my favorite people, but one who’s suffered a terrible run of bad luck lately.

A couple of weeks ago, he was rear ended mid-block by a woman on a cell phone, who 1) lied about her name, address, and insurance info, and 2) left the scene when he went to call the police. Fortunately, he did get her tag number, but it took a couple of weeks (as does anything in mid to late December) to get anything going with an insurance estimate.

Not sure what’s going to happen with the police, concerning her leaving the scene and lying about her identity.

He drove down here in a rental car, and we did a little car-shopping — okay, several hours’ worth — to find a replacement vehicle in the $4,000 range. Having found one that seemed quite suitable (a 1996 model with only 65,000 miles, in like-new condition), we came to the point of trying to figure out how to take ownership.

PJ hasn’t yet collected the insurance settlement, what with the whole holidays disruption. In theory, he has to go back to Maryland to pick it up, but the car guy desperately wanted to make a sale. PJ would greatly prefer to drive the car home and turn in his rental here, rather than drive the rental home, pick up the check, and drive back in the rental to get the car. So, car guy baited him with some story about how they could draw up a sale agreement that converted to a rental agreement if he didn’t get a check to them (probably via FedEx) within the designated time.

After an hour or so, they all headed back to the finance manager’s office. I started getting the heebie-jeebies (damn, where’s AT’s heebijeebinex when I need it?) when I saw three car goons in the glass-windowed office with PJ. After probably three inches of knit-one-pearl-one on the scarf I’m working on, PJ said he needed us in the office.

The lead car-goon, with thick lips reminiscent of the guy who played the evil nazi who faced off against Indiana Jones, started off making a speech about how they needed to finance the vehicle since it would be leaving the state, and how they didn’t have any banks willing to make loans that small, and we (hubby and I) could just write a check blah blah blah…

Yeah, right. If we wrote a $4,000 check today, there’d be no tuition for Alpha in a week or so. I’m not risking that for anyone.

The heebiejeebies got the better of me, and I just got up and walked out. Hubby handled the rest; all of my experience with car guys (save one who owns a dealership) has been exceedingly negative. When I see them team up three to one, building the strong arm tactics and pressure, I’m outta there.

I had the definite impression they were trying to do something underhanded, but we left with papers indicating they will hold the car for PJ, but without the car. I don’t know if he can get the insurance settlement sent to an office here, or if he’ll actually have to go home and come back again.

Why does buying a car from a dealership have to be such a sleazy experience?

4 Responses to “The Car-Guy Rant”

  1. on 28 Dec 2006 at 8:44 am Joel

    That’s why we bought the Saturn.

    Actually, we do our car shopping in Consumer’s reports. By the time we get to the lot, we know what we want and what we’re willing to pay for it. My lovely and talented wife bought her Vibe three years ago after settling on the Vibe/Matrix from CR and then calling the Vibe and Matrix dealers in the St. Louis area to get their prices. Pretty painless, really. But we had the advantage of being able to walk away.

  2. on 28 Dec 2006 at 11:53 am daco

    “Why does buying a car from a dealership have to be such a sleazy experience?”

    Because it is designed that way. Evidently with the exception of Saturn.

    This continues to amaze me. With the level of technical expertise and creative engineering that goes into an automobile these days, why do some of the largest companies in the country, depend on sleazy, uneducated, underhanded people to sell their products? Amazing.


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  4. on 03 May 2007 at 8:43 am Insurance

    car citizen farm…

    … 1) lied about her name, address, and insurance info, and 2) left the scene when … Conservatives more generous Comment on Farm Bill before 12/31/2006 Zzzzzzzz ……

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