Attila said, “lets talk about this AFTER Christmas.”
Well, it is after Christmas now, and we talked. We talked all day Sunday. We talked all day Monday. We discussed. We researched. We went over pros. We went over cons. We talked about our fears… well that was mostly me talking. The conclusion is, we HAVE to buy another vehicle.
So, what kind of vehicle can we afford? Not much of a vehicle, if I’m honest. We talked about used vehicles. We talked about new vehicles. We reviewed our experiences with having our older vehicles repaired by local garages. We looked online at used vehicles at dealerships, on Kijiji, on internet car sales sites, and anywhere else we could think of. We looked online at new vehicles. It is all horrifying in my opinion.
We crunched numbers, to assess the information we had gathered about used and new vehicles, and about what our older vehicles had actually cost to keep on the road.
Our conclusion is that the cost is the same for new or used. The biggest advantage to used vehicles is that the initial outlay of cash is small. The biggest advantage to new vehicles is that they are under warranty so repairs won’t be necessary for the first number of years of ownership. When you buy a used vehicle you don’t know what baggage they are coming with, but we have found that they always come with costly baggage.
We focused on new vehicles, visiting hundreds of sites. We joined Consumer Reports to read reviews on different makes and models.
Our conclusion was that if we could find a new vehicle that would give us affordable financing, and a long warranty, the new vehicle would be the better risk.
We both chose candidates, then compared out lists. There were two makes and models we both felt were a good choice. Attila had priorities related to transporting gear to and from the camp. My priority was a decent company to deal with, particularly the service department. So I began to seek out reviews on the customer service of different dealerships, finding that there were quite a few that I would not want to interact with for the next five to seven years. I narrowed it down to a few dealerships with good ratings. We eventually chose a make and model to investigate. It has high ratings with Consumer Reports for reliability, and for customer satisfaction, as well as good ratings for all the technical things.
The next thing to consider was dealing with the sales people. This is the part I truly hate. Attila leaves this to me. So after choosing the make, the model. and the dealership we would investigate, I contacted them. They wanted personal information up front. NO. I told them I wanted information, and if I was treated respectfully while trying to get that information, then I would offer more details about myself and the vehicle I was interested in. The online chat persons were relentless in their attempts to trick me into giving more information than I was comfortable with. I believe these employees are trained to do this, it is a “get them through the door” mentality. I suffered through it, unafraid to us use the phrase, “no thank you”. Eventually I got the information I wanted, and agreed to allow a sales person to contact me.
The salesperson, having read all the chat transcripts, was wise enough not to use any high pressure sales techniques on me. I arranged for Attila and I to view several vehicles, and test drive them. I stated firmly and clearly, that we would not be entering the building, and all interactions would be outdoors, with all parties wearing masks. This was not a problem for the sales person.
We visited, and it was a challenging process, viewing and test driving vehicles in the cold. We decided on a vehicle, and began the process of purchasing it. This all took place out of doors. The sales person had to run inside, work on the paperwork, then bring it outside for us to peruse. Eventually there were forms to fill in and papers to sign. It was difficult, the ink in the pens was frozen, but we soldiered through it.
We were there for hours, and since Tank would not function if left idling, we could not start her up to sit in a heated vehicle. Of course we weren’t going to tell the sales person about cantankerous Tank, so we were in the cold for the entire time.
Finally, the whole process was completed. We headed home.
The sales person had offered to deliver the vehicle to our house tomorrow.
Later the sales manager, not our sales person, called to “clarify” a few details. This is where the process gets really sticky. They know you have signed the papers, so now they try to alter things in their favour. The first thing he did was to ask me when we would be coming to pick up the vehicle. I didn’t hesitate to tell him that he was delivering it to our house tomorrow. He didn’t argue with that, but he had to try it on. The next thing was that he told me the payments started next week. I didn’t hesitate to tell him that we were clearly told that the payments would start in three months time. He fussed around a bit, I remained silent, he eventually said, “oh yes, I see that now”. I hope there aren’t any more after sales shenanigans to navigate through. The good cop, bad cop of car sales are a pain in the ass. I have never had a good experience buying a new vehicle, not once.
So the new vehicle arrives tomorrow. The old vehicle was traded in, and a company will come with a flatbed truck in the next while, no date on that, to take it away.
The personal cost of this whole situation has been high. Neither Attila nor I have been sleeping properly for the last few nights. We are both “buzzing” with all the information to weigh, the decisions to be made, and the fear that this vehicle will not work out well, either be a lemon, or that the service department will be a nightmare. Then there is the fear that our income will disappear, jobs are uncertain in these interesting times. There is no way to tell ahead of time, not for sure, so it is a risk. This service department will be a part of our lives for many, many years, and if they do not provide the service in an honest and pleasant manner, there will be frequent challenges to tackle.
So tonight here we both sit, looking at each other… frazzled!
Update: The car was delivered, the paperwork changed to reflect the payment schedule we had agreed upon. Everything ran smoothly. They did a great job delivering the vehicle, getting the paperwork done in the great outdoors, in the snow, bringing the summer tires into our garage, putting on the new license plates, and sanitizing the car before they left us with our beautiful new vehicle. Masks were worn at all times, but we did retreat to our garage for the last of the document singing as it started to rain during the process. Hopefully there was no covid-19 exposure involved, in a few days we will know if symptoms appear, but I doubt that will happen. Of course anything is possible.
Date: 10:00 PM EST Tuesday 29 December 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.4 kPa
Dew point: -12.8°C
Wind: NW 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 24 km
“There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance [or car] salesman?”