Sunday, August 2, 2009

How to not buy a car

(today's episode is brought to you by the number 47,582. if you like a different number better, just come back tomorrow!)

We spent five hours at a car dealership yesterday. Five long hours. It was about as much fun as visiting the dentist for five hours, which here in Texas would cost you approximately a bazillion dollars. Though they do have an attractive financing plan. I will tell you about that another time.

Anyway, here's the deal with our car:

We only own one car. It is a very nice one. Hubby has his eye on a little convertible, so we thought, hey! why not trade in our very nice car, lease a little sedan for me, and buy a used convertible for hubby.

Our hope was to walk away with 2 cars, with as little as possible out of pocket.

So far, so good. Off we went to the dealership, where we met a nice young man who I will call Mike.

Here is the conversation we would have had with Mike if we were all being honest, which is clearly not ever going to happen at a dealership. The basic details are completely accurate:

Mike: Hi there! How are you folks doing today?

Us: Fine thanks! We were just wondering ... (we tell Mike what we had in mind)

Mike: Excellent! Just have a seat here and I will have somebody look at your car. Did you have any idea how much you might be able to get for it?

Us: Do we look like complete morons?

Mike: Well yes, as a matter of fact you do.

Me: I was thinking anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000, heh heh.

Mike: Heh heh. Let me go put some numbers together for you.

Ten minutes later ...

Mike: Ok! Here we go! We will give you $18,500 for your car.

Us: Nice meeting you.

Mike: No! Wait! Oh my gosh! Your car has tires on it, doesn't it? I forgot to factor in the tires. Let me go get a different number.

Ten minutes later ...

Mike: Ok! Here we go! We will give you $26,000 for your car.

Us: That's more like it. Now, how much would a 3-year lease cost us?

Mike: Well, they're usually around $250 a month. We've got some great deals going. I'll go check.

Ten minutes later ...

Mike: We can do a lease for $220 a month, for 38 months, so you've got $26,000 minus $11,000, which leaves $15,000 towards the convertible.

Hubby: (who is very good at math) But $220 times 38 is only $8360. Where did you come up with $11,000?

Mike: Well, you've got taxes, title and license.

... (long, long conversation about the convertible hubby is interested in, which would cost about $20,000) ...

Mike: So. Let's sum this up. You guys just sign over your car to us, pay another $5,000 for the convertible, and then make lease payments of $220 a month for 38 months.

Us: But we thought the lease payments were covered.

Mike: Oh no, no! Ha! Ha! We put $11,000 towards the lease, but you've still got the monthly payments of $220.

Us: Nice meeting you.

Mike: Wait! You haven't met my general manager yet! You'll like him. Be right back.

Ten minutes later ...

Sam: Hi there! I'm the general manager! You guys look like total saps, so I'm going to sit here and talk with you until we get a deal done. Ready?

Us: ... groan ...

Sam: Great! Groaning is always a good sign. Now, here's the deal. We'll give you $26,000 for your car. You've got a total lease of $14,630 for the 38 months, which works out to $385 a month, and you'll have $11,400 to put towards the convertible.

Us: Where on earth did those numbers come from? They are totally different.

Sam: Of course they are! The first numbers didn't work, so we just came up with some new ones! That shows how nice we are! Sign right here and I'll be able to make my house payment for another month!

Us: Listen. We are leaving now. It's getting dark, and we are tired and hungry. Let's all pretend that we are going to call you on Monday, which will only happen if aliens invade our brains while we sleep.

Sam and Mike: Ok! Bye now! Have a great weekend!! It was fun!! Call us on Monday and we'll make up some new numbers for you!! Ta-ta!!



Rae said...

Those salesmen are always good at double speak. Whenever we buy a new car I feel good at the time of the sale and then when we get home I begin to think we were so stupid - how could we have fallen into their trap. It must be some sort of school they go to, to learn that stuff - sort of like politics. They hoodwink you into believing it is a terrific deal and your idea all along.

Lazy Writer said...

Car shopping is one of my least favorite things to do. I'm surprised they didn't chase you out of the store with new made up numbers!

MzzLily said...

I'm afraid I bought my current car from those guys!

Shigune Matsui said...

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Fran Hill said...

And why do they always talk so FAST, as though they're rushing you along? No, don't answer. I know the answer, sadly.

Anonymous said...

This is a process called "Imaginary Accounting" Think of a number double it, if that doesn't work, pick another number at random and double it... It works, it must, governments have been using the system for years, so it must be infallible.




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