Why A $150 Gift Card Doesn’t Make Up For The Car Dealership Screwing Us
Let me be clear: I do not feel fully qualified to write about my frustrations with corporate America, because I don’t fully understand corporate America.
What I do understand is corporate America is not designed for people like me — those at the bottom of the corporate ladder — to understand how it works, let alone how to beat the system.
Yesterday, my husband invested in a gently used car, a 2019 Nissan with less than 20,000 miles, which will make an hour’s commute easier and safer.
Online, the price of the car was listed as a little over $16,000, which came to a price of a little over $17,000 with the addition of sales tax. That’s reasonable.
What’s unreasonable is the dealership passing the buck for the $2,000+ worth of work they put in to make the vehicle more appealing to the next buyer.
That’s between the time they acquired it from the previous owner, and before the next buyer, who just turned out to be my husband, came along.
Corporate America is not designed for people like me to understand how it works.
The “optional accessories,” include theft protection, a form of LoJack, nitrogen in the tires, some sort of protection package and nearly $800 for the dealership’s own “certified plan,” which entails… I’m not even clear on what it entails. The dealership certifying the vehicle as pre-owned, I suppose, and that it’s sound.
The first question is, how are any of those accessories optional if they’re installed on the car before the next potential buyer even arrives? Once they’re installed, they can’t be removed, the salesman said. By that logic, they’re not optional.
If the person purchasing the car did not opt in to those, did not ask for those, why should he or she pay for those?
It’s understandable that they can’t be removed.
What I don’t understand is why the buyer is required to pay for things the dealership decided to do.
The process of buying a house was more upfront and straightforward.
My husband made the initial purchase of the vehicle on Friday, while I was at work. He looped me in the entire time and we decided together that it wasn’t a bad idea, and with low monthly payments, we would be able make it work.
I hope we can make it work. The last time we tried to get him a new car, it didn’t work out, and while we’re in a more financially solid place now than we were then, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling some trepidation this time.
Later that evening at home, he looked again at some of the numbers, which didn’t look like they added up. In fact, it looked like the vehicle had been financed for not quite $10,000 more than it’s worth.
Which brings us right back to — what?
So, that’s how we spent all of Saturday morning at the dealership, trying to get that figured and sorted out.
The salesman sent us to the finance department who sent us to the salesman who sent us to the finance department. All told, we spent three hours there.
Even though the majority of what the salesman said was nothing more than a cop out, he did go to the director to see what could be done for us, and that’s how we ended up with the promise of a $150 gift card, which we’ll receive when the license plates come in — and I’ll bet that entire gift card that it’s specifically to the dealership.
It doesn’t make up for anything.
Why is the buyer is required to pay for things the dealership decided to do?
$150 is a lot of money, but it’s hardly anything next to thousands of dollars.
But the salesman, who was just doing his job, went to bat for us and we accepted what little he could offer, and when we last visited the finance department, we signed a form to cancel the warranty and gap insurance, ultimately shaving a few thousand dollars off the financed loan amount.
Through our bank, we’ll also have the option to refinance the loan in three months. We’ve banked with them for years, but while we were sitting for more than an hour in the dealership’s waiting area, waiting to see the finance department for the last time, and my husband was on the phone with the bank, I felt it worth noting that I trust the bank more than I trusted the people we were dealing with yesterday. I had to wonder whether that’s typical.
The process of buying a house was more upfront and straightforward than this.
I believe we walked away with a win. But why wasn’t the process more like buying a house? Why should buying a house be easier than buying a car?
What does that — what does any of it — say about corporate America?