Got a decent deal
December 3, 2018
I went through Consumer Reports online option so that I could complete as much of my car search and negotiations at arm???s length. Having all the info in writing allows me to think logically, choose exactly what I need, and compare prices, values, and features. I get anxious heebee-geebees having to go up against a salesperson and decide about anything on the spot. When that happens, i always end up feeling that I???ve been bamboozled. Mostly the Consumer Reports ???True Car??? approach worked, with just a few hitches. The first big hitch is that when you sign up, you have to provide both a phone number and an email address. There is no way on the signup to indicate one???s preference for contact, or whether there is a problem with any form of contact. (For example, I???m a teacher, and it is absolutely not OK to call me during the school day, which almost all of them did.) So, within three minutes of clicking yes for quotes, my phone started ringing and dozens of emails began pouring in, sometimes from multiple agents at the same dealership. And since Consumer Reports sends the request to three different dealers, the bombardment is from three different dealerships. It???s awful. But once I reached the callers and told them to STOP CALLING and reach me only by email, the calls slowed down. The second hitch is that once my butt was in the chair for the paperwork, they came at me with unexpected offers of all kinds of extended this and that policies, special protective treatments for the paint (I kept remembering the ???True Coat??? scene in the movie ???Fargo,??? and felt a mixture of irritation and amusement. Classic car-dealership sleaze moves.) If I had known this crap was coming, I would have refused to sit down with the paperwork guys until this information had been given to me in writing so that I could go home and read it, research it, and make a cool, dispassionate, logical decision. I ended up being talked into a $3,200 service/protection plan (???only $50 a month for five years, and you get eight years of coverage!!!), and ended up angry with them and myself. Went back a few days later to deliver my final check after receiving my outside financing, and told the finance guy how annoyed I was with that add-on. He was a bit defensive at first, but then switched tactics: of course I could decline the add-on, but I???d have to wait to have it refunded by Toyota finance. WHAT? I didn???t even take Toyota finance! No luck getting him to understand how offensive it was to have them move ahead with Toyota finance when we had an agreement that I was not taking Toyota finance, and had seven days to secure my own. Whatever. I was going to have to wait for refund of the $3,200. Then they guy came at it again; I could get this policy for $1,000 less (???our employee and family discount price???)! He talked me into that. I think ??? think, not believe totally ??? that the protection plan is reasonably helpful, given all the sophisticated electronics in my vehicle. But I???m still walking around with deep resentment of the process. In the end, I got a good car with the features I wanted, at an OK price, explained well by the internet salesmen with whom I worked. I was treated respectfully, which is important to me as a woman buying on my own. But next time I???ll work hard to head off the last-minute crud at the end, and demand to have all that info in writing before I even poke my head into the office of the bookkeeping/finance guys.