The Nightmare of Car Shopping

Yesterday and today, we have been out car shopping with Liz since her car was totaled in an accident last week. Ugh. No, we do not have a new car sitting in the garage at Liz’s apartment tonight. We wish we had a new car there, we want to have a new car there, but, no, after going to 4 dealerships in the last 1 ½ days, all we really know is there is some fine print in those ads we took in with us – fine print that is in the full document at the dealership, but not in the newspaper – that requires financing with the car company before several rebates are available. We explained right off the bat that we already had financing through our credit union and did not want Ford or Toyota financing. But, still, we had to go through the dance of the car salesman building up our hopes, only to dash them as soon as we reiterated what we said in the first place: we were not budging on that financing decision.

Yesterday, Ray, had already gotten beyond the official “We’ve got a deal” handshake for a 2014 Ford Focus for Liz when the salesman came in and said, “Oh, sorry, we’ve made a mistake. We’ll need $1500 more.” Needless to say, after a few sentences expressing disbelief, Ray, Liz and Ron left without the new car. Today, we had two occurrences where we were at the “Okay, we can make this happen” stage when we got the word about the company’s rebate restrictions.

So, now we have all agreed to just take a deep breath and regroup on car buying until we can gather a bit more information. What’s frustrating is what a racket the whole process is. If the salesman simply looked at the ad and immediately said, “No, we can’t make this happen,” then it would be one thing. But, instead, he (I didn’t see any women) has clearly been trained to keep the customer there as long as possible with endless amounts of paperwork and back and forth negotiating so that the poor customer – us – becomes worn down and finally yells, “Add whatever money you like. Just let me leave with a car!”

Why can’t someone just make car buying straight forward and simple, like buying a bicycle or a dress?

As it is, we will recharge and regroup tonight and return to battle over the next few days. Please feel free to give advice or at least your own horrible car buying experiences in the Comments section. I wouldn’t mind hearing that we are not alone in this not-so-fun-world of automobile purchasing.

We are looking for either a 2014 Ford Focus with automatic transmission and electric windows (no more extras are needed) or a 2014 Prius C.

On that note, I’m going to bed. It didn’t help that the thermometer in the car today said it was 104 outside.

Lord, Lord…maybe they will soon have a new system to replace this frustrating enterprise. That thought brings the faintest glimmer of hope.


8 thoughts on “The Nightmare of Car Shopping”

  1. We have a benefit in that area in that our son-in-law is the finance director at a dealership. Even though we don’t go there to buy our cars, we can definitely get pointers from him on what to tell them when we are buying a car, what we don’t need, etc. I don’t know if you ever watched the show King of Cars, about the dealership in Las Vegas, but he was working there at the time they were doing that show. It’s definitely a crazy business! I wish you all the best of luck in getting it done.

    1. Thanks, Pat. No, I never saw that show, but it’s fun to know he was working at that dealership when it was airing. Yes, insider info would be very helpful right now. We could use a little luck, too!

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