Why does buying a car (which should be exciting and fun) turn into something almost as unpleasant as a root canal?
I realize car dealerships need to make money, but at the same time I also think they shouldn't constantly try to rip people off while doing it. No other purchase is so frustrating. For example: let's say I want a pair of jeans and I do a little research on the Bloomingdale's website before I go to the store to see what styles they have etc. When I get to the store they may or may not have the same pairs in stock, but they aren't suddenly $200 more than the website had them for - it's the same freaking price!
But with car buying apparently even if you've agreed to a price via email - you get into the store and it's like ohhhh yeaaaah well that wasn't REALLY the real price. Then what the fuck was it? Don't waste 3+ hours of my time!
I made it CLEAR with the email I sent to several dealers which is as follows:
I intend to purchase, as soon as possible, a Nissan Murano SL in Platinum Graphite Metallic. I am soliciting multiple Nissan dealers for the best offer, but I will immediately agree to purchase under the terms described below. If you cannot meet these terms, please send your best offer, as I will consider all offers if no dealer can meet the following proposal:
Car: Nissan Murano SL with AWD
Options: Premium Package, Technology Package, Navigation / ipod hookup, Moonroof, Leather Package
Color: Platinum Graphite Metallic (or Brilliant Silver Metallic if platinum graphite metallic is unavailable) with Black Leather interior
Financing: 60 months at 2.9 percent (your website isn’t updated with the new financing rates)
I would prefer a response by email, but I can also be reached by phone at xxxxxxxxxx. I would like to finalize all paperwork by email/fax (subject, of course, to final inspection of the vehicle at delivery).
I think that is pretty clear. I am not messing around. I already test drove the car, I have already looked at all the options and features. I am ready to buy. They don't have to do anything but agree to those terms (or make another offer) and I would agree, sign papers and come in and pick the vehicle up.
Sure I realize I am asking for less than invoice - I am looking for a deal in this bad economy. Car sales were down 46% in December - so I hope to take advantage of that.
I also know my boyfriend's brother has bought his last 3 cars completely via email/fax - so it CAN be done!
But instead here's a sampling of the responses I get (I'm also considering the RDX):
I wanted to see if you were available this weekend to come in for a test drive? I also have a couple of interesteding pre-owned and Acura Certified RDX's available now! Let me know if you are still considering.
First: I am not interested in a test drive. I've driven it. I'm all set.
Second: no mention of price. Seriously I am not fucking around. I am not coming in there and arguing over price for 3 hours while they trap you in the store. AND BTW - the fastest way to get me to NOT do something is to piss me off about it - like bait and switch me and get me in there only to raise the price by 6k from what I offer and LIE to me that - that is "invoice" I KNOW it's not. I have extensive information from Edmunds, Cars.com, Consumer Reports, and Car and Driver. I am really not that stupid to show up without my research!
Third: I am not interested in a PRE owned vehicle- did I say that I was?
Fourth: if you want my business learn how to use the spell check before sending that email.
Here's another gem:
Thanks for giving us an opportunity to serve you! However, we have not been able to reach you. Could you please contact us, at your earliest convenience, so we can better assist you.
These people did not call me so I don't know how they "tried to reach me" but I am not calling back and wasting time on the phone while they try to convince me to come in. This is the offer take it or leave it, but don't waste my time (or yours)!!
And yet another:
Thank you for your inquiry in the 2009 Nissan Murano. I have great availability on what you are looking for at competitive prices and a range of colors and trims for your convenience. I would like to provide more information on our inventory along with current prices, any incentives, and then schedule an inventory showing and discuss the final detail as soon as you get the chance. Please call me at your earliest convenience so that I may better assist you.
I'm not sure I could have made it any clearer. I am not looking for vague answers. And I am not wasting one more minute going down to dealers so they can lie to me about the invoice price.
And lastly here may be my favorite back and forth with IRA Nissan:
Your offer is not unrealistic, however we need to see your trade in person before we can provide a definate answer
What time today can you come in so we can see your Solara in person and give you an exact value?
I then wrote back and said I want to be clear on the price and other details because I am serious about the price I want to pay, and I don't want to waste your time or my time.
We have a large selection of Muranos available and a number of which meet your criteria
I entered all the information you and I discussed into our system. Your VIP number is below. When you arrive, ask the receptionist directly for a sales manager and give him this number.
I wrote back a 3rd time to clarify EXACTLY what I wanted and for the price of $30,000. I also told them I had a trade in.
It is not unreasonable, however you would have to meet with my sales manager
What time today should we expect you?
I finally go in- thinking this seems good. Mistake.
They tried to sell me the car for $34,000 WITH my trade in!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!! The INVOICE is less than that AND I know the kelley blue book rating for my car is $5500. They "claimed" they were taking $2k off the cost of the car and give me $4k for my car. They must have thought I was an idiot. I refused. Showed them our emails because they were trying to deny I made that clear up front. Oh I made it clear. Once I showed proof of the email they said "perhaps you can't afford this car and should buy an altima. REALLY? I came in for a murano and you are now trying to sell me an altima. Way to make sure I NEVER do business with you. I don't know if these techiques work on other people, but they don't work on me!