Did last post leave you on the edge of your seat, wondering how my epic $250 negotiating battle would go? Well, as you can guess from the title of this post, we ended up buying the car, albeit after almost walking out three different times and spending four hours there. Yeah, it was intense and my armpits got really sweaty.
I showed up to the dealership Friday morning and told them I wanted $250 off their lowest price because their advertisement online said our Pilot had bluetooth installed, which I noticed during my test drive it didn’t. At first they said it was simply a marketing mistake by their reps and that they have no obligation to honor the advertisement. I told them that didn’t give me a lot of confidence in their business and that it could be a deal breaker. They ended up giving me the option to drop price the purchase price by $250, or they would install bluetooth in the car. I opted for the $329 bluetooth option so we could enjoy hands-free calling. So technically I didn’t get the purchase price to $18,000 like I hoped, but I did get it from $20,000 to $18,250 with Bluetooth thrown in the mix.
I wanted to pay with my credit card. I called Bank of America that morning and they upped my credit limit to $21,000 to cover the purchase price (taxes, licensing, etc). When the salesman asked if I would be paying cash I shook my head yes. He then said “So with a personal check?”, I said “No, with a credit card.” He looked like he was about to poop his pants. He told me they couldn’t allow that, blah, blah, blah. He had his manager come over and talk to me. I showed him the same stuff I posted here on Friday about their Visa merchant agreement. He called his manager over. We repeated the arguing process again. That manager realized he had no adequate excuse, so he said he was going to call corporate. He came back about 30 minutes later and basically said that since no paperwork was signed they would just stop the deal and not sell me the car if I wouldn’t budge on the credit card thing. Realizing I wasn’t going to get the full cost charged, I convinced him to let me put $5,000 worth of the purchase on it.
The fine print. Man buying a used car is tricky. You really have to pay attention to everything you negotiate verbally and make sure it appears that way VERBATIM on the paperwork. Our Pilot has a small alignment issue. The vehicle naturally drives straight, but the steering wheel doesn’t sit quite level as the vehicle is driving down the road. It was annoying so during negotiations I told them repeatedly if I was going to be buying the car, they would have to fix alignment. They indicated multiple times it wasn’t an issue and that it would be taken care of.
Fast forward to the financing office (yes, even when you pay cash you still have to go to the financing office). I’m given the paperwork indicating what they “owe” me. There are two things listed. 1) Install Bluetooth. 2) Check alignment. I asked the finance officer if check alignment meant “repair” alignment. I was told it does not and it only requires a mechanic to look at it. Had I not caught that one little item they would have had no obligation to fix the alignment, and I would have been up a creek without a paddle. I told the dude I wasn’t signing anything until the word “check” was changed to “repair” alignment. This lead to another 40 minute debate with the sales manager. It wasn’t until I grabbed my keys and said “This was a waste of time” that they finally caved and agreed to do the repair.
And how I probably got swindled, Battle 4:
As I was singing all of the paperwork, the financing manager offered me, like he does all clients, an extended warranty. He gave me his pitch on why this is smart for a six-year-old car. I told him I wasn’t interested. He gave some appealing reasons for why the warranty was worth my consideration (it covers wear and tear and not just breakdowns, the transmission costs twice as much to fix as the cost of the policy, etc), but I wasn’t having it. We proceeded to talk about other things like car insurance quotes online and deal with the alignment issue I described above. As everything was wrapping up, he casually mentioned that the warranty was fully refundable in the first 30 days with no penalty, and at any point in time I could cancel the warranty and be refunded a prorated amount of the policy cost.
Frick. He sold me on it. I ran some numbers on my calculator watch and decided I would pay for the longest term plan (four years / 50,000 miles) since it worked out to the best monthly rate ($48/mo). That’s right. I forked over another $2,500 (after taxes) for an extended warranty.
I went online and googled the extended warranty company and of course there are horror stories from people who say they bought the coverage and were denied service for terrible reasons. I read through the whole policy and found out that in order to keep it valid you have to change your oil every 5,000 miles or every six months (whichever comes first) and keep documented proof from the dealership of the maintenance. If you accidentally forget and drive 5,001 miles, or wait seven months before you change your oil, your entire warranty is void and they are no longer required to provide coverage in the event something breaks. I have three weeks to decide if I want to keep this policy, and still be eligible for a full refund. For that reason alone, it makes sense to at least keep the policy for the first month on the off-chance my transmission decides to spontaneously combust.
That said, the better part of me knows this company wouldn’t offer the warranty if they weren’t making money on the product. That knowledge, by default, should indicate that an extended warranty (especially a third-party one) is typically a crappy deal for the consumer. They totally sell you on the “peace of mind”, but from what I read online, nothing about these policies is peaceful as most claims are denied.
Any of you have experience with extended warranties (not talking manufacturing warranties, but third-party ones like Olympicare)? Are they as nightmarish to deal with as I have heard? I should probably cancel the warranty huh?