Tim and I went car shopping a few weekends in a row this past month. I strongly believe that car shopping and cell phone shopping are great evils in this world because you will be screwed no matter what you choose. There simply is no good deal, if you think you are getting a good deal you are probably wrong and someone is laughing at you. Car shopping is stressful and nerve wracking and that’s why the majority of us choose to do it so infrequently and the inability to purchase more cars is only a close second.
We did a lot of research and were pretty set on a certified pre-owned Hyundai. We’d owned a Hyundai Elantra in 2004 and loved it and it lasted us many many years. Their 10 year 100,000 mile power train warranty is unbeatable so we felt confident in our decision. I had mapped out dealerships in the area we would be checking out so we grabbed out umbrellas and off we went. It was pouring which makes car shopping even more miserable than usual.
The first dealership we hit was loaded with certified pre-owned vehicles. Each vehicle had a price in the window, a spec sheet including mileage and a Carfax. After allowing us to browse in peace for about 5 minutes a salesperson came outside and asked us how he could help. We talked about a few vehicles and told him it was simply too soon to come inside for a sit down because it was our first stop and asked for his card and then we left. We felt very low pressure which we appreciated. The dealership was a good size, not too large but not too small either.
At the second dealership we noticed that only half the cars had prices and the other half of the cars were missing spec sheets. A gentleman who looked like a football coach, seriously wearing coach shorts, sauntered out to ask us how he could help. He had an act. His act was that he was confused, he had never sold a car before in his life. When we asked him about the prices and spec sheets he explained that we’d need to come in so he could pull up the information and maybe even get a manager to help him with that. I was on to his shady song and dance.
I walked in there with him but refused to fill out any information until he printed up some facts on two cars we were interested in. This confused him even more. Apparently no personal info meant no car info. So we left, but he chased us. Then he gave us some vague specs about the car model but nothing to do with that particular car that he printed out and a fake Carfax. It wasn’t a fake actually but some other brand that gives you no real information. So we left again. He didn’t chase us that time. I think his time on the football fields had long since passed.
The third dealership we visited was huge and overwhelming in the worst way. We found the used cars and right off the bat none of them had any information anywhere to be seen. The only reason you even knew they were used was that once in a while you saw a Certified Pre-Owned tag hanging in the window. No one was coming out to help us either, it almost seemed eerie. But they had so many cars we really wanted to speak with someone. So they had us reeled in, we had to walk inside and ask for a sales person.
A man named Al, who screams stereotypical used car salesman introduces himself and asks us to sit down at his desk. He launches straight into the sales pitch. He wants our personal information to which I respond asking why there are no prices or specs on the cars. His answer is that they sell so many cars it would be just another number, so why bother. I snort so loud half the showroom turns around. Now he is asking what options I need in a vehicle. I tell him I don’t like how he is doing business. I want to see prices on vehicles with spec sheets, then we’ll talk about personal info and options. He leans over, hot breath and tells me they get mad when he does it that way. I snort again. This time he offers to take us out to the lot for a good look around.
However when we get to the lot, there isn’t much to see since there are still no prices in the window. Each time we ask about a car he says we’ll need to go back inside to pull the paperwork. I’m showing my disappointment now and I start walking back in. We sit down at his desk and a new gentleman about 25 years younger sits down with us. His name is Heath. He’s a fast talker. He wants all of our information as well. I still won’t budge. He tries again with the options questions, again I tell him to take a hike. I tell him what I’m looking for and the price we’ve found it somewhere else. Can he or can he not give us a better deal and if so we want to see it.
He begins “frantically” looking through the computer. Words are quickly coming out of his mouth in a way that makes me think he is trying to confuse us or keep us off balance. He grabs a piece of paper and begins to write numbers and then shows it to us. This is my favorite part of the story, so listen closely.
He says “Now what if I could make this deal work for you, would you be willing to sign right now?” The deal in question is for a silver Hyundai Elantra. At this point we haven’t seen the car, we don’t know anything about the options, the Carfax, the mileage or even the year. We know he is offering us 7.9% interest and 72 months payment at $330 per month.
I’m in awe of this idiot named Heath. Even Tim, who would never speak up at a car dealership is raising his voice. “Sign, for what, what car? We haven’t seen any car!” Heath looks at us like we are crazy, how could we turn down this paper deal. “But this car is silver, and silver goes fast!” Now we are done. We stand up and walk out while Heath calls out after us that more than likely no one will beat his prices.
We end up back at our first stop. The Hyundai dealership called Headquarter Hyundai where we make our final purchase with much better rates than what Heath at a nearby dealership was able to offer on a car that didn’t even exist. And while I am sure “silver goes fast” meant that people buy that color more frequently than other colors, I like to tell the story that he meant that the car went fast because it was the color silver. Because that makes it that much more funny.
We ended up with a 2011 Hyundai Tucson. We’re happy with it. We feel confident in the deal we made with Keith but you know what I said about being confident in a car sale. We love our Hyundai’s though. And buying Certified Pre-Owned gave us that extra level of security.
*This is in no way a sponsored post. This is a true story. These people do exist and not just here in Orlando, but everywhere.