People Share Their Craziest Car Buying Experience
Whether you are buying cars for the first time or it is your second or tenth time looking for a used car for sale, each time the one thing that remains common is the excitement and thrill. No matter if you are buying a cheap car for sale or investing heavily in a brand new shiny model, no one can take away the happiness of buying a car thats for sale from you.
But of course, the experience can be short-lived! We are talking about some of the craziest deals while purchasing a car that has resulted in you buying a wrong car, a car for much higher price and sometimes even not being able to buy a car at all.
Such bitter car-buying experience, like the ones shared below, can put you off for some amount of time but not for too long. Because we also have some really beautiful and heart-touching experiences of people who bought the cars they always wanted to by hook or crook.
Cars are loved by everyone and owned by almost anyone. So, if you are looking for some craziest car buying stories – we have some good, some bad and some downright ugly tales for you.
Just Like Driving In A Cave
Review from an experience long ago, but it still sticks with me and I was reminded of it the other day.
Summary: the sales guy who first walks up to you is the one you’re stuck with.
About six months before they came out, I decided I wanted an FJ cruiser. Signed up for the FJ forums, listened to all the rumors, got more and more excited. From the forums it sounded like Longo was one of the good places to order one and they were taking early deposits. So I drove on out there.
The first vulture on the lot to walk up to me, is the one I got stuck with, and he was an idiot. I’ll call him “Salesdorkie”. I knew far more about the truck than he did, and I’m certain I knew more about selling cars than he did. After asking around, he figured out how to take my deposit. Tried to talk me into a trade right then and there (no, I don’t have a new car yet, I’m not ready to have you rape me on the old one, and I’m planning to sell it myself anyway). Told him specifically that I wanted a manual transmission in yellow or blue.
Later, on the forums, I learned that there was an ‘FJSales’ guy there who was great to work with, knew what he was doing, and so on. I called him and told him that i wanted to be sure he was my salesman when it came time to actually buy the car and that I did NOT want to talk to Salesdorkie ever again.
Two months later, the FJs started to show up. And a day or two later, I get a call from Salesdorkie telling me my car is there and ready. So that evening the wife and I headed down there (so I’d have someone to drive the other car home). Salesdorkie is the only guy there who will talk to me. So, fine, we get in the golf cart and head back to their parking garage.
The parking garage was dark. There were two models he could sell me – a black one and a bruise-purple one. Both were automatic with other options I didn’t want. The manual Yellow or Blue ones might take months to get because people (like me!) had pre-ordered them. Oh, and I could test-drive the vehicles, we could only start them and drive them in and out of the parking space.
Sitting in the car, pissed off for wasting my time, I discovered that the visibility was utterly awful – like driving through a cave (being in the darkened parking garage can’t have helped!) The back seat was like the black hole of Calcutta. The rear cargo area was tiny (and had a nasty-ugly optional speaker system that I didn’t want), and overall it just felt cheap and I wasn’t willing to pay full retail for something I didn’t want. And my wife hated it.
Asked for my money back. Two days later, got it back (one single star for that, and because I can’t give zero stars). Called their “FJSales” guy and explained the issues. “Is there anything I can do to fix this?” Too late now.
Drove down to Land Rover two days later and bought a low miles, pre owned Discovery instead. They treated me reasonably and professionally and I got a great deal – about 2/3 of what I would have paid for the FJ for a far better vehicle.
This is one of those places that any time I drive by I give them the finger, and I sneer pretty much every time I see an FJ. Way to build customer loyalty, Salesdorkie!
License? Check. Logbook? Check. Insurance? Oops!
My first car.
A month after I passed my test and received my licence, I was GASSED! I wanted to exercise my newfound driving freedom as soon as possible, and I needed a sweet little cruiser to do so in. So I searched.
I found a great looking little green Rover 200 1.1, and £600 got me alloys and an electric sunroof and windows. I was excited, even if I had to travel to Nottingham to pick it up.
Called the dealership and they said yes, the car was still available but (sales drivel) might not be for long. I had been saving up as much as I could and went right in with a small holding deposit, telling them I’d be up there on my day off to get it.
Fast forward to that day, I had gotten an associate to come with me as it was my first time buying a car, and we went all the way up to the dealership in Nottingham. The guy there pointed me in the direction of the car of my…interest, said it was fine to go check it out. So I went ahead, took the key and entered the car. Ahhh, that new…old car smell. It smelt of burning wires. I put the key in and looked up at the sunroof. Reached up to touch it in awe…and the headlining fell right off the ceiling and sat on my head. I pushed it back in and pressed the button for the sunroof. It opens part way and then absolutely died (it was raining so this was inconvenient). I checked the starter. The car wouldn’t start. Battery was drained. The dealer put a charger on and told me not to stop until I got back home, which was a long motorway drive. I should have left the car there and walked after these few red flags, but I was infatuated as it was my first time, it took me under. So I paid the man the money and we began the drive back to London.
To be fair, the car operated well enough to make progress smooth. Until we hit traffic on entry to London… The clutch started to fail and I kept stalling when trying to move. And then, just then, blue lights started to hit my rear view mirror really hard. I looked back and stared right down the grille of a police patroller, the officers gesturing me to get off the carriageway.
I parked and switched off the engine, and they sauntered up to my window and asked for my licence. I provided it. Logbook? Provided. Do I have insurance? Oops.
I had been so involved in trying to drag this hunk of metal back to my place that I had forgotten that, earlier that year, the law had been changed to stipulate that a car could not be owned or driven without cover on public highways. I did rectify this on the spot and bought a policy, but the officers still took away my car at Bromley-by-Bow and we had to walk back to the pound, which was in Charlton (some distance away) to try to retrieve it, only to be told that I needed physical proof on paper that I have a policy active.
That was frustrating, but I’m not done yet.
The next day, I was supposed to be on shift at work. Got to work early and explained what had happened to my manager (the best dude in the world!) who told me point blank to go get my car, no matter how long, but keep him updated. I went back to the pound with my associate and proof of insurance to collect my car. Eventually I was successful (though I missed more than half of my shift), and dropped him to his house before returning to work. Locked the car by the door and the whole metal end of the key fell off. Thought nothing of it then and just sellotaped it back (don’t judge me, I was a total noob back then), but it made it tough to start the car to get home. Driving up the hill to my place, the car overheated and died. So I had to push it up against the curb, leave it parked and walk the rest of the way home.
Went to the car the next morning to check it. It started. Took it straight to a nearby mechanic who told me it would probably cost upwards of £2000 to fix all the problems with the car. I opted not to go there and ran the car for the rest of the time I had it, even through all the failures, faults and inconveniences. It lasted a month. After which, it snowed, and the car froze to permanent death, so I sold it for scrap for a mere £80.
I’m some kind of Financial Wizard Myself
I bought a 5.0L Mustang back in ’86. I was 23 years old, just started my career (about a year into it), had a checking account since I was 14 and a credit card since around 20. I was also inexperienced with buying from a dealer, and I’m sure I looked like a great mark.
And in many ways, I was.
I also brought my four-cylinder Mustang in for trade.
I took my trusty HP-41CV calculator to help me figure out financing terms. I see the sticker, they tell me the out the door figure, and I make an offer. I dunno, maybe a few grand lower than the price. Of course, I’m in love with the car, manual 5 speed transmission, T-Tops, premium sound, it was a nice car. They left it out front so I could drool on it while the sales guy discusses matters with the manager. Dunno why it took damn near a half hour, but it took forever.
So, the salesman comes back and says, good news, even though you have no credit history (pure BS), we’ll take a chance on you.
WTH? “Take a chance” on me? I’ve had a credit card for a few years, etc., my credit was spotless and shouldn’t have even been an issue. I wanted to bury my foot up his back.
Then he slides a piece of paper over where the manager supposedly wrote down his offer. Big smiley face, words “You Win!” under that and then gave me how much my monthly payment would be. Doesn’t actually tell me what the price of the car would be.
I’m suspicious, this payment is a lot higher than I anticipated. Plus, they aren’t revealing what the total price would be.
So, I plug in the payment, interest and term into my calculator (I had a program ready to go, this was fairly unusual to have back in ’86) and the principal comes out HIGHER than the out the door price. This is “winning”????
I blow up at the sales guy, threaten to walk, if I can only find out where they hid my trade in and get my key and license back.
Sales guy acts like I’m some kind of strange wizard because I’m able to figure out the price they were offering when they weren’t actually outright telling me the price. He says there must be some mistake and heads back to the manager. Another friggin half hour. Comes back with a new payment, I run the calculations again and hell, they haven’t even knocked a grand off. I’m at the verge of my patience the whole day. I should have walked, but these guys were good at keeping one hanging.
In the end I bought the car for a price that I finally agreed to. They make a big deal about taking a picture of the new customer and the car and make a calendar out of it. I’m barely smiling from being pissed at being yanked around all day.
Anyway, afterwards I meet with their finance guy. He’s doing hard court press on extended warranty.
I’ve experienced other people going through extended warranty (this is in the 80’s, wasn’t bumper to bumper, etc.) where each time I took my 4 cylinder Mustang in for warranty work, people were arguing that their extended warranty should cover their air conditioning (or choose any issue that isn’t engine or transmission related) failure. Nope, extended warranty only covers drivetrain.
I’ve witnessed many customers taking it in the shorts thinking their extended warranty covered their problem. I quickly realized back then that the extended warranty was a scam to allow Ford to make easy money. Guess how often the engine or transmission fails in the first five year life of a car (or under a fairly low mile count).
So, with the full court press on the extended warranty, I decided to deflect (because when I said no, it wasn’t enough and he pressed harder). So I said I’ll put it off and get it later, as the car is costing me a fortune up front. The guy tells me it’d be cheaper to add the extended warranty to the current loan rather than make extended warranty payments over time. This intrigues me (the math), so I ask how that can be. He says it would take a semester of college economics to explain.
I mentally flip him off and I tell him fine, I’ve had three semesters of college economics (not unusual for engineers), please explain.
I still figured it out on my own on the spot, had to do with the fact that the principal gets paid down a little earlier and thus less interest paid. I still refuse the warranty, especially after being insulted so many times that day.
Problem was, I really wanted that car. It was really nice and hauled piece.
I should have walked.
Just Give Me A Brake!
It was my first car that I owned.
Now I did not buy this car, in fact it was a 4×4 Chevy Blazer. My parents got it for me for a graduation gift, and at first I thought I was so lucky to have such caring parents that they would buy their son his first vehicle. That was my initial reaction. Until all the problems started happening.
The first thing that I initially noticed was on the bottom of the vehicle everything was all rusted. I do mean EVERYTHING. I do not know much about cars but I knew that rust on every single part of the frame and the muffler was so corroded I knew it would need to be replaced.
The first thing that happened was the car needed a new radiator and was leaking antifreeze everywhere. Causing the engine to overheat as I drove. A new radiator was expensive and I barely could afford it. So I gave what money I could to my parents at the time and they took care of it. It was more than $1000 right off the bat after my first month of owning the vehicle.
The shady car dealership that my parents bought the car from offered to repair it for a couple hundred less so my parents took it there. This was an awful vehicle that I already was unhappy with because of an immediate problem it presented and it had to sit for 2 weeks with their mechanics.
Things went ok for a little while, until I noticed that my brakes were starting to act all weak. I would have to press the brake down fully to the floor in order to make the vehicle stop. Turns out one of the brake lines came loose and started leaking brake fluid. I almost went right through a busy intersection with my youngest sister in my passenger seat. I got it towed back to the shady dealership and they said they would take care of it. It cost $300 for them to take care of it.
When I got it back, the car’s brakes were so weak it felt undriveable. Turns out only one of the brakes worked. This time we went to a different mechanic because I did not trust the shady dealership mechanics. Thankfully it was only a minor fix that cost less than $50 and he said I would be good to go.
Everything is fine for a month until a brake line comes loose again. The culprit… one of the stupid mechanics at the shady dealership put Teflon tape on the break line in an attempt to fix it. The person who found it knew that it was a few months old as the tape had to give away over time. So it could not have been this new mechanic and he must have just glanced over it. I was so angry with this dealership that I told my parents what I found and to never go to them again. And I don’t think we ever did.
Some of the other repairs that needed to happen: a water pump, a brand new starter, the battery had to be replaced 3 separate times, all tires needed to be replaced twice, all the brake shoes needed to be replaced, the catalytic converter needed to be replaced (but never was), my vehicle failed inspection 2 out of the 4 years I owned it including the final year because it was too much money to make the necessary repairs for what the car was worth.
This was the worst experience I have ever had with a car ever. It was my first car even. I learned more about cars through the numerous problems it had. I ultimately ended up scrapping the car for a mere $230 when it failed to start up, which was nothing compared to what my parents and I had to pay for repairs.
Just Have It Back Already!
My worst car buying experience is actually a bitter one as it was the 1st time i purchased a car. My mom told me about a new dealership which opened up in town not too far from the city center. She stated that she saw a little red mini which stood out to her. My mom advised me to go and have a look and get more details about the car. I went to the dealership in my spare time and asked about the car. The dealer at first seemed to be very forthcoming and told me i could take the car for a test drive, which i did. i fell in love with the car and wanted to get it straight away. I went through several finance options and found one that suited my monthly budget at the time. I filled out the paperwork and drove off with the car in June 2018. Skip to a couple months later i noticed that the hood (bonnet) release button had been snapped. I took it straight back to the dealer who advised me to leave it with him and his mechanic would get it sorted.
A few hours passed and I collected the car and the release button worked like a charm. A month after i started to notice that my cars engine light came on. I went back to the dealer and explained this. He told me to leave my car and the mechanic would have a look at some point during the day. I came back towards the end of the business hour and asked if the mechanic was able to find out the problem. The dealer advised me that the mechanic was busy and apologized for him not looking at my car as promised. So I rearranged a new date to bring my car back for the mechanic to look at the engine light. I came back later on the rearranged date with the car and asked if the mechanic was able to look at the car. Once again I was told that he hadn’t been able to view my car as he was repairing a few other cars ahead of my arrival.
I was getting a little fed up with the messing around that I messaged the dealer a few days later stating that They could have the car back regarding the messing around I had endured. The dealer promised me that the car would get looked into on the next available booking. Once again i rescheduled for the car to be brought in and be looked into. The mechanic finally got around and said that it was a system error one wouldn’t need to worry. Still a little naive about the information given I accepted his response and left with my car. Less than a week later the engine started to make noise. I brought it back to the dealer and stated that if this problem isn’t fixed i would give the car back and we can call it a day. The dealer wasn’t impressed with the abrupt statement but he was happy to have a look at the car one more time.
I decided to inform the finance company regarding all the issues I had with the car with picture evidence as well as a diagnostic report and bank statements regarding fuel consumption as this was one of issues with the engine. Put it this way the Finance company decided to do an 8 week investigation regarding the matter. This took place early October and concluded the first week of December 2018.
The finance company found that the car isn’t faulty in their eyes as the dealer was able to find and provide receipts regarding ‘’Minor fixes’’ to the car.
I wasn’t happy with the outcome and now i have raised the outcome of the 8 week investigation to the Ombudsman and hopefully they will have a better outcome.
PS: Please make sure you do your research when purchasing any car. Ask question after question towards the dealer about the vehicle you’re about to purchase.
If you’re not sure about the vehicle – ‘’DON’T BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I Cannot AfFORD This!
I bought a brand new Ford Excursion in 2000. It was a great vehicle. The salesman quoted me a price I couldn’t beat anywhere. The diesel 6.0 engine got 21 mpg highway and +18mpg in town. An 18 wheeler totaled it at a four lane intersection. The vehicle saved the lives of my two passengers and myself. I wanted another one.
I then bought a 2004 Ford Excursion with the same 6.0 Diesel engine and pretty much loaded. That vehicle was towed to the Ford dealership more than all the other vehicles I ever owned! Everything in it broke twice. One short of being a lemon. The dealership would not make any kind of deal to help with the trouble I had with that vehicle. I talked with the state and regional representatives for Ford without any success. I have since talked with some mechanics that pulled the heads and installed larger head bolts, removed the EGR system and drove them 400,000 miles or more. I liked the large size, the diesel fuel price was just above the gasoline price because the government raised the tax on a gallon more ( $0.184 on gasoline vs $.244 on diesel). This second vehicle got 5 mpg less than the first one. It seemed to have less power and always something going wrong with it. At 100,000 miles I traded it for a Toyota and haven’t wavered since.
Thanks To My Hubby!
The junk mobile that my then husband fell in love with.
The owner took us for a road test and I thought I heard a funny noise from the engine. The idiot bellowed that I didn’t know anything about cars. It’s fine and of course the owner agreed. From the moment we bought it, it made that same funny noise and it spent more time in the repair shop than in our driveway. And only a fool would find the worst mechanics to rob us blind. One said it was a bad carburetor. Another said the wrong carburetor was installed. One told us someone installed the carburetor upside down. As much as I didn’t know cars, I knew we were being lied to. I asked my dad to recommend a good mechanic. The guy opened the hood and said omg! After going over to the car, he asked how much money did we pay for this lemon. $2500, I answered. He said you don’t have 2500 pennies worth in this car. Didn’t you wonder about what was making that banging noise. How did you know it was making a banging noise, stupid husband asked. He showed him some part of the car – it wasn’t getting oil. And how many carburetors did you buy? Oh, a few. Did you get the box the year came in? No, why? Because this carburetor is older than your car. You were getting charged for new parts and getting used. Needless to say, I was a bit angry. I didn’t know much about cars, but I sure knew an idiot when I saw one.
What happened to this hunk of crap? Well, we got it fixed right at last and were wondering what to do-keep it or sell it? It just parked right around the corner-and someone stole it. It worked great for someone else!.
Lasted Less Than A Day!
My car broke down on the way from the dealership to my home.
I went to buy a beautiful Mercedes C63 AMG from a Benz company dealership in Southwest of England.
The car had around 4k miles on it and was beautiful. Drove very well with all boxed checked. I decided to buy the car, sorted the paperwork and drove it back home that was around 120 miles away.
The car broke down half way through to my home with loads of smoke and wouldn’t start, in the middle of motorway (freeway).
I rang up Mercedes recovery who recovered the car and took it back to the dealership. I got a courtesy car to drive home. All in all a different experience but a shame I lost a day of my time.
I then spoke to the dealership, rejected my car for a full refund. They honored this and gave me a full refund.
PS: UK has a law for consumer rights that applies in cases like this second hand car purchase.
Surprise!! We Don’t Want Trashy Cars!
Back quite a long time ago there was a used car lot in Los Angeles that ran a lot of ads. They specialized in 4wd vehicles, trucks, etc. and seemed to have low prices. My wife and I went there in response to an ad they had that was too good to be true. So we asked about that Suburban and the salesman showed us more expensive ones instead. We asked again about that and he said “We do have that out back, but it’s rough.” It was a torn apart rustbucket – that’s what it was.
So we looked at some other vehicle and were going to test drive it, but the car wouldn’t start. Imagine their surprise that we didn’t want to buy it. So someone higher up, a manager, maybe even the owner, came over and right in front of us said something to his salesman, and he said we didn’t want that car, so he flat out said “well sell them that other one”, referring to a different car we didn’t want. It was unreal that he said that in the tone he used right in front of us.
Anyway, the whole lot of cars seemed to be poor cars. And they seemed like sleazy idiots. We left.
What Great Hospitality!
I walked into a Ford dealer once and was pretty interested in a 4×4 costing about 30K, which was then high-end. I was nicely dressed, an ideal customer and ready to buy.
I got in the car I was interested in, picked up a brochure, tried to figure out what options I’d like etc. I swear I was there for twenty minutes with three or four sales people sitting on their back looking at their computers. Not one approached me, so I dropped the brochure on the desk of one of them and walked out with my money in my pocket.
Would You Like To Have It? Because We Don’t Serve It!
We wanted to buy a VW Sharan as a family car or VW T6. At the shop the guy told us we cannot drive it right now, but they will call us later. They never did. After calling VW-Support they wrote me an Email they would like to help us buy VW Sharan. As I wrote them I would like to try it and they replied they do not have any free.
I was really shocked so I went to SEAT instead and wanted to drive the SEAT alternative (Alhambra) which is basically the same car. We could drive it but only diesel, but we wanted gasoline. I called SEAT support telling them I would like to drive SEAT Alhambra gasoline so they opened a ticket for me. After two weeks someone called me, asking if I would like to drive SEAT Alhambra gasoline. I told them yes and they told me they are sorry but they do not have any car with such a configuration. So I decided to try diesel instead and finally ordered gasoline. I found it ridiculous.
The delivery should be “only” in 6–10 Months. I called them and asked if everything was okay. After 5 Months I got an email from the dealer if I want the car. I just wrote him back without any formalities “that’s why I signed the contract”. He told me he does not have anything. I just told him if he can give me this information in written form and I am buying another car. I was really angry. My wife wanted to buy a used car. But after a few calculations I decided to buy a new one. We had about two weeks before our 1st kid should be born. After a few days they told me my car is ordered and will come in two months and I was surprised it really came.
Well it was not really a very bad experience but it was a car for about 35 000 EUR so I would expect another approach.
Sue You In Court!
In ~2003, North Central Ford of Richardson Texas agreed to sell me the lst 2004 Ford GT that they got, at MSRP. That was going to be ~$150K. At first, I had to explain to the Sales Manager what it was, show him the first picture of it that he’d seen, and a picture of the Prototype at Pebble Beach in 2002. He said he figured I was a legit buyer because I went there in my BMW Z8, a comparably priced limited production car, that he did actually recognize.
On my 2nd visit, I got the Sales Manager to sign a 1-page (3–4 sentence) agreement letter. Afterwards, I dropped in the dealership to see him about every 90 days to follow up on the car’s highly anticipated delivery, and to remind them of our agreement, which he always acknowledged verbally. On two such visits, I brought along a car-guy buddy as “witness” to our agreement. Some of these meetings were simply quick meet & greets in the hallways where the terms of my deal were discussed briefly.
In late ‘04, when I became aware that the 1st cars were being shipped and in transit, I went by the dealership again, for about the 5th time, but I was told that the former Sales Manager no longer worked there, so I asked to see the new Sales Manager, and someone took me upstairs to his office.
I made the new Sales manager aware of the details of the deal I’d made with the dealership before he worked there, and he said “well, that’s BS. There is no way we’re gonna do that. That car is all over the press. We are going to sell that car on EBay Motors for $300K.” I reiterated that we had an agreement in writing signed by his predecessor, and, at his request, showed him a copy. He read it and said “Well, the agreement says what you said it does, but we ain’t going to do that.”
I said “Well, you leave me no choice but to pursue this by other means.” and he said “Good luck!”. As I turned to walk out of his office, I turned back briefly and said “I assure you, luck won’t have anything to do with it.” (I couldn’t resist)
I found a young freshly-minted SMU JD-grad lawyer, and when the car showed up 2 days later, my lawyer filed a lawsuit and got a judge to put a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the car. It prohibited the dealership from offering it for sale, removing any of the shipment protection materials, dis-allowing anyone (including their employees) from driving it, until further notice. Even the mechanics in the service department couldn’t put a wrench on it.
I went up there, and went to the service department where the Service Manager let me come in their shop in the back and look, but not touch. This was the 1st or 2nd Ford GT delivered in the DFW metroplex. This was a big deal. There was a story on the cover of the Dallas Morning News business section.
There were dozens of people back there in a service bay, ohh-ing and awe-ing, including a new car salesman that didn’t know me. I told him I was ready to pay cash at MSRP, but he said that “the car has a little legal cloud hanging over it” but as soon as that was cleared up, he could sell it to me for $240K, and wrote that number on the back of his business card without even writing down my name. The car had the TRO court order taped to the driver-side door glass.
The judge in this case made us go to mediation before it could go to trial, and so me and my young lawyer met with the recommended licensed mediator (a former Dallas judge) and the dealership brought in 2 suits from the headquarters that owns the dealership – Sonic Automotive of Nashville, TN (same guys that own the Texas Motor Speedway Indy/NASCAR track in Fort Worth), not to mention owning about 200 other car dealerships. They claimed to be representing the 2nd biggest car dealership company in the nation, after Auto Nation.
After polite introductions in the main conference room, the parties were situated in separate conference rooms, and the mediator started playing shuttle diplomacy, going back and forth between us, giving the other party’s argument and pushing for a settlement. At one point she told me and my lawyer that they knew I had high-end cars, and at trial they would show that I was an “opportunist, not a genuine Ford product buyer, and they would characterize me as just an exotic car flipper hoping to profit unfairly”.
I told the mediator to tell them that my rebuttal in court would be: “I have an 11 year old Jeep, a 6 year old BMW, a 4 year old BMW and a Yukon Denali. Furthermore, I haven’t sold but one car in the last 5 years. But at trial, and I will insist on a jury, I will characterize them as … car dealers … and as redundant as it may sound, dishonest ones at that. And I will make it stick.”
Suddenly it became a price discussion. I agreed unilaterally to add $10K (good faith, for a total of $160K), but they insisted on the $300K number. Then, I let them know that they had quoted $240K to me, and I could prove it. We went back and forth on whether or not that was a bona fide offer, and I then provided more information – that $240K was also what they quoted a friend of mine who went by to look like I did but later in the day. He would be called by me as a witness. They caved, and agreed that $240K was their “best & final” asking price. But I rejected the new offer. I wasn’t done with them yet.
After a few back and forth rounds about how rock-solid my MSRP deal was, they offered a cash settlement of $20K for me to just abandon my lawsuit and walk away. I said “Tell them no, and that if I see them again, it will be in a downtown Dallas County courtroom”. The mediator tried to talk me out of taking such a hard stand, but carried the message to them anyway.
She came back in about 10 minutes and asked if we could agree on a cash settlement somewhere in the middle, and I said yes, of course, but it would have to be smack dab in the middle between my best offer of $160K and their best asking price of $240K. In other words, we were $80K apart, and if they want to write a check for $40K, I’ll go away and abandon my claims to the car. Otherwise, I’d pursue my rights to buy the car for the $150K list price in my 1-page agreement.
The mediator came back and said we had a deal, and we signed a settlement agreement that they were able to prepare quite quickly. And two hot-shot Nashville lawyers went home with their tails between their legs, probably more concerned about catching their flight.
Three days later, I got a $40K check, and paid my lawyer $6K for about an hour of prep and 2 hours of an arbitration meeting that had left his head spinning.
And literally the next day, Ford recalled all the Ford GTs nation-wide due to upper-A-arm cracks, so the initial Ford GT owners had to put their brand-new cars back in the shop and wait about 6 months to get them retrofit with yet-to-be-designed beefier A-arms.
That was the best car deal I ever did. No tax, no title, no license, no insurance, no gas and a nice financial result for me (and my new lawyer buddy). I bought a 1/18 scale model Ford GT that’s on my trophy shelf, with the Sales Manager’s business card tucked under its tiny little windshield wipers.
Is that crazy enough?
My Sweet Mustang Story
My very first car.
A 1968 Ford Mustang.
It was parked in the driveway by my buddy’s house and he called me as soon as he saw the For Sale sign on it.
With some money saved up, I decided I’d knock on the guy’s door and make him an offer.
The car was immaculate. He was the second owner of the car, had bought it from a woman who kept it in her garage, and decided to give it a fresh paint job… but had never driven it – he was too tall.
I’m 6′4″ and he maybe had a half inch on me.
I sat in the driver’s seat fearing the worst. It was perfect.
He then pointed out that the red paint job was done to cover up the original color: Pink.
Seller: “Yeah, rumor has it that Hugh Hefner bought playmates of the month a special order pink Mustang or something.”
Me: (in my best Keanu Reeves voice) “Woah.”
Then we got to the price.
He wanted $3500.
I had about half. So I’d need a loan.
All the way home I thought about that car, about how long I had been bumming rides off of friends, had girls I was interested in driving us to parties, always feeling like the Beta in the passenger seat.
This car was a game-changer and so I gave my Mom and Step-Dad the pitch of a lifetime.
They loaned me the money, set up a payment schedule, and even used our brand new laser printer to create loan notes to keep track of my payments to them.
I paid the money, bought the car, and immediately went cruising through downtown San Jose on a Wednesday night – not much action – but I didn’t care.
It was the beginning of something special.
About a year later I decided to go back to school and give basketball a shot. To do that, I had to quit working. My family was excited that I’d decided to re-enroll and pursue my passion.
But according to the bank of our home, I was in default.
Nothing was said. To me, it was one of those unspoken understandings that they would not enforce this loan until I was back working again when school was out.
I was wrong.
After about 6 months of missed payments, and some car trouble I didn’t have the money to fix, things came to a silent climax. While I was out of town visiting my Dad, I came home to find that my Mustang was gone.
I assumed it was stolen.
I charged into the house, screaming, “someone stole my car!”
My brother had had his car stereo stolen 3 times in front of our house, so this wasn’t outside the realm of possibility.
And that’s when my Mom and Step-Dad told me the news.
Mom: “We sold the car.”
I was experiencing one of those moments of extreme shock where vomiting or sobbing are equal options.
Step-Dad: (holding up the laser-printed loan notes) “We wanted to help you by loaning the money but we also thought you would be responsible to pay us back.”
There was a smattering of reasons. There was a panicked plea for another chance, but my 1968 Ford Mustang had been sold to the pastor of their church.
At that point, and this will seem a little weird, I felt like a cowboy. Like one of those characters that had something taken from them and would ride across state lines, even if it took 10 years to get it back.
That’s exactly what I’d do.
I had no money, I had no job, I was teetering on the edge of school, and I was still living with the people that sold my car away… but someway, somehow, I knew I’d get that Mustang back.
I decided to write a letter to the pastor.
I explained the entirety of the situation. I gave him the pitch, I explained the meaning behind the car and the vindication, or we’ll call it a life lesson, I’d get if he sold it back to me.
He wrote me back.
Whether it was because he had done some work on the car or because he figured I’d never actually try to buy it again, he told me he’d sell it back to me.
So I went back to working full time with a singular focus: Bring the Mustang home.
After 6 months, I scraped the money together, got a loan from a real bank, and showed up at his door to get my car back.
It was in shambles.
Although the car was running again, the original interior looked like it had served as a homeless shelter, or a chicken coop, or both.
But it was mine, again, and nothing else mattered.
That car was my daily driver when I first started my career with Arthur Murray. It was the first car I drove when I took my dance partner out on our first date. She later became my girlfriend, my business partner, and my wife.
The Mustang was in pretty bad shape compared to when I first bought it. After some engine trouble, it had been “put out to pasture”, ironically, at my Mom and Step-Dad’s house.
Then a couple of guys tried to steal it. My Mom called me in the middle of the night and we had it towed to our home the next day.
My wife decided, as a surprise for Christmas, to have the car completely restored. It was delivered back to me on Christmas Eve and looked better than ever.
Buyer Like No Other
In 2002 I stopped by the Porsche dealer in McLean, VA because they had a 911 twin turbo for sale out front but it was silver with red interior and automatic. I was just about to get back in my car when a salesman approached me and asked if I saw anything I like. I thanked him and said “No” I was looking for a 911 twin turbo in silver with black interior and a 6-speed. He said “Well, come inside with me and let me see if I can track down what you are looking for.”
We walked through the double glass doors and there on the showroom floor was a meridian silver twin turbo with black interior and a 6-speed. It was beautiful. I laughed at his tactics and said “I’ll take it!”
Four hours of negotiations and paperwork followed. I wrote them a check for $8,000 and the $128,600 car was mine for $1,999.97 per month. They didn’t want to give me what I wanted for my trade in that I was driving, a 2002 BMW M3 convertible euro-spec car. I told the sales guy that I would leave the car there and give him the keys and in 7–10 days someone would approach him and hand him a check for $50,000. The sales guy laughed and said “yeah, good luck.”
Seven days later the car sold for $50,000 on eBay and the buyer handed my sales guy a check for $50,000. The sales guy thought it was a joke and called me. He said “I have a guy here who just handed me a check for $50,000 and wants the keys to the M3. I gave the sales guy my FedEx account number and he sent me the check. Before the sales guy hung up the phone he said “I’ve been selling cars for 30 years and I have never had a transaction go down like this.” I laughed and said, “that’s because I have never bought a car from you before.”
I bought four more cars from him over the subsequent six years. It was a great day.
Liar Liar Everywhere!
Paragon Honda in NYC. I was ready to buy a new 2015 CR-V from them. All they had to do was to give me a reasonable price in the ballpark of what’s quoted by online sources. The salesperson would not budge from the MSRP and claims that it’s because the car is in such high demand. Sure, I knew that the CR-V was a popular vehicle but I also knew that it was far from being in short supply. Every single Honda dealership had every trim and every color of the vehicle readily available. So I told the salesperson that I can’t accept paying MSRP and asked him if he was sure that he was going to let me walk out. He said that he was sure that I was going to be back because nobody is selling the car under MSRP.
First call I made, I got an offer that’s 2k under MSRP. Done deal. I paid and picked up my new car the next day. The salesperson from Paragon calls me back, and claims that “he spoke with his manager” and now can go under the MSRP. I ignored that message because I was too busy driving my new car off the lot of their competitor.
Even the Paragon service department isn’t honest. There was some minor warranty work that my car needed so I brought my car to them. They claimed that I needed to bring my car back to the dealership that sold me the car which I knew was a lie. I didn’t argue with them. I’m not about to convince a bunch of dishonest people to service my car.
We Live In A World of Internet
I’ve just been annoyed by some, really.
Five Star Ford in North Richland Hills found an F150 that matched my desires. I let them know that I had talked to the dealership they got it from and knew it was $1500 less from them. They said that may be true but they drove it 75 miles closer to me, so that’s worth something.
Moritz Kia of Fort Worth tried to tell me the Exclaim Turbo was a rare and magical beast that could not be had for under MSRP. Apparently they thought I couldn’t see the year old special edition Souls rotting on the front row of their lot. They wouldn’t even give me Kia discounts, which don’t come from the dealership they’re given by the manufacturer. I sold my car on my own and bought a Soul in Kansas, had it shipped, and came out $6500 better than their offer. Apparently they thought I was stupid and didn’t have internet access.
(Adam J. Walker,)
Your Way Or Highway!
Citrus Kia in Florida. I did my research and knew the Kia I wanted was the best bang for the buck and highly rated by owners. I opted to lease and everything was signed including the lease agreement with a lender. A few days later I was called to the dealer to “sign something else”. That was male bovine fecal matter. I was told I didn’t get the lease and would have to purchase the car with a particular lender. My trade in had begun a journey to an alternate universe so I kinda had no choice since I’m an old, burned out cripple. No negotiations, no nothing.
They’ll never see me again. Not even for free maintenance and covered repairs. Be careful out there! Trust no one.
Oh, love the car….
The Wife Did It!
My young wife and I bought a brand new Chevy Nova 6 cyl in 1974 during the gas crisis. So we pick it up, we go home, I dress for work that I was working in afternoons, she drops me off, goes home and loads up some clothes to go to the laundromat – Car won’t start – it’s got 30 miles on it, she calls my dad, he comes over, he’s not mechanically inclined, so they call the dealer, they send a tow truck, so my dad & my wife are at the service desk and the tow truck is up on the hook in the service dept, the service manager goes over with the car still on the hook at a 45 degree angle, gets in the car and starts it, the service manager says my wife flooded it and she’s gonna pay for the tow, my dad says – wait that’s a brand new car it shouldn’t flood that easy- so now the service guy is back talking to my wife and dad and the tow guy drops the car and as the front wheels touch the ground it quits running, now my dad says, okay now what, so they worked on but screwed up the choke linkage, that the first winter I had it, it wouldn’t stay running after you put it in gear if it was cold & eventually you’d get it going, so once I fixed the linkage it was like a new car.
Little Girl? Think Again
My daughter was in the market for a used car. She narrowed it down to a 1 or 2 year old Ford Fusion. She found one… lease return, 18 months old, 22,000 miles at a local dealership. I come along to make the deal.
We get there and tell the salesman we are there to look at a specific car. He is sizing us up, asking my daughter how much a month she wants to spend. She responds that she’s paying cash. The salesman rolls his eyes.
Salesman pretends he cannot find the car, tells us used Fusions are hard to find so they sell quickly. In fact he says he doesn’t have any used ones, and again pushes the idea of a new car. We tell him no, we are there to look at a specific car, and if it’s gone so are we!
Miracle! He finds the Fusion. It’s winter and cold out so he tells us to sit in the showroom and he’ll pull it around front, then he will come get us. This car should be white. We see him pull up in a brand new fancy blue Fusion. Then he trots off and pulls in with the white car. He comes in and gets us, as we walk to the cars he is asking my daughter if she is sure she really doesn’t want a new one for only $100 more a month? Again we tell him we are paying cash. He cannot get his arms around that, and says, “Nobody has $18,000 in cash laying around.” I point at the Shelby in the showroom with the $63,000 price tag on it. I tell him, “Look, I could pay cash for that Shelby and the truck next to it if I wanted, so let’s get on with it.”
We refuse to look at the new blue car. We take the white car for a ride and confirm it’s what she wants. I make an offer on the car, a few thousand less than asking. He turns and says, “So what you’re saying is that you don’t have enough cash to buy this car! Let’s take what money you have as a down payment on the new one!”
My daughter raises her little voice into a roar and yells at this guy which rattles him. He then gets sweet with her and says he’s looking out for her and doesn’t she want the peace of mind of a new car? The used one could break down at any time and leave her stranded! She responds, “If an 18 month old Ford with 22,000 miles on it is subject to break down at any time, we don’t want ANY Ford!” She’s totally ticked off and feels he’s been treating her like a little girl since the start.
We headed for the door and left in my car. We don’t get a mile and her cell phone is ringing. She dismisses the call. This happens a few times and we laugh each time. She finally answers the call on speaker phone. It’s us and this idiot’s sales manager. He’s begging us to come back and buy the car.
I tell him we were treated like idiots and we are livid. He agreed the salesman “needed a talking to” and said he’d complete the sale. I offer him $1000 less than my original offer. He immediately agrees, which makes me leery. So I let him know.. we will come in. The sales contract will be for exactly the right amount. No bull, no extras. Once agreed, we will go across the street (a branch of our bank was diagonal across the street at the intersection) and get a check.
And that’s the way it went. Of course we knew the salesman wasn’t getting any reprimand. It was classic “Bad cop, good cop”. But we got the car exactly as we wanted it. My daughter was happy. I was relieved because I lived 2 hrs away and didn’t want to repeat the trip for the next few weekends to buy a car!
Oh, and the used Fusion never broke down. It’s now her husband’s work car and has over 90,000 miles on it without a problem.!
Fast & Furious!!
It was 2005. I had just graduated college. The Lotus Elise had just come stateside. It seemed like perfect timing.
There was a Lotus dealership right off the highway I drove to commute to school, so I saw the cars sitting there during my last semester every day as I drove back and forth.
As soon as I graduated, I went in.
Looking back, I’m surprised anyone even bothered talking to me. I was 21, driving an old Ford Ranger, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, walking into a dealership asking to test drive $50k+ cars.
But not only did they talk to me, the salesman took me out on a test drive I’ll never forget.
He took me out on some empty backroads that ran out behind the dealership, away from the highway. He told me the one thing I would notice about this car is the way it corners.
We approached the first turn. I eased off the gas and started pressing the brake. “No,” I heard from my confident passenger. “Go faster.” I held my speed through the turn.
The salesman wanted to show me the second set of cams that kick in at 6200rpm, so he had me punch it in the straight.
We approached the second turn much faster. Surely I wasn’t going to take this turn this fast. I again eased off the gas and started pressing the brake. “No,” I heard again. “Go faster.” I held my speed through the turn.
We kept this up for a while. It was obvious this was a common run for the salesman. We got to where he was just telling me what speed to take each turn. “This one coming up, you’re gonna want to keep it around 70[mph]. I usually take it around 90, but I’m going to keep you at 70.” These were tight 90-degree turns I wouldn’t have done over 35 without his instruction.
We got back to the dealership. I picked laser blue. And over the course of my ownership, I found out just how fast that car could really corner.
Epic Photoshop Fail
In 2004, I was in an accident in my 2003 Dodge Dakota. While it was at the body shop, I rented a 2004 Ford F-150 in its place. I was in love from that moment! So in August of 2006, when it was finally time to replace the Dakota (it was at 99K and had already needed a complete new rear-end, thankfully under warranty), I wanted to get out while the getting was good. I set off looking for my dream F-150.
There was a 2006 model year-end deal I was aiming for, including very low interest financing. I submitted a pricing request through my credit union – I submitted to five dealerships. Only heard back from one right away… a Ford dealership in an affluent suburb of Seattle, about 25 miles from where I lived. In their reply email, they told me they had a 2006 model that met all my specs and then some. The price was well below invoice based on my prior research. They gave me three days to accept the deal. I replied via e-mail within the hour that I’d take the deal. I immediately called down and spoke to their fleet manager, saying I accepted the deal.
The fleet manager said he was just running out the door, but that he’d call me Saturday so I could come down and sign the papers. My phone was silent all day Saturday, so I called the dealership in the afternoon. They said the fleet manager hadn’t been in but would be again on Monday, and I needed to wait for him. So Monday morning, I called and spoke to him. He said the truck wasn’t in their inventory and had been “sold out from under us.” So he sent me specs for a different truck. One with way fewer features – missing many of my requirements, but for the same price quoted.
I immediately replied that this was not the deal I accepted, and I was still in the specified time period to accept the original deal. He said, “oh jeez, we made a mistake with that first deal… so that’s not going to work. You’re going to have to take this deal if you want to buy this truck from us.” Then he sent a copy of the PDF file they had gotten from my credit union. He had carefully edited out some of the options I had originally requested. The options were in a comma delimited list, so it was plainly obvious he’d just edited the PDF. He claimed that’s what he got from my credit union. So needless to say, I didn’t buy the under specified substitution truck, and I told him I was not even remotely happy with the situation.
So I contacted my credit union, who dutifully sent a copy of the PDF that was sent to the dealership. Of course I could see all the stuff he edited out and claimed to have never seen. I was floored by the situation at that time… so I wrote a letter explaining the entire situation, including the doctored and original PDFs, explaining that I felt I had been bait-and-switched by the dealership.
I sent that letter to Ford corporate, the dealer, the dealer’s parent company, the BBB, the state attorney general and my credit union. I mailed it to all recipients via registered mail, return receipt required, knowing it would get their attention. A couple days later, I got a call from the fleet manager at the dealership. He was furious. “How dare you accuse us of bait and switch” he yelled. I held my ground.
He asked me to come down and meet the manager of the dealership to “See if we could work out a compromise.” I agreed to this and went to the meeting. I explained my position, I showed him documentation that I had been offered a truck with more features than I originally asked for X price, and showed him how his fleet manager had edited the credit union document. I told him for me to leave happy, I wanted the deal I had accepted within their 72 hour time limit.
Once everyone calmed down a bit, the manager instructed the fleet manager to go look for trucks that met my complete specs. After about 15 minutes, he came back. Said he couldn’t find a 2006 with the specs I wanted (I was firm on the color – metallic red – because it was my University’s color.) He said I’d have to take another color. I stood firm, and told him, “If you can’t find a 2006 with that color and spec, then fine, I’d be flexible on model year – I’d take a 2007.”
He found a 2007 in ruby red metallic, the perfect color for me. So then they started hassling me about the price, and tried to get me to “help them out” by accepting a higher price to cover for their “mistake.” I relented slightly and agreed to pay $1000 more than their original offer (it was still about $7000 below invoice). They agreed to the deal. The truck was delivered to a dealership in Spokane, so they had it driven over for me. It had 293 miles on the clock when I picked it up, but I didn’t really care. I had my beautiful new F-150 with all the features I wanted.
And I’m happy to report, as of September 2019, it’s still my daily driver. Just hit 269,000 miles. It’s never left me stranded and only had a few minor mechanical issues over the years. Best vehicle I ever owned… but the worst time I ever had buying a new vehicle!
Some Days Are Just To Experience The Good!
I have been driving my 2005 Kia Spectra5 for long enough and we decided it was time for a new-to me car. My sweet hubby suggested I get a black, Buick Regal so we could have matching cars. I thought that sounded cute so we started looking.
In the process, I also found a cute little pistachio green Fiat 500. We decided we would look at the Fiat and then maybe go see the Regal, which was in another town. So we went down to the Corwin Wholesale Lot and found a salesman.
The salesman pulled the Fiat around, and since it was a tiny little thing, he just let us take it out for a spin, and stayed behind. When we got back we sat down at his desk to talk numbers. He asked if we were looking to buy today or not. I told him I really liked the car and hubby and I would like a moment.
In the meantime, hubby has decided to check on the Regal, and what do you know, it sold! While the salesman is giving us some space, we come to the conclusion that we are narrowed down to one car. So, we decide that for the right price, we should take the Fiat.
The sales guy comes back, and I say that if we can walk out the door, flat out, for 8000USD, we will take the car, and they also have to replace the broken armrest. The sales guy says he will need to talk to his manager, since that is less than they were asking, with tax, title, license.
A few moments later the sales guy comes back and says you got a deal. We told him we did not need to talk to his finance guy, since we were paying cash. We signed papers, came back with a cashier’s check and left with my Pistachio.
This is the second car we bought at this place. Both times the experience was just like this. No high pressure sales, no padding things, easy to work with and honest.
Sorry I brought you all the way here to not even have the terrible car salesman story. Sometimes you just have a great experience in life.
Here is a picture of Pistachio. He is pretty awesome and I will never forget the day I got him or the excellent people who took care of us that day.