The Car Buying Blues, Part Four: The Follow-Up

Oh, this car buying.  I was hoping that we’d buy the car, and then it would be over.  Ha!  (In a ironic, not-funny sort of way.)

As I mentioned at the end of Part Three, our salesperson wisely suggested that he follow us to the gas station so that we wouldn’t have to wait in the dealer.  We drove up the to the gas station and the salesperson filled the car with gas and left.  We got organized and decided that I would drive the new car home.  Before we even left the gas station, we discovered problem number one.  Despite the shiny new keychain we were presented, we got only one actual key to our car, still attached to its red inventory control tag.  I then started the car and discovered that it didn’t even have a half a tank of gas. I seriously considered returning to the dealership to get the additional keys but I didn’t think it wise to come back in my current state of fury.  Therefore we started home.

On the way back to our house, the car began pulling ever so slightly to one side, indicating that it needs to be aligned.  Once we returned home, I began checking around the small places in the car, pulling out the filthy headrests from the back storage compartment, and noticing the handy feature where the cup holder can be moved (except that it is disgusting underneath it’s current location.)  There are also several places that just weren’t well cleaned.  This was completely frustrating since we spent so much unnecessary time at the dealership specifically because it was being cleaned.

When we got home, I had a nice email from a sales manager that thanked me for the business and told me to contact them if I had any concerns. I thought that I should probably calm down a bit and waited until today to write a sensible letter. Good thing I did, because there was more to include.

In the three days since we have had the car, we have discovered that there is no windshield wiper fluid and one of the windshield wiper blades requires replacement.  I don’t know what dealers think. “Oh, we’ll give them this shiny keychain and they won’t notice all the other nonsense.” Do they think we are dumb? (Last time I got a golf umbrella – at least that was useful.)

When we purchased this car, it did not have towing capabilities. We knew that we would have to add those parts on separately and asked for a price. Our salesperson checked with the aftersales department, who quoted him a price of $867 for the entire towing package. We very specifically asked if that price included all the necessary hardware and wiring for a complete package and were assured that the price was inclusive.

This afternoon, I received a phone call from the aftersales department, who informed me that they had made a mistake in the towing package price and that the total package was in fact an additional $608.  The representative offered to split the difference with us, so that it would only cost $304 more than we were originally quoted.  As I stated earlier, we specifically ensured that our originally quoted price was all inclusive.  This would bring the total amount of the purchase to $954 more than the amount to which we had agreed.

Oh, I was hot! I sat down and type a long list of grievances and sent it to everyone who seemed important: the managing partner, the director of sales operations, the used car director, and the internet director. At the end of the email, I listed the things I wanted: more keys, an alignment, windshield wiper fluid, a clean car, the towing package at the original price, and a refund of the amount we had overpaid. I then left the house to see a friend because I didn’t want to sit stewing over something I couldn’t control.

Within about 45 minutes, the managing partner called me on my cell phone. He immediately apologized and asked when I could bring the car in to be serviced. We had a little chat and while we did not discuss every issue, I was feeling OK. We are headed out of town for the holiday and so I arranged to bring the car in upon our return. The partner gave me his direct telephone line and told me to call if I had any other concerns.

Let’s hope that Part Five: The Conclusion is quick and happy. I never want to buy another car again.

Also in this series:

The Car Buying Blues, Part One:  Doing The Research

The Car Buying Blues, Part Two:  The Buying Process

The Car Buying Blues, Part Three:  The Financials

The Car Buying Blues, Part Four:  The Follow-up

The Car Buying Blues, Part Five:  Let’s Just Be Done With It

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • jessica

    UGGH! I know the fustration all to well. Sorry you have to deal with this.

    I don’t know if its too late, but i bought a aftermarket tow package from a not dealer, and it was less than $400 installed. You may want to look in to having that done