Buyer Beware by Angenita Williams

Buyer Beware

This is a blog about how corporations like to take advantage of people whom they know are in a tight spot with virtually no where to go. And then, they meet me – a person in a tough spot, but not willing to allow my circumstance override my intelligence.

The issue is – about two years ago, I was in a tough spot. I totaled my car that I paid cash for, and I had no transportation. That worked for a while, but I had to work two jobs – one was part-time and permanent, the other was full-time and temporary. I trolled through parking lots of eager salesmen. Many were willing to give me a car – but there was one problem – my full-time job was only temporary.

So I went to the very last resort – JD Byrider. This proved to be an extremely costly mistake.

Now, the car I bought from them was a 2003 Chevy Monte Carlo. The sale price was $12,200. It had well over 100,000 miles on it. I knew I was getting duped. But in a moment of desperation, I chalked it up. I hated that I was paying for a severely used car what I could get in a new car. But I sucked it up and rolled with it.

Fast forward two years. I decided I paid entirely too much for the car and looked for some refinancing options to lower my interest rate, and potentially lower the cost. This is where I got a huge dose of ‘I’ve been royally screwed with no Vaseline.’

Not one bank would touch it. Not because of my credit – but because the value of the car was no where near close to what I still owed. That’s when I learned the value of the car was less than $3000.

A few months pass, and I was in an accident that totaled the car. I owed $7100. I made every payment on time, and over the course of two years, I paid $9600. At the time of the wreck, the car was only worth $2700. I paid for that car three times. And still owed about three times more for it. Of course, they offered to get me in another vehicle, or owe them almost $5000 that I was still responsible for paying. So now, in another tight spot – no car, still owe them, a week of time. I have to get to work, right? So I go. But, I had a different agenda – I was not going to simply settle on some car they try to put me in. I had an idea about the car I wanted, and what I wanted to pay. Basically, I was going to call them out, and call them out I did.

I made sure they knew how dissatisfied I was. I made sure, using a few choice words, that I would not continue to allow them to screw me. I also told the sales guy that I had done some research, and I had a car I was looking at. He looked like a deer in headlights.

“I’ve done a little research…” I said.

“Well, where did you look? Blue Book?” he countered.

“Yes, and…”

“Well, Blue Book doesn’t take into consideration the maintenance that we put in the car so it could be sold. Nor does that factor in the warranty…”

“I know that. I know it’s a guide. And just like everything in America, EVERYTHING can be negotiated.”

Hold up. The warranty on the cars are supposed to be free. That’s how they are advertised. But the cost of the warranty is in the cost of the car and financed. CHECK. And is he really trying to discredit Kelly Blue Book Values?

So when he came with a list of cars I ‘qualified’ for, he stated he could get me in a Chevy Cobalt. A 2007. I looked at him dead in the eye.

“Do you not see me?” I asked. He just gave me a blank stare.

“I am taller than you. What in the hell could I do with a damn Chevy Cobalt?” I asked.

“Well, yeah, I see your point…”

Now, keep in mind, the only car I wanted was an Impala. It is a nice sized sedan for my daughter and I. I wasn’t leaving without one. But, I played their game, so I test drove cars I had no intention of buying.

The 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser with about 88,000 miles on it (Book value about $4,400 in excellent condition) was a no go. Number 1, I don’t like them. Number 2, the steering wheel shook so bad as I drove it, there is no way anyone in their right mind would buy that car. When I jumped out of it, I told the sales guy, “You might wanna put that one back in the shop.” He didn’t reply.

So, they lead me to a 2004 Kia Sportage. Now, the Sportage had a hum that was not right AT ALL. And when I asked about the keyless entry, he told me that since I was such a good customer, they would throw one in free of charge for me. Ok, Seriously?  They must really think I’m stupid.

The brakes on the car were horrible. The drive was not smooth at all. I left only to return the next day.

I test drove two Jeep Liberties – one was a 2002 with about 84,000 miles on it. It had so much rust on brace that holds the spare tire, that one hard bump would probably break it and send the tire off rolling down the street. There was substantial rust on the brakes as well and the ride was bumpy.  The 2006 had about 100,000 plus miles on it, and the ride was the same. Neither fit right. But they were the same price – about $13,895. I never saw two of the same car, with different model years being the same price. I digress.

So that leads me to the 2004 Hyundai Sante Fe (book value $4,455 in excellent condition). This car had 110,000 miles, the pexiglass over the speedometer was cracked and had moisture spots. There were hard water deposits in the doors and around the steering wheel. I knew immediately that this was a flood vehicle. The rust INSIDE the car was atrocious (see below). But they were willing to sell it to me for around $13,395. The drive was ok but there was a ticking inside the car. I wasn’t buying it. Regardless.

2004 Sante Fe

 

I ended up with a 2007 Impala. It had 100,000 miles on it. Still way too much in my opinion, but they made the car fit me instead of the other way around. The original price was a little more than $1000 more.

JD Byrider video tapes the closings so there can be no argument about what went on in the closing. Basically, so no one can take them to court and dispute anything. So, I made it a point to advise that I did not agree with the pricing. I think it’s too much. I also said, “I have to do what I have to do, right?” The closing person didn’t say anything. And the look on his face told me he knew I was still being screwed by this company.

This is something that is not ethical. This is something that needs to be blasted. And until I see people being done rightly, regardless of their situation, I will fight for it.

So consider this my first step.

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