Since my rant–er, post–on my car buying experience, a lot of people have asked for an update.
First, let me say that feedback on my post left me stunned by how many of my women friends–successful, independent women–said this was one area they extricated themselves from because it was SO un-woman friendly. Seriously? They white flag it? Well, no ma’am. I would not be defeated. If this was a man’s world, I decided to strap on a set and get this damned thing bought already.
Visit to Dealer #1: Smarmy sales manager comments on my purse and my jewelry and doesn’t take me seriously, even though I came in knowledgeable and ready to buy. He wanted me to come back with my husband and we could discuss. Goodbye.
Visit to Dealer #2: Started deal online with their “guaranteed” quote. But that evaporated when I got to the lot. Even though I like my salesman a lot, I left on principal. On the way out, the sales manager tries to strong arm me into leaving a “non refundable” deposit on the car. No thank you.
So here’s what happened next:
1. I stayed in touch with likable salesman from Dealer #2, via text. He was convinced he could rectify the situation once the GM got back from vacation. We were supposed to meet, but the next day he was “no longer with the dealership.” Fired.
2. GM at Dealer #2 decides he will take up my cause, but says the car I want sold so I’ll have to put down “nonrefundable” money so he can get a car from another dealer. After I’ve been lied to so far? Hmmm. He got a little aggressive verbally. I pushed back. And when I asked for his last name, he didn’t want to give it. Finally he said it was “Ford.” Really? I’m out.
3. After a short exasperation break, I decided to try yet another dealer. Starting on their website, I found three cars from their inventory and printed the window stickers. I then got an online quote from TrueCar and made an appointment at Dealer #3. I showed up–sans jewelry and purse–armed only with my file folder of research and quotes.
First, the GM greeted me at the door and said, “I hope to make your car buying experience as easy as possible.” (Yeah, sure.) “I see you’ve already gotten your TrueCar quote, which we will honor, and I see you’ve been to other dealers, so I know you’ve done your research. ” Uh-oh, I think I’m on the Ford watch list! (Though they never bothered to respond when we tweeted them the last post.)
I was paired with a salesman, and within 20 minutes (I was timing it), we had our deal. The car was on its way from another lot while we did the paperwork. BUT it still took another 3 1/2 hours to drive away: one hour to get the check processed, another hour to meet with financing and sign papers and another hour to “detail” the car once it got finally got there. Then, it took about 40 minutes for my orientation to all the new technology on the car with a whiz kid named Danny. I drove away exhausted and hungry–not excited.
So it took 3 months, a total of 11 hours in dealerships, plus probably twice that in online research, for me to say I’m finally the proud owner of my new Ford Explorer. This system is seriously flawed. Here’s hoping I don’t have to do that again for another 17 years or so…