Virtue #4 – I made a Mistake!

Have you ever been embarrassed and a little upset with a financial mistake that you’ve made? Well, today’s mishap has been a summation of all the car dealership experiences flashing before my face in one fatal swoop. So, with full disclosure here, I’d like to vent, but not regret this later. I really don’t care if I am breaking the “blogposting” rules.

I’ve been married for over 13 years and when it comes to dealing with car dealers, I am your girl. We’ve all heard horror stories of when the dealer sees a woman, we are overlooked and discounted, but not me. I am ready for the challenge. Here is how you can prepare for this experience:

1. Do your homework. Know what car you want and how much you want to spend before going to the dealership. Most dealerships have websites so look there first and look around the country as well.
2. Buy certified-used which usually has low mileage. Certified-used vehicles typically offer a manufacturer’s warranty up to a certain point i.e. no more than 100,000 miles. Certified-used cars, trucks and SUVs are often the returned leases and loaner cars. If you are buying a brand-new car, you lose value as soon as you drive your car off the lot, but to each its own. An even better option is to pay cash for your car, if the car is under $5000.
3. Have your financing with either your bank or credit union ready when you arrive at the dealership. For rate comparisons, look at Bankrate. In many cases, you will get a better rate this way, but if the dealer’s financing options are better, go with it. Remember to look for the best rate and term that fits your budget. The shorter your term the less you will pay in the long run.
4. Say n-o to the extended warranty and all the “extras” that the finance person offers you. With a little planning, you can create your own extended warranty fund. An extended warranty fund is saving the amount that you would have paid for the extra warranty automatically in an account that is not attached to your regular checking and savings accounts and nicknaming it “Extended Warranty Fund”.
5. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate…Ask for the moon and the stars. For example, one time the dealers where so upset with the deal that I had negotiated that they practically escorted my husband and I from the dealership.

A few years ago, when I purchased my certified-used car, I was not very pleased that I was having to get “another car payment” because I had been car payment free for a few years and should have been saving for the rainy day when I would need to get another car. I thought my car would last forever, but after being rear-ended and my car totaled, I was back at square one.

My family convinced me that I had to get a car to get around, LOL, so I reluctantly went into the dealership with my financing paperwork and told the salesman that I wanted to see the car that I had found online, and after test driving that car and about two others I decided to go with my original option. A part of the research step above involves looking at the car’s Carfax to verify that the car had not had any major damage done to it. Carfax reports are offered by most dealerships at no charge on their website and a paper copy if requested at the dealership. So, I waited patiently for about an hour to meet with the finance manager and go through the spill of getting my information so that they can run my credit, so I respond “I already have financing, what are the rates that you can offer?” The finance person chuckles and gives me the rates and I say “no, thank you, my rate is better.”

Here is where I let my guard down, we discussed extended warranty and gap insurance. I declined. Then I was asked about the MAINTENANCE PACKAGE. I thought to myself “What is the maintenance package?” If you don’t know, so no! I had not heard of this before. He gave me some numbers of what I would spend in maintenance over the term and I was sold. But wait…my car already had close to 30,000 miles and the maintenance package only lasted for 48,000 miles and not to mention you only get oil and filter changes every 10,000 miles on your car.

Photo courtesy pexels

Fast forward to today, I now live in North Carolina and have been taking my car to the dealership for my scheduled maintenances because “it’s covered”, however, my maintenance plan was with a carrier in Texas so every time I scheduled maintenance, I had to remind the service person that I have my plan with another carrier in another state. Not to mention, the service people have attempted to sell me “their maintenance plan” although I already have one in place. Fool me once, shame on you, fool my twice, shame on me. This is good right? After my service is complete today, I get called in to complete my transaction. I remind the service person of our discussion before we started and I am met with “the maintenance package has ended”. I guess I did not read the fine print or remember my exact terms, but best believe I will be looking into this. I started looking at different articles about this situation and whether maintenance packages are worth it and here is what I found. J.D. Power, Edmunds, Wisebread

Photo courtesy pexels

So, if you have ever been in this situation, where you have made a financial mistake, you are not alone, Financial Advisors do it too, we are human, although we don’t want to admit it.