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Posts Tagged ‘trade in’


The Blind Prophet
As I noted we decided to take advantage of Eli’s latest orthodontist appointment and both go up and look at some Hodyessys. I’d been thinking too, and preferred them to the Sienna. The night before, the tires on the T&C that needed changing looked different as we sat outside Chuck E. Cheese.  Made me think the belts were separating, and it wouldn’t be wise to drive it to Phoenix. This, I thought, ruled out the possibility of trading it in.
Due to a Honda recall, we didn’t have the CRV available. But we had the rental Grand Cherokee. Unlike the previous evening we got to explore some of the extras, like the sunroof. One thing we noticed is that the navigation wouldn’t work while we were in gear. The passenger seat has a sensor to turn on the air bag, but apparently not the navigation. So we had to resort to my sworn enemy: Siri.
We arrived at the dealership and met the crew. The website was right- this was nothing fancy. It was parked next to a Mexican restaurant, so we continually smelled carne asada, or something like that.
After filling in some info on the iPad for a test drive, we were looking at the van. First we passed the van I had hoped to buy getting prepped for delivery. It had been purchased Tuesday night. The small lot behind the building was filled with cars. Lots of Odysseys and other Hondas, a few Audis, Toyotas and others. We interacted with a few people, including Brad who does lots of the traveling to auctions. He noted that they like to buy in the northeast because people don’t put as many miles on vehicles as they do in the southeast. He noted that they were behind on cleaning up newer vehicles.
As I looked at the van I saw some cosmetic stuff. They now hold bumpers on with plastic clips. Not a good design, and one bumper was missing some. “Yeah, we buy those in bulk. We’ll put new ones in.” There were a few scratches where someone used a paint pen or something- a poorly matching one at that. People returning leases like these probably rush to cover up such things.
The engine compartment looked very clean. The test drive was mostly good. No saleperson as we took it around some city streets and out to the highway. Something felt a little odd at times. I couldn’t tell if it was the road, or the tires. When we got back I walked around it again and noticed it had 4 different tires on it. As did the van next to the one we looked at. But they had one make in common. I figured I’d ask if they could swap one so I’d have two of the same on the front. They said this often happens with rentals: people don’t take care of the tires and then scramble to put non-bald tires on them when trading them in. We would have 4 new tires.
I listened to the engine run, and didn’t notice any unusual noises. Things were looking good. This van didn’t have all the extras like the one from Yuma. I had like the idea of a DVD player for trips, so I asked about getting one installed. I was thinking it would be well over $1,000. I was wrong. For $460 we got it installed and 4 wireless headphones for the kids so we can listen to music instead.
We went inside. There was no negotiating. This van was a little more than I’d wanted to spend but if only had about 40k miles. There was no dog and pony show. No pressure. He started to talk about financing. “We’re paying cash.” So that was one fewer thing to discuss.
I asked about trading in Gold Faithful. He asked a few questions, put answers in the computer. “$2,500.” That was the number I was hoping to get for a private sale. “I was hoping to not put new tires on it.” “Oh, we’ll pick it up when we drop your new van off.” No additional charge by the way. No heading to Discount Tire. No spending $300. And the price I wanted- with no haggling.
He printed out a sheet with the numbers. We agreed to get the 3 year bumper-to-bumper warranty. He noted what needed to be done: bumper clips, flanges for the cup holder, 4 new tires, DVD player.
Amie wrote the check and we got a receipt. “You’ll sign all the paperwork when we drop the van off.” He understood that we needed to get to Eli’s appointment. Eli who was riding a desk chair back and forth. I was more annoyed by it than they seemed to be. We shared some of our adoption story with the main guy. He was adopted too. So we piled into the Grand Cherokee and went to his appointment.
What would happen Friday? Would it all be as they said when they dropped it off? Would they drop it off?

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The Cyclops
That afternoon, after we talked, I figured we ought to compare that van with at least one other. Another Craig’s List Hodyssey was taken, so we went to the local Toyota dealer to look at a 2014 Sienna. “Low pressure” they said. It was a nice Burgandy van on their “internet pricing” program. It was a nice van. Very clean engine. I asked how long it had been parked there (a few weeks) and there were no signs of a leak. The test drive was the customary around the block with the salesman. It seemed to have better acceleration than the Hodyssey. But … the 8th seat, a jump seat, was not flush with the two seats around it like in the Hodyssey. And the rear seat brackets, while covered, extended into the rear storage. I could see that being a problem at some point. While the middle seats could be adjusted, the plastic guard by the track was loose and sticking up. I could see that being far too attractive for the boys, having been one once.
And so began the “dog and pony show” of buying a car. It feels like a struggle to the death. I hate haggling because I always feel like I got taken. The dealer in FL, I knew, gave me his best price. Now there is uncertainty, doubt. Just for kicks, I asked about a trade in. Initial trade in value for “Gold Faithful”: $1,500. Pathetic. We sit down in the make shift office space while they build new and luxurious surroundings. I have a bottle of water, but where’s the free popcorn!
“What will it take…” I tell him I’m not signing anything today. I just want his best offer. I typically regret impulsive decisions, and want to think about the Sienna compared to the Hodyssey, think about the finances since we are talking over $20k.
“What will it take…” Sigh. He left, and came back for a dramatic reveal of … the same exact number. At some point they raised the trade in to $2k. But the manager came in to try and close a deal. Finally Amie said “I’ve been married him for 14 years. The more you push, the less likely he is to do what you want.” We left in our T&C to ponder things. Two hours of our lives flushed. Having been pressured, we feel battered and bruised while standing our ground.
Meanwhile, a friend of Amie’s recommended looking in Phoenix: greater options, lower prices. She found a place with 4-5 Hodysseys for really good prices. Sounded too good to be true.
The next morning she woke up early and did her investigator’s daughter thing. She found reviews. And nearly everyone loved it. We learned they buy leased vehicles at auction. They keep there overhead low- no fancy building. No pressure sales. Could it really be true?

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