why I will never ever EVER buy a car

I had a particularly awful weekend. There were several reasons for that, but the main reason is our massive car buying fail on Saturday. When I say fail, I mean...fail.

It went something like this. James inherited his dad's truck when he passed away last January. It's a '99 Chevy Silverado, but seriously, this thing is amazing. It's huge, it has every feature you could get in 1999, and it's in impeccable condition with low mileage. Men lust over this thing like Ron Swanson lusts over a meat tornado.

It's a great truck and every man's dream, but we've been wanting to sell it or trade it in for awhile now for many reasons including it's lack of practicality for future babies and the anxiety we get just trying to park it. Anyway, we finally agreed on the make and model of the car we want to buy. And we decided to trade in the truck when we buy the car.

James spent a lot of time doing research online and calling around. He found two good deals at a dealership nearby, so Saturday afternoon we went to check it out, and my dad met us there since he's a genius at car buying and finances and all that jazz. James sold cars for awhile in college, and my dad has bought many cars, so I felt confident we would come home with a new (to us) car. We test drove both cars, found one we were in love with, and sat down to talk numbers.

And that's when all hell broke loose. James and my dad know what they're doing, and they've done a lot of research on the value of the truck. We are not unreasonable people, but we knew what it's trade in value is and what our bottom line would be. After at least an hour of waiting, the salesman came back with a number on the truck. A number four thousand dollars below what it needed to be. An offensive number, really. There was some heated discussion and some arguing. The salesman went back to talk to his manager.

While he did that, we looked at the carfax report and looked the car up online again. Two things were wrong. The carfax and the salesman had told us the car had just gotten new tires. There was no doubt the tires on the car were not new. Not even close. But that's a more minor issue compared to what happened next. All three of us had looked up the car at home on our respective computers. We had all seen the same price. We had even looked at it right before we went into the dealership. During the negotiations, we looked up the price again, and it had gone up two thousand dollars. Two thousand dollars! Shady, no?

So we immediately brought this to the salesman's attention and his manager's attention. Their response? "Oh, no we never listed the car for that price [the cheaper price we saw online]. It's funny though, you're the second person to say that happened to them today. Maybe our website was hacked again."  Sure, SURE. I'm sure that's what happened. We show interest in a car and the website magically gets the "correct" price. And not only that, the price wasn't coming down and they would only pay us about half the truck's value. Lesson learned: print out a picture of the website with the price. Rookie mistake.

So we grabbed our keys and left.

We saw another really good deal on the same car at a different dealership. My dad couldn't join us, but James and I felt confident we could at least get some numbers from the salesman and see what we wanted to do. So we went.

Right off the bat, we got in the car to test drive it and something was off. It just didn't feel right. There was too much wear and tear on the interior for a one year old car, and the seats were more uncomfortable than the previous car. It wasn't for us, but they had other options and we wanted to know if they would work with us.

Another hour of waiting and questions, and they came back with numbers. I was getting nervous to do this without my dad. He's a numbers man, a killer negotiator, and will put any car salesman in their place in the blink of an eye. They gave us a much better number than the previous dealership (though still much too low), but the guy....the guy was a jerk. He thought we were two little doe eyed babies who had no idea what we were doing. He was dripping with condescension. The numbers he gave us to work with weren't offensive, but he was offensive. His tone, his attitude, his words.

He and James started arguing. It got heated really fast. I had never felt more uncomfortable in my entire life. By that point I had spent about 5 hours in dealerships, and I was exhausted, hungry, and SICK TO DEATH of arguing. Tears were pooling in my eyes and I tried to explain to the man that we weren't in love with the car enough to pay his price for it, but he cut me off every time. At one point he got so fed up with James pushing back (go James!) that he slashed the price he would give us on the truck by 1k. It's a miracle this man had ever sold a car.

The final straw was when the man told us we're stupid. He literally said the words "You two are just stupid."

So we grabbed our keys and walked out. And that man didn't sell a car.

Lesson learned: don't go to a dealership without your dad. Also, some people just don't deserve your business.

If car buying is this hard, I'm not sure I ever want to house hunt.


  1. UGH. Some people are just plain ASSHOLES.
    Bless you.

  2. oh goodness, I'm sorry!! I've never had that bad of an experience the 2 times we've bought cars, so now I just consider myself lucky.

    good luck, girl!

  3. This sounds horrible! I'm so sorry to hear it :( I think when you know someone who sells cars, or you know someone who sells houses, you're safe. Other than that, it's a hot mess out there!

  4. My husband and I used a program called "Fleet" when we bought his new truck in 2010. They are so much nicer and easier to work with because they are not a car dealership. You can look them up online. Seriously best experience buying a car ever.

  5. THIS IS THE WORST. My car (bless her heart) is also a '99, and a hand-me-down from my grandparents when they upgraded a few years ago... but she is on her last leg, I think. The check engine light randomly turns on and off, my brakes make a terrifying sound almost every time I touch them, and one of the radio dial buttons straight-up fell off the other day. I am avoiding the car search because I am terrified of getting ripped off! After reading this, I am NOT going now unless my Dad can come with me!! GOOD LUCK!! <3 :)

  6. It can definitely be a real pain. Yes, always, always, always print out whatever you see online. Also, my husband and I are really good with people. However, it also works to my advantage that he is older, so no one tries to "take advantage of the little teenager." We've also gotten really good about sweetening the person up upon arrival (If salesmen can schmooze, WE can schmooze!), setting a rather hard limit, and remaining really calm after our years of car and home buying. I hope you guys have better luck with the next deals you find! Fingers crossed for you!

  7. Oh my gosh, Michelle, I didn't realize it was this terrible! I had a car salesman tell me that when I was "serious" about buying a car, to make sure my parents came with me. I was 24 at the time, and worked with the sales manager's wife. Guess who didn't know that? The dumbass salesman. Somehow, I don't get the feeling that he will be saying that to another single woman again.

    I hope you don't lose all faith. Not all car sales people are bad, and some will give you a darn good deal. Ammon and I tend to gravitate towards the younger guys, they seem to be a little more honest than the guys that have been doing this since before Automatic transmissions and power windows.

  8. He told you that you were stupid?! I cannot even believe. I've had some really bad car experiences and some really good ones. When I leased my car last year it was one of the first times I had been in a dealership and left not feeling swindled. I'm sorry you have to deal with these assholes.

  9. Did you call the sales manager and report him for calling you stupid? There is no way that is an appropriate way to talk to a customer. I think doing this now, when you are calm is a great time to do it.

    My husband's uncle is a sales manager at a large car dealership in town. He is always the one the family goes to. When I traded in my car, I was upside down in my loan and he made sure to pay off the loan and get me a great deal on my SUV.

  10. Good lord child! I can't even imagine what they'd try to pull with me the chick who looks twelve and a half years old. Just come to NYC where you don't need any cars.

  11. I can't believe that any salesperson would call you two stupid. That's ridiculous.
    I'm glad you guys stuck to your guns and didn't sell the truck for less than you knew it was worth and didn't buy a car you didn't love.
    I hate going to car dealerships - I feel like everyone who works at one is shady.
    We bought my husband's car a few months ago and he even knew the guy who sold it to us, but I still feel that we didn't get the deal we should have. Car shopping/buying sucks.

  12. OMG girl. That is crazy! I do know that dealerships price cars on the internet lower. If you are going to look at a car you saw online you have to ask for their internet sales person. I hope you guys don't have to go through that nonsense ever again.

  13. That sounds awful! I too hate car shopping we've had to do it twice since getting married 3.5 years ago,but thankfully each time went smoothly for us. We also weren't trading in and that might have helped.

    I honestly can't believe that second salesman called you stupid. While he just might be a total jerk maybe he was just having a bad day... At least you can hope that's the reason. Hopefully on your next car hunting expedition you find a nice friendly dealership who is also fair!

  14. Who would hack into a dealership website and make the prices higher...? Just for fun?

    Anyway, it took us about 3 months to buy our car. It was the first we looked at, but priced too high, and when it was still there 3 months later at a lower price, we jumped on them. Suckers.

  15. What an awful experience!!!!! If you can survive that, though, you can DEFINITELY survive buying a house. Don't even worry about that, haha. Plus a house is more worth it than a car. ;)

    I canNOT believe you were called stupid though. I would seriously call and complain to the owner/manager/WHOEVER about that, because that person needs to be fired. You could be saving other people from him, too!

  16. Seconding Angi, here...it's not just a miracle if that guy's ever sold a car, but that he has a job at ll. His dealership will want to know about that, you should submit something...preferably in writing, so you never actually have to talk to those people again!

  17. Wow, what a frustrating experience! But you are right...if they're going to treat you like that, they don't deserve your business! Sometimes you just have to find the right dealership, I guess. But there are definitely better places out there that won't treat you like that! I hope your next experience is much better! Too bad you don't live a little further north...I could recommend some good places!

  18. eeeeek this makes me so nervous to go car shopping. I know its coming, fact of life,but this is FREAKING ME OUT!!!!
    I remember going with my dad as a kid and thinking how cool it was that he was an expert car buyer... now that he is 20 hours away I am FREAKING OUT with out him!!!!

    Also all that means was those were just not your cars... you will indeed find "your car" and it will be perfect and you will write a love letter to it, just like your bug :)

    ps. you're not stupid

  19. Awful. AWFUL! Car buying is so incredibly awkward. I hate it. I usually just sit outside until my dad is done.

    I like how I said usually like this happens all the time. It has happened twice.

    But anyone who calls you stupid should be reported to the authorities!

  20. I can't believe the guy called you stupid! You should definitely report him to somebody!

  21. ughhhhh. that is the worst. and that second salesman? you should have junk punched him. I serious. what a douche.
    my husband has a friend who buys cars off the auction lot so we can get cars for dirt cheap. it doesn't help with selling them, but it sure makes buying awesome.
    hope you have better luck next time. But if I were you, I'd just fake sick. haha

  22. I hated this moment in your life for you. hated it.

  23. Oh no, i know how you feel! I've had soo much trouble trying to buy a car that i've now sworn never to step foot into a dealership. I ended up renting my car. I think you get a much better car for your money, even though it's not truly yours, but then you don't have the hassle of selling it either! I rent from a corporate car leasing company as i needed a vehicle for my business, but theres loads of rental companies for personal, individual use! I advise you take a look if you can't stand anymore hassle :)

  24. Oh dear. Maybe private sale is the way to go. I'm lucky that my music is wedded to me and as such is contractually obligated to do the dirty work for me. If you were anywhere near here I would loan his expertise. Good luck!

  25. Oh geez, we are trying to buy a car right now. I hope it goes better than that when we get to negotiations. The first place we went, "blankMax", the guy wouldn't speak to me, only my husband. I would ask a question and he would turn to my husband to answer. I want to say "hey dumbass, I did all the research, know as much about cars as him, and am probably going to be the one to make the decision and do the negotiating". It was icy and freezing out but we made him show us a bunch of cars so we could start to narrow it down, even though we would never buy from him. Seriously - this is 2013 - women know things!

  26. Wow, that's quite a story. Sorry you had to go through that. My husband and I recently purchased a new vehicle and while it was not to the extreme you faced, I would not say it was an overly pleasant experience. There just seems to be something about the car buying process that brings out the worst in people.

    Kourtney Heard @ Hansen Adkins


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