We Tried to Buy a Car

As I’ve mentioned, DH needs a newer, more reliable vehicle.  It’s not a desperate need at this point, but we’re keeping our eyes open for a deal.  During a recent browse of Autotrader, a potential deal popped up, and we decided to go check it out.

ridgelineIt was a 2014 truck for $25,900.  In pictures online it looked pristine.  In person it had a lot of dings, dents, and scratches, but nothing we couldn’t look past if the price was right.  We took it for a test drive and absolutely loved it.  Especially the fact that it would fit both carseats comfortably.  We’ve been eyeing this particular make and model for several years and were thrilled to find one within financial reach.  The few minor issues gave us a chance to negotiate.  Like you do.  Or did in the past….

After the test drive, the salesman sat us down to go over the numbers, or so we thought.

How are you looking to pay?

It depends on the price.

Well I can’t discuss price until I know the payment terms.

I need to know a price before I decide how to pay.

He proceeds to go chat with his “finance manager”, who I assume was the dealership owner, and quite an asshole to boot.  The salesman comes back about 5 minutes later.

If you decide to finance, how much would you put down?

Probably around $3,000.

Okay, that’s good.  What kind of monthly payment were you looking for?

No more than $350, if we were to finance at all.

He took that information to the “finance manager” and came back asking us to fill out some information on the computer.  This is when the warning bells starting going off in my head.  I repeatedly stated I do NOT want to run our credit.  I wanted to discuss pricing before taking it any further.  The salesman acknowledged this and said no problem, they just need our information in the system in order to “transfer” us to the “finance manager” to discuss pricing.

I was reluctant and once again clarified with the salesman that this was not to run our credit.  DH on the other hand, ‘bless his heart‘, was overly excited and didn’t think twice before clicking submit on the form.  I just had a gut feeling things weren’t going well after that point.  Trust your gut people.  Trust your gut!

About 20 minutes later the salesman escorts us to the “finance managers” office.  We sit down.  He has a piece of paper with numbers scribbled all over it.  All of a sudden my phone begins to go crazy.  Ping! Ping! Ping!

I was getting notifications via email and text from Capital One and Credit Karma: a new credit inquiry alert!  I WAS LIVID!  They ran our credit despite us stating NO multiple times!!  At this point I was ready to walk out, but DH really loved the truck, and if we could get a good price….we may as well.

The “finance manager” then has the nerve to tell us congratulations, we’ve approved you for the loan.  I spoke up and said I never agreed to apply for a loan when we haven’t even discussed a price yet.  Then he cops an attitude…

The price is already set.  This is the price.  

Referring to a price scribbled on a piece of copy paper – this price is also $2,000 higher than the price advertised online.  Unacceptable, especially when the salesman lead us to believe we were coming to negotiate with the “finance manager”.  DH finally spoke up and said he’s not interested in paying that price, because the truck needs some work.  The guy asks what we’re willing to pay and DH offered up $22,000 out the door.   The “finance manager” laughed.  He laughed.  Then said no way could they do that.  He proceeded to call in another guy to the office.

Apparently this guy handles their inventory.  He claimed the full price was what they paid for it at auction.  I immediately called bullshit, pointing out the online price difference that their dealership advertised.  No way a dealership is selling a highly sought after model vehicle for exactly what they paid for it.  DH once again offered up $22,000 out the door – cash or finance.  It was met with even more condescending laughter.  We got up and walked out.

I’m still fuming that they ran our credit without permission.  It dinged my score 15 points and DH 11 points.  I’m going to be writing to the credit bureaus to dispute this inquiry.  It’s a “hard pull inquiry” which has clearly affected our scores.  Something I have worked very hard to maintain (mine) and vastly improve (DH’s). Also each of our reports are showing 3 hard pull inquiries thanks to this one place.

Cash is not king.  Places want you to finance, because banks give companies incentives for every loan they open.  It’s disgusting.  Cash works for private sales, no doubt about that.  But we’re wanting a newer, warrantied vehicle.  The search continues.

My mother had a similar experience  several months ago when she bought her 2015 Toyota.  They would not negotiate or give a discount for a cash purchase ($40k car!)  If she financed, they offered a $6,000 discount.  Absolute insanity.  She ended up paying cash just to avoid the hassle of a loan and they still ran her credit!  (Personally, for $6k savings I would have financed and paid off the following month…)

*We’d only finance for the right price and a decent interest rate.  Make sure there is no early pay off penalty.  Our plan is to pay off the loan in full once rental house is sold, rather than emptying liquid savings. 


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8 Responses to We Tried to Buy a Car

  1. Kyle says:

    Ugh, I’m so sorry you guys had to go through that! I have to say, I literally sighed with relief when you said you walked out. That sounds like the definition of a scummy dealership, and they don’t deserve your business. I hope you can find something for DH soon!!


  2. RRR says:

    I would write a bad review online with your experience. That’s probably the only way that they will stop this terrible behavior.


    • Oh yes I should have mentioned this. We left a review on Yelp and it was removed. We tried to leave a review on their company FB page, but they don’t have that option visible!


      • kayobee says:

        I would google the dealership name plus the word review, and submit the same review at every site that comes up. Many states license and regulate car dealers, and you can submit a formal complaint. Listing the vehicle at a price they won’t honor should also be reported to your state consumer protection agency.


  3. We’ve got finding a newer car (our trusty little corolla isn’t going to fit 3 carseats lol) in our immediate future also and this post reminded me of all the reasons I am dreading when we have to get out there and start negotiating! I don’t think I’ve ever had a pleasant experience at a dealership and absolutely hate that they continue to hound you if you walk away.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve financed but is it true that you have a certain amount of time after the first loan application credit check where you can shop around for other loans and not have it further damage your credit? The last time I financed I got pre-approved for a loan at a great interest rate through my credit union and then went into the dealership. I told them I was financing, negotiated a decent price and then told them I would be using my own bank to finance.

    Best of luck to you in your search!


    • I did read that you have 14 days after the initial inquiry to shop around and it shouldn’t affect your credit any further. We didn’t though, because no other deals have come up. 😦 It’s on the backburner for now, such a frustrating experience.

      Is your Corolla in good condition other than just not fitting car seats? Have you tried those slim-fit style car seats? I debated needing a new car due to 2 car seats. I found a deal on the Diono Radian RXT seats and can fit 3 across very easily in my tiny Honda backseat. While pricey, they were cheaper than a new vehicle. Good luck!!


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