BMW for Sale: $10,000
I had a nice, paid-off, 2004 Jeep Liberty. It was rugged, but sporty. It hauled my dog, my kid, my stuff, and myself and it never complained. I called it my Trusty Jeep. It was good to me. But, one day, after I’d packed all of my belongings worth packing into this Trusty Jeep and moved to the beach in Florida, got myself a gorgeous apartment and an equally gorgeous Fiance who held down a good paying job, I thought to myself that I was ready for an upgrade to match my life upgrade. And what came to mind? A BMW. It’s beautiful, it’s sleek, it’s comfortable, and it’s luxurious with it’s leather seats and all it’s powerful functions. I was ready.
I found the one that I wanted and I went to the dealership that had it. Oh, and look! They advertise “guaranteed financing”, too! There it was parked out front being showcased- in all it’s beauty, just waiting for me to take the driver’s seat. I did. It purred happily as I turned it over. It wanted me- I wanted it. A perfect match!
The only sticker price I saw was “$399 DOWN” Well, I wasn’t going to be putting just $399 down. I had a bigger chunk of change to lay down on this baby. $4000 to be exact. I thought that surely it’d be mine. I was right, but not without stipulation. Two hours later and my Fiance and I were sitting in front of a guy that didn’t exactly scream “professional” to me. But, hey- look at where we’re at. It was the BMW that I wanted and it so happened to be here. Guaranteed financing, right? What more could I expect?
Three hours later and I still haven’t found out the price of the car. I was asked how much I’d like to put down and then the financing would be done for me, automatically and “in-house”. I expected to pay around $6-7,000, so any financing that could be done, I’d take it. I planned to pay the rest off in a couple of months anyway. As the numbers were thrown at me, and I mean more like hurled into my face, we were appalled at what we heard.
$4000 down, plus the APR, plus dealer fees…you’re getting a good deal here, folks. Your payments will only be $400 a month.
WHAT? And, when my Fiance asked the salesman to slow down, that he didn’t understand, the guy said in a mocking tone,”Well, numbers are numbers. It’s simple math. ” Obviously, we were offended and ready to walk out on the deal.
“So, the total price of the car is…?”
I was disappointed. Every other BMW we’d looked at were all within the same $7,000 or less price range. So, he adjusted our payments down to $350. I still wasn’t satisfied. But, we’d been there 6 hours…we’d been told to wait, wait, and wait. It was now dark and my six-year-old was begging for food. I’d sold the Trusty Jeep the day before for the cost of my down payment on this new car. I had to drive off of the lot in something. I figured with it’s leather seats and perfect exterior it may be worth almost that. And, the salesman promised to knock off some of the interest when we came back in a couple of months to pay it off. This was all in a I-don’t-believe-you-tone. The whole process, actually was shocking. We had to practically beg for that car.
In retrospect, I realize now what kind of place we had been shopping at. A lady I spoke to while I was there mentioned her multiple prior repossessions. Thinking back, I should have known. The only kind of customer they serve there are the kind with bad credit and not much cash to throw down. I don’t think those people even realize what “APR” means. We were promised around 18%- which is high. But, I thought that the salesman’s promise of knocking off the interest when we came to pay it off was the key to not paying those finance charges. I was very wrong.
My Fiance said, “If it’s the one you want, let’s just buy it. It’s worth it if you really like it. We can afford it.”
As we signed our paperwork, we were handed one that said “ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PURCHASE OF VEHICLE CONTAINING PAST DUE STARTER INTERRUPT AND/OR ELECTRONIC TRACKING (GPS) DEVICE AS CONDITION OF SALE”
This was the last straw. There was NO WAY I was going to be tracked everywhere I go and then allow someone to keep my car from starting and leave me stranded somewhere if there was a mistake in payment. But, the salesman assured me that the car did NOT have a starter interrupter, only a location device. I wasn’t happy with this, but again, I decided to deal with it for a couple of months until the car was paid off.
The salesman promised us that he would fix a few minor, miscellaneous problems with the car free of charge. So, we paid him and drove off- almost. There I am, in the drivers seat, feeling down and like I might be making a mistake, when I start the car and turn the headlights on. We’d been there so long that it was now dark. One of the headlights was out! $11,000 for this car and the headlight is out? Luckily, they agreed to replace it, but we had to go get it ourselves.
Thirty minutes later and I’m finally on the road in my new, pretty BMW. But, wait. That’s not the end of my story. The day I bought that car, I was upside down. Fast forward one month. The first payment is due and my Fiance found two oil leaks and I found a problem with the sun roof. I reluctantly spend the $350 and chaulk it up to “only a couple of months”. I asked the lady taking my payment when the issues with the car can be fixed. She tells me that we will be responsible for 50% of the cost of repairs. Excuse me, lady? So, they’re going to rip me off for the total price of the car and then do it again on the issues that were promised to be fixed? I call the salesman directly. He says he remembers promising us this, but that our warranty of 30 days has expired. Then he puts my Fiance on hold for ten minutes and never comes back to the phone or calls us back. The lady taking payments apologizes for him later.
Fast forward to one month after that, present day. (Hello, there!) I get a call with the salesman on the other line. He says that my first payment fell through and that I now owe the first month, plus this one. Worst of all, it’s due on the same day as my rent. Yay. I’ve had it with these people, now. They sell me an over priced car and now they claim that I owe them almost $1,000. Hell no. I investigate the credit card payment failure. I tell them that the mistake on the first payment happened because I was using an old credit card that was still registered in my home state. It was thought to be fraud, so the money was disputed and taken back. Okay, so I make another payment using my check card. The next morning I’m called again and told that this payment was rejected by the owner of the dealership and that he will not accept any more payments from me until I come in with the full amount due. I opt to tell him about my experience thus far.
When I tell him about the issues that haven’t been fixed, he asks, “Did you get it in writing?” Then I proceed to tell him about how his salesman has been very unprofessional. (He unprofessionally calls afterward asking how he had been unprofessional.) I’m done. SO DONE. In an attempt to sever ties with this company, I ask if I can bring the car back and swap it out for a different one on their lot that’s cheaper. I tell him that I will bring extra money and pay for the swapped car in full, using the $4,000 down payment I’d already made on my BMW. He refuses. I ask him if he can lower the total price of the car since him and I both know that he took advantage of me and ripped me off. He refuses and says that I have until Tuesday to pay.
After this unsuccessful phone call, I read over my contract to find many discrepancies. The vehicle was equipped with a starter interrupter and my APR rate is actually 28%. The total price of the car will be $13,000, not $11,000. The salesman had an opportunity to fill in what he promised us he would fix the day of the sale on one of the pages in our contract, but skipped right over it. So, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s office. I also called my grandmother for her advice. She’s helped me out of many legal situations before and she’s always been a constant in my ever changing life. She advises me to hire a lawyer to stop the illegal repossession or she will offer him $5,000 cash and call it even. I opt for the lawyer because I don’t want to let this asshole win.
I unknowingly signed a contract waiving my right to go to court. Arbitration is all that I am legally allowed to do and the lawyer needed will cost at least $2,000 just for his services. I would likely have to become current and then make my car payments in the meantime. So, I decide to offer him the $5,000 first. He refuses and then says that because I’ve threatened him with legal action he will be coming to repossess my car. So, I offer him a $6,000 certified cashier’s check. He accepts. The total cost of the car has now cost me $10,000. I know he didn’t pay a penny over $4,500 for it to begin with and it’s not worth any more than $7,000.
It’s settled now, but that asshole ultimately won. I’m taking a $3,000 loss on the car and he gets to keep running his shady business as usual. I’ll never buy another car from a dealership like that ever again. On a happier note, I left a bad review for his company in every spot on the internet that I could find.