Thursday, June 12, 2008

It Seems Assuming Really Does Make an Ass Out of You and Me – Well, Me Anyway

Back in 2000 I purchased a used Saturn. Well my parents purchased it for me but those little details are irrelevant. And if you want to be particular, my grandmother who had just passed away actually bought me the car as it was her money. Anyway, I remember at the time we were concerned about a small chip in the windshield. They kindly informed us that the service department sandblasted it and that the windshield therefore did not need to be replaced. Ok, well they sandblasted it at least. They seemed to care and did a thorough job of cleaning the car up and fixing any problems before I drove the car back to my humble abode. Quite a pleasant experience I must say.

That car was actually three years old when I took ownership but since it was given a thorough tune-up, all was well and I kept that lovely green automobile for the next 8 years. Eventually, after ten trips down to the Sunshine state and over 100,000 miles it was time to say goodbye to Meg. That’s the name I gave my car but soon regretted. Anyway, I said goodbye to Meg back in March and traded her in for a whole $400. I had been through so much with her and I just sold her for 400 bucks like a prostitute. It wasn’t easy since I knew she would be heading for the chop shop but you gotta do what you gotta do. Sorry Meg.

I had wanted initially to purchase a brand new car which I could really call my own. However, financially it seemed best to go with a slightly used car. I found one on the dealer website that was the model and color I had been searching for and it was only a year old. What a steal – or so I thought. Against my will, I took it for a test drive and all seemed well. I bought it and as soon as I got home the trouble began. First off, they had forgotten to engrave the window which is a security measure that I happened to pay an additional $800 for. You better damn well etch my windows. We had to drive immediately back to have it done. Actually, prior to this I noticed I was having trouble moving the passenger side mirror but that magically fixed itself. Problem averted.

Next up, after about a week of having this new, as of yet unnamed car, I noticed that the wiper blades are completely useless. The one on the driver’s side leaves three huge smears right in the line of sight. Great. So glad I can see in the rain while doing 70 miles per hour on the highway in the dark. My mother happened to run into someone who worked at the dealership and he informed her that they never replace wipers on the used cars before selling them but they would happily put them on if I bought them there. Uh duh! Really?

So today I go for my first oil change and also inform the service manager that I would like new wiper blades since it seems mine are both pieces of shit that they never felt the need to replace before selling me the car. Well, I didn’t say all of that but he said ok, that will be another $40. Ugh! I take a seat in their nowhere near as nice as Saturn waiting area where a certain someone happened to be on TV. Thank goodness everyone else left and I was able to change the channel. Conjuring up bad memories while already in an annoyed state would not have been a good idea. Especially since my mood was about to get progressively worse.

As is everyone sitting in the waiting area’s worst nightmare, the service guy came over to talk to me. He told me that my tires were wearing down and I am in dire need of a tire rotation and alignment. All I could think of was that fact that I had only driven the car for 3 months. How could I possibly have worn down the tires so much? Turns out they don’t do any tire maintenance before selling you a car either. Another $20 added to the growing total.

Sitting and growing angry, the man comes to talk to me again. He now informs me that my brake pads are literally almost gone and it is crucial that they be replaced now. I tell him to hold off and he says I can’t because they are just that bad. Again, here I was thinking I had been driving around for all of 3 months. How could I have worn down my pads in 3 months? Growing in anger, the next time he came back (to try to get me to buy ridiculous car accessories mind you) I asked him the question that was burning a hole in my head. So I guess you guys don’t fix or replace ANY of the wear parts before you sell these cars to people? He basically told me that as long as they pass inspection, everything is butterflies and rainbows. Even if the parts are nearing disaster but are deemed ok, they will sell you the car and the buyer is never the wiser UNTIL you go for service. Fan-F-ing-tastic!

It only got better when he told me I was due for my 30,000 mile service which costs $525. I left there angry and bitter and wishing I had gotten a brand new car, not from that dealer. I had assumed that like Saturn, although I was purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, it would at least have been thoroughly checked out and all the little wear parts would have been replaced. What an ass I am. Never again. I learned my lesson.

To anyone out there buying a used car, ask ask ask lots of questions before you sign that not-so-dotted line. Buying a slightly used car may end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

Signing Off Angry and Bitter,

Jill E.

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