I went and looked at a used car on Saturday. I don’t need a car, I have a good one for now (2015 Santa Fe AWD Sport). I am fortunate that I won enough on my last trip in Vegas to put a huge chunk down on it and have very reasonable payments. Anyway, there is a car that I have always wanted and while looking at a newspaper I saw an ad for used cars that had one of these in it. It is an Isuzu Amigo, soft top with manual trans. I know, not a ‘vette, but I drove one a few times and always loved it. I haven’t seen one at a dealer in ages, just beat up versions in private sales. Figured it has to at least run for them to try and sell it instead of wholesaling it, so after a talk with the wife, I decide to go check it out.
I get there and the dealership is barren. By that I mean no people! On a Saturday they should be crawling with potential customers, but I was one of 2 people there at that moment. A sales guy walks out and finally the dance begins. I point at the vehicle and figure I would let him feel important so I say “Tell me about this one”. He gets it pretty much correct and after I let him have his few minutes I tell him I would like to test drive it. The next dance steps of license and insurance card out of the way, off I go!
The car drives very nice. It had the 6-cyl in it and the pick up was pretty good. The trans shifted smoothly and the clutch had a good feel. The ride was pretty good and the condition of the car was excellent, especially considering that it was a 1998! There was only one spot of rust on the back tailgate and even underneath looked pretty good. They were asking $3999 for it, which was about $500 higher than anywhere else I had seen, but it was in better shape than most I have seen So the next phase of the dance arrives. I counter with $3400, cash. They come back and say that they can’t budge on a cash deal but if I took out a loan they might be able to move a bit. Now here is the problem. Several years back when I had to close MY print shop, I had to file a business bankruptcy. Being an S Corp, that also involved personal bankruptcy, even though the only things written off were business related. So I still had that on my credit history. I counter back with if I do a loan, I will only take it for $2000 for no more than 18 months. I’ll add $1500 cash to make it $3500. I get my lower price, you get your loan. My thinking is that I will make 3 or 4 months of payments (always looks good on credit history) then pay it off. They seem to like this offer so off it goes to the magic finance guy where they try and figure out how to screw me without me figuring it out.
Perhaps 30 minutes later the guys comes back. The finale of this routine is upon us. Their offer is $3500 (like I said), $1500 down (like I said) and a $2000 loan for 18 months. Awesome! Then he tells me that the loan payments would be $200 a month for those 18 months. Wait, what? Now I am no math major but that doesn’t sound right. So I pull out my phone and use the handy calculator feature on it and figure out that their loan offer would be at 85% interest rate! OK, I know the bankruptcy on my credit report would result in a higher interest rate, but I was thinking like 19%, not 85%. So I just look at the guy and say “Really?” He stares back at me like he doesn’t know what I am saying so I just ask to speak to the finance guy. He tells me that he is unavailable at this moment so I finally just said that so is my wallet and left. I didn’t have the strength to go all postal on him. I guess they really didn’t want to sell a car that day. Like I said, I WANTED the car, I didn’t NEED the car. Maybe I go back in a month and see if it is still there, then offer him $2500…