Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dealers and Road Trips and Cars. Oh My!

We have a new car!  Well a new, old car, but it's new to us.

When our 1998 van wouldn't start on Monday morning, we knew it was time to get a second car.  We've been talking about buying one ever since Mr. B. came home from Iraq in November.  His job with the military has kept him busy since he's been back.  Very busy.  It's kept him away from home, along with the car, not just through the regular work week, but also he's had to spend two weekends every month working since he's been back.  It's a busy schedule.  A schedule which leaves me at home, in the country, in the middle of nowhere, with no vehicle.  No way to go grocery shopping, take the dogs to the vet, or myself to doctor's appointments or to the library or, or, or....  We have managed, but it has certainly, not, been an ideal situation.

Monday morning was a sign.  A sign that we had to get another car.  Fast!

Figuring that the problem was electrical, Mr B. hooked the van up to the battery charger, came inside, called his office to let them know the situation and that he wouldn't be in. He went to the computer and started a serious used car search.  Four hours later, we had found a what sounded like a good car at a lot in Peoria.  We called the U.S.A.A. and arranged for financing and let the insurance company know that we would be calling them to add another car to the policy.  Good progress!  To top it off, the van started!

Off we went to buy our new car.  The dealer was waiting for us and took us right over to the car, so that we could have a look and  a test drive.  Everything seemed fine and we went inside to sign the papers.  We told the dealer we had our own financing through U.S.A.A., and handed him the paperwork that we had printed out detailing everything, including the fact that the U.S.A.A. would draft them a cheque and send it to them immediately, through the computer.  He took the paperwork to their finance guy.  When he came back he said it all looked good, but they would have to hold the car for 10 days, until the bank draft cleared!!!!!


What the?

Mr. B. got on the phone with U.S.A.A. and told them the situation.  The girl on the other end, said, "Say what?!  Let me talk to the finance guy."  The salesman took Mr. B.'s phone into the finance guy.  We joked about the situation, while he was gone, comparing it to us crying to our moms, who then were chewing the mean man out.  lol   Well, the phone came back and Mr. B. spoke to the U.S.A.A. girl again.  The dealership wasn't going to change their minds about the bank draft, even though it was a "bank" draft, from a financial institution.  She said to Mr. B., "You do of course, have options.  You can wait the 10 days, but I don't advise it.  You can leave and go to our website and look on our list of affiliated car dealerships for a car.  Our affiliates will accept our bank drafts and will have you driving off the lot in your new car the same day."

Needless to say, her second option sounded awesome.  We left.

We drove home, got on the computer again and searched the U.S.A.A. website.  We hadn't even known that they had car dealership affiliates.  They have amazing deals.  Every car we looked at online was rated as a really, really, really amazingly good buy by Edmunds.  The only issue was that the affiliates are in major cities.  The closest was Chicago, which is three and a half hours from us.

Wednesday, Mr. B. took leave and we hit the road for Chicago.  The van was being surprisingly co-operative.  It was as if it was all meant to be.  We stopped and picked up donuts and coffee, because what is a road trip, if even a short one, without junk food.  Four hours later we drove up to the dealership in Chicago.  Everything went smoothly.  The finance girl printed out the bank draft from U.S.A.A., filled in the amount and that was that.  We called our insurance company to have them add the car instantly to our policy.  We were handed the keys to the car.  Smooth as silk.

We now own a 2010 Toyota Corolla LE, for just a little more than what we would have spent at the first dealership for a 2005 Toyota.  Amazing.  I love U.S.A.A..

I got to drive the car home.  We became very well acquainted over the four hour trip and are good friends now.

We are officially a two vehicle family, well once the van gets out of the shop, that is.  I couldn't be happier.


Happy Easter!

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