It would seem that these days, buying a car from the showroom shouldn’t be too difficult. It should be as routine as buying your favourite roll from the bakery. You enter the showroom, buy, and leave, and the happy salesperson moves heaven and earth to satisfy you (they’re on commission!). Well, I recently found out that such a transaction can be an amazing adventure and spending $25 thousand isn’t as easy as it may seem. Don’t believe it? Listen...

A red bow, or what the client (doesn’t) expect

DESCRIPTION OF THE SITUATION

I decided to buy a car. It’s normal - people do it every day. I approached it just like buying a dress. I chose the brand, model, colour, and accessories that were within my budget. It was my dream car, configured for my needs (after a few weeks of browsing various offers and promotions). It seemed just perfect, like a premium dress hunted down on promotion, one that makes your eyes look glamorous and takes ten years off the rest. Once everything was selected, all there was to do was place an order.

The salesperson greeted me at the showroom door with a wide smile. I was invited to a comfortable couch, where a television and newspapers made my waiting time more pleasant. A very kind lady offered me a pastry and made a cappuccino. I felt like I could sit there for hours. I certainly didn’t think it would be an unlucky day. I ordered the car, got the necessary documents, and made an advance payment. All I had to do was wait to pick it up. The car was supposed to be ready for pickup just before Christmas, like a gift from Santa Claus. If I had to rate the sales process after that day, I’d have given it a full five stars. However, I forgot the very well-known proverb, ‘don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched’.

PROBLEM

The problems began a month before I was supposed to pick up the car. The salesperson informed me that for unknown reasons, my car was left out of the production plan. That meant there would be a one-month delay. That meant I would have to change my plans for the winter holidays. I was told:

Well, Monika, there’s nothing we can do about it. Perhaps you’d like to buy something similar?”

I didn’t want to. ‘My’ car was already mine. I didn’t want another one, plucked from some parking lot somewhere. That wasn’t what the whole game was about. Changing the date irritated me, so I decided to make a complaint. The dealer directed me to the importer. The importer replied that the deadline listed in the contract was not binding. Spitefully, I asked whether the other conditions in the contract - such as the price - were binding as well. That ironic question turned out to be prophetic.

At the end of January, I was notified that my car was ready for pickup. Hurray! Well, not really ...

“Monika, the car is ready to be picked up, but I’m afraid you will have to pay an additional $1,500 on top of the contract price. The promotional price was only valid last year and...”

I didn’t listen any further. Full of adrenaline, I jumped off the couch. In an ice-cold voice, I announced that I would not pay even one dollar more, because the change of the date was not my fault. The dealer again directed me to the importer.

And now the most interesting part begins, dear salespeople, because this article is addressed to you. Read carefully what happened later and draw conclusions. I’ve already done that.

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