The other day I wrote about our decision to buy a new car. I also provided a roadmap for how we’re doing it. We’re in the market for a 2005 Honda CR-V LX with two-wheel drive and, as of that writing, we had come oh so close to finding the deal that we wanted. The sticking point was a previously undisclosed ‘processing fee’ of $299, which took the deal from really good to simply average.
What was particularly frustrating about this fee was that we’ve gone out of our way to give this guy our business. We had a really good buying experience with him the last time around, and we therefore centered our whole shopping strategy around giving him every opportunity to earn our business. And then he pulls something stupid like this. We were, of course, pretty pissed off when we caught wind of this fee, and we e-mailed him to (politely) let him know how we felt. His initial response was that all local Honda dealers charge this fee. That’s actually true, but we had asked for an itemized quote including all applicable charges, and he had never mentioned anything about this fee. When I laid this all out for him, he responded that he didn’t want to lose a customer over a ‘misunderstanding’ about hidden fees, and he agreed to sell it to us for the agreed upon price, with no additional fees.
All in all, we’re pretty happy with our deal. We’re getting the car for $125 over invoice/destination. While I realize that the invoice price generally overstates the dealer’s true cost due to things like dealer holdbacks and other possible incentives, we’re confident that we found the bottom of the market in our area. In fact, when I shopped this price to one of the other dealerships in our area, they not only stated that they couldn’t match it, but they further suggested that we pull the trigger before the dealership that offered it to us changed their mind. Yes, I’m sure the dealer is making some money on this, but I’m not averse to a win/win deal.
So what’s next? Well, we now have the out-the-door price (including tax, title and license) in writing and we’ve made a $500 credit card deposit to hold the car. We also have the VIN of the vehicle that we’re purchasing, although we haven’t laid eyes on it yet — it’s currently en route from Maryland. The deal is, of course, contingent on our inspection of the car and a final test drive, and the deposit is fully refundable. In fact, since the vehicle is due in so soon, they’re not even going to run our credit card for the deposit.
Now I just need to get our Driver’s Edge reward credits straightened out, as we’ll be cashing them in as soon as we sign on the dotted line.