Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Purchasing and trading in RVs

What an interesting, if somewhat frustrating experience this has been.

Two Friday evenings ago, we looked at a beautiful Four Winds class a Serrano model (diesel) motor home that seemed to fit our needs and desires to increase the size of our unit from our present 24 foot Winnebago class c model and provide a bedroom with a queen bed. Danny was thrilled with the exterior storage and the automatic leveling and automatic awning and the outside flat screen TV. I was thrilled by the luxury interior appointments, bath, and the large amount of clothing storage. I was not so thrilled by the placement of the galley at the front of the unit or the fact that the windows in the bedroom could only be opened when the slide out was out. But on the whole, I was ready to buy if the terms were right. The salesman was pretty positive that we could make the deal. The trade in offer for our Winnebago was fair.

The finance man at the dealer called the following day and nixed the monthly payment I was willing to make and asked for a sixteen thousand dollar down payment instead of the ten I offered in addition to trade in. I said I'd consider it. But I knew it was too much.

So, I said to the sales man on the phone basically, sorry no can do, and was ready to walk away. He urged me to come over and talk to the finance guy in person. We did. It didn't help.

"There's another floor plan of the same motor home," said the salesman, "slightly less expensive without a bedroom slide out that might fit your needs. It's at our New York outlet, but I have pictures."

We looked at the pictures. It had all of the same luxury appointments, a kitchen in the mid coach, and a bedroom with less clothes storage but an island queen bed and windows that opened. The price and payments and terms was acceptable. I put a small deposit down to hold it and the dealer said they'd ship it down in a few days. It took a full week to arrive but when we finally saw it on the following Saturday afternoon we liked it as much as we'd hoped we might. After examining it with fine toothed theoretical combs we gave each other thumbs up, trooping happily into the finance guys office to sign all the papers.

We were ready to leave just as soon as I wrote the check for the rest of the previously agreed ten thousand down payment. "That will be $38,000," said the finance man.

"What?!!" I said in horror. "I agreed to ten."

"No can do for that," said Mr Finance man.

"Thirty eight thousand is the pay off on my present loan not the down payment," I said. "I agreed to ten."

"You agreed to $16,500.00," said the finance guy. "On the phone last week. I said could you come up with that much and you agreed. Don't you remember?"

I shook my head. "No, I said only that I'd think about it. But anyway that was when we were talking about the other floor plan that was more expensive. When I was here last weekend the amount mentioned was ten for the unit we are negotiating for now."

"Can't be done for that," he repeated.

"Then the deals off," said I, ready to walk once more. In came the dealer manager. "There's been a misunderstanding," I said.

"I really want your Winnebago," he said. "We can work it out."

More negotiations followed. In the end, the manager gave me a bigger trade in amount, came down in price a little more, I agreed to eleven thousand for down payment and agreed to fork over the rebate for unused warranty (which I didn't know I was getting back anyway). We agreed to the terms. The demo and delivery day was set for eight days later since they were prepping for a large RV show and their service guys were backed up. I agreed that we would trade in the Winnebago on that day.

I thought all was well. We went off happily, in our present RV for a week end extended family wedding at the beach. We broke down on the road on the way, but that's another story.

On Monday morning the dealership finance manager called me. He informed me my driver's licence was expired. (Untrue, it was renewed in 2009). He said I needed to provide an insurance binder on the new RV before the bank would approve the loan and asked when we were bringing the old RV in for trade. I said, "When we pick up the new one."

He tried to talk me into bringing my Winnebago to the dealer right away. "We will lock it up but we need it on the lot to finalize the deal," he said.

"I'll talk to Danny and let you know," I replied. Both Danny and the insurance rep said not to give up possession of the present RV until the new one was in our possession.

"Deals fall through at the last minute all the time," said the insurance rep. "You could end up with your current one sold out from under you and nothing to show for it."

I called the dealer manager and informed him (again) that he would get his trade in when I got my new one. He agreed. The finance guy backed off. Then followed three days and six phone calls and three emails trying to get insurance information faxed to the dealer. Finally, today, that was accomplished. I THINK all is set. I THINK we are getting the new one next Wednesday. This has been educational, but not completely in a positive way. Stay tuned to the next episode where I will tell you about our roadside break down and how Danny, a computer expert, fixed the motor home.

PS 1: Watch finance guys as if they were spiders. They are as sneaky and out for blood.

PS 2: FYI: Winnebago Views (diesel) from 2006 are in demand for resale right now. The value stays high. Buying a used one was a great choice as an entry RV.

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