Sunday, April 20, 2008

Used Car = New Car

Audi Turbo something, something.

For the last year and a half I would go through little cycles of being sick and tired of paying an arm and a leg to fill up our Jeep Grand Cherokee just so I can drive it to fill up again. The Jeep has been our family car for years but in the last six months whenever we go somewhere that takes longer than 15 min. we would transfer all 3 car seats to Matt's car, a little Honda Civic, to save money. A pain but well worth it. So in these cycles I would say-"that's it, I'm getting a new car!". One that I can drive and not feel bad that I'm wasting our precious moolah. This little cycle was different you see. Because I followed through with my plan. I usually look for two or three days at used cars, but give up because I can't find what I'm looking for in my price range of $0, or I missed the one good deal. You have to be quick and on the ball if you are using Craig's List. I am neither. But this time was different. I didn't quit after day two, I looked out of my price range, and we ended up with a car on day three. It was fun and scary.

A list of why we thought we were getting scammed:
-First of all the sweet, nice guy had a heavy accent. So already you are on your toes hanging on every word to make sure you hear everything right. I mean you don't want to miss a word, what if he was telling you something was wrong with the car?
-It was listed as a 2000, we found out it is 1999.
-Again the accent, we asked where he was from. He said Australia, but it was not a Australian accent.
-He said it was his family car for the last few years, we found out he had it for 3 weeks. He had bought it March 30th--we bought it from him April 18th.
-He said it drove great in the snow-did he ever get a chance to drive it in the snow?
-Told us all the miles were highway from driving to Las Vegas so much, in the last three weeks--I don't think so.
-His name is Matt, the title had the name Zach on it. He first said his brother's name is Zach, then said, "people here, they sometimes call me Zach. Or Matt."
-The big one for me was the miles per gallon. It was listed to get 32-33. I was so happy. For some reason I decided to look it up on mpgbuddy and it said like 27 on highway. We gave it a baby test the other day and it was 29 almost 30. We need to take it on a little road trip to see for sure if we really want to keep it or not. This is the main reason I wanted a new car, for good gas mileage.
-He told us to meet him at his house behind Taco Bell- we get there to find a new empty shopping center where all the stores are still up for sale, they are really empty. There was one jewelry store, I don't think he lives there.
-In the back of the car there were two other license plates, just floating around. One from CA and one from UT. Does he just randomly attach plates to cars?
-When he cleaned out the car--glovebox, rear, cd changer--he seemed pretty clueless about what was in there. Stuff like lipstick, cds (Scorpions? Julio Iglesias?), a checkbook with someone else's name on it!, a AAA card also with someone else's name, car documents that were from a different car, etc.
-Matt drove him down some scary back roads in Orem Utah. Yes, it's true. There are scary back roads in Utah. I was afraid for his life. And that I would never see the money or the car again.
-He had Matt drop him off at his girlfriend's house. No one was there and he kept walking.
-Matt, right after buying it said he didn't feel right about it so turned right back around to try and trade back.
-Matt asked for his cell phone number so we could get ahold of him. Matt called the number while Matt (the seller) was in our car- or is it Zach- and let it ring, but there was no ringing sound to be heard in the car. It didn't call his phone even after three tries. So Matt asked him to call his cell phone and it rang in as one of those dang private numbers.
-While we were test driving it he said someone else really wanted it, him to hold it for him, and he would give him like 2000 more dollars. Was he genius in telling us this so we would hurry and buy it? And why would he then sell it to us for 100 less?
-In the end Matt called him on the owning it for only three weeks thing and he did say he was just trying to make some money off of it. So why not hold it for the guy who'd pay more?
-During the three weeks that he had it, he never registered it. So the title was actually being "reassigned" to us. Weird--we've never dealt with that before, though we've only ever bought CA cars.

Anyway (this is Matt now), most of that stuff got clarified, at least a little bit, and we found out in the end that he was an honest guy. A lot of misunderstandings, some of them probably cultural, others probably actual little white lies. Others remain mysterious.
- Supposedly he really thought it was a 2000.
- He was born/raised in Poland (and it definitely was a Russian accent), and then moved to Australia. But I think he said he was in Poland for only a few (four or so) years, which isn't enough to affect an accent the rest of your life, so who knows.
- Zach really is his brother's name. He was on the title like a cosigner, from what I understand.
- Behind Taco Bell there really are some new apartments, but the driveway is hidden.
- The backroads in Orem were a shortcut. And they really were.
- He said his girlfriend wasn't home. He was on the phone when I picked him up, apparently calling her to see where she was.
- Has two cell phones, one he claimed was a "work" phone. That phone number did actually work, and though he didn't answer it the following morning when I called, he did call me back.
- He was just trying to make a little money. Maybe he's a car-flipper--he knew an awful lot about Utah law when it came to car buying.

I ended up talking with him a lot and telling him all my concerns, and though we didn't communicate *perfectly* well, we did end up trusting each other in the end. I even called the previous owners with a few questions, and things sounded okay. I went to the DMV the following morning, and everything went just fine. The car is now officially ours. I just need to get an emissions and safety check, which I expect it to pass.

Here it is:


spring said...

Oh my gosh, great story! I love the car, it is wonderful! Amy you have a way with words. The story was funny and frightening and I couldn't wait to see how it turned out. When did you actually get the car? How much did you pay for it? What are you going to do with the jeep? Does it fit the car seats better? Will you use it for your drives to California? Love you and am happy for you, Nana

moonshinejunkyard said...

it is seriously the craziest story...the guy sounds like a nut job in a kind of fun way. i like the comment about his name/his brother's name/his nickname (?) weirdly wonderful stuff. he sounds pretty tricky and interesting. maybe he does just sell cars quickly to make money but then how did you guys get a good deal on it? because i suspect you did get a very good deal. it is a beautiful car. so perfect for the little fam. CONGRATS!

Glory Watts said...

I'm glad everything seems to be turning out O.K. Paul and I were so worried for you guys. It's a pretty car! It will be nice to take road trips with all that extra space.

Tara said...

I usually don't read long blog entries, but this one....I couldn't resist! great story, you had me wondering if you actually bought the car or not. very cute, glad it worked out in the end. :)