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26 November 2009 @ 01:17 pm
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So we drove out to Ontario to look at the blue 2005 Prius with 65k miles on it. I finally figured out how to get the Edmunds pricing to account for mileage and options and such. I put in all the options they listed in their add, and then "optimistically" picked "average" instead of "clean" for the status of the car. That came out to an estimated retail value of $13.2k, vs the $14.4k they were asking for. We got out there and found that "average" was a quite reasonable evaluation of the car. It was dinged up in lot of spots, there were a couple very minor dents, and a lot of smudges and scratches on the upholstery inside. Then, as soon as we turned the car on the "maintenance required" light came on, although the car seemed to drive fine. (Edit: Oh yeah, and when we checked a little later the rear tires were worn down to the "replace" level =P)

After the test drive they promised they could get the maintenance thing taken care of by the end of the day, and then we started haggling. They rounded down from the internet price and started at $14.3k, and i started out at $12k, though i didn't stay there for very long. shelleycat says i did a pretty good job of negotiating, but eventually we ended up at an impasse with me at $13.3k ($100 above the Edmunds estimate) and them at $13.7k ($600 below their starting price.) I'd gone from $13.2 to $13.3 in the last round, but he'd just repeated the $13.7, so we walked out.

So tomorrow i guess i get to rent a car and look at some other prospects. What fun =P
 
 
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
 
Pava: AD_TeachersFightingjmpava on November 26th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
So, you going to rent a car for less then the $500 you didn't get this car for? Or does that not matter for whatever reason. How much is your time taking the bus for a month valued at, anyway.

(Ignore me, I'm just getting a irrelevantly frustrated reading your continuing saga of this, and the amount of hoops you are jumping through and the amount of inconvenience and lost time over... what? $500? And yes, the car wasn't perfect. But if you are going to insist on explicit used price points, they won't be perfect. Take your pick)
Beth Leonardbeth_leonard on November 27th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
It depends.

On the one hand, it's a time-money trade off rather directly. You spend longer shopping, you will find a better deal.

On the other hands, there's the thrill of the hunt, the knowledge that you could got the best deal and that you're not always second-guessing yourself every time you step into your new car.

I'm not quite getting "thrill" vibes from donaithnen's posts, but there is a subtle undercurrent that doing it right is at least interesting (although frustrating) to him. I myself have an absolutely horrible time spending more than $100 on anything without a third opinion, and the hunt is more of a lesser of two evils (the other being regretting that I bought the wrong thing) than so I do sympathize to his plight.

--Beth
DonAithnendonaithnen on November 27th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Thanks for saying a lot of the things i might have said if i'd seen this earlier :)

In this particular case, the fact that the maintenance light came on when we test drove the car was not a big plus. And he started out with "well maybe the service people are open today" to "we can definitely get it fixed today," which i was kind of leery about given my experience with maintenance lights on my old car. I definitely would have been willing to pay more if not for that and a few other minor things.

Oh yeah, it doesn't really relate to the negotiations, but shelleycat and i were both kind of surprised that when we noticed the worn tire treads after the first time the salesperson left us alone to go do whatever in the back, when we mentioned it to him he immediately said "well if you keep looking at it you'll keep finding things wrong with it!" which is probably _true_ for all used cars, but doesn't seem like the kind of thing a salesperson ought to admit :)
Pavajmpava on November 27th, 2009 07:17 am (UTC)
Then I would ask why are you looking at random uncertified used cars if you are concerned about setting yourself up for high maintenance in the future. It doesn't make sense.
Pava: Osaka Sez!jmpava on November 27th, 2009 07:23 am (UTC)
I mention the time tradeoff since he CONSTANTLY complains about not having the time to play games he wants to play, watch things he wants to watch and read books he wants to read. Always. Is it worth taking time to get a decent deal? Of course. But whats the worth of all the days/weekends/evenings spent unable to relax and do the things you want to do? Is that not worth anything? At what point is the difference between a decent deal and THE BEST POSSIBLE DEAL (tm) worth all the extra time spent on something that is keeping you from the things you want to do? At what point is it the difference worth getting up at 4am for a month to take the bus into work. At what difference is it worth waiting an extra month to get the car situation settled and be able to get on to something else?

There's a perception with many of my friends (at least, that's what it comes across as) that the ONLY important item is the cost, and it doesn't matter how long you take or what inconveniences you go through in the meantime so long as you get the best cost on the item. To me, this mindset would severly undervalue the cost of one's free time and convenience. How important is the 'better deal', basically. Is there a point at which the difference in deal doesn't matter anymore?

ETA: Is this car the best for him? I don't know. It sounds kinda sketchy, honestly - but then I wouldn't be looking at cars this way, so I'll have to assume this is the type of car he's looking for. But what it came down to is, for want of $500, the deal fell through. When you add up the bus fare and (if it happens) the cost of renting a car, you're already talking a couple hundred minimum - and that might very quickly add up if the renting continues for a while. Which means that, if you are almost already paying back most of that $500 in costs accrued because you don't have a car, that's putting the opportunity cost of all the free time being lost at an incredibly low worth. That's the bit of this I just don't understand.

Edited at 2009-11-27 07:28 am (UTC)
Coraacoraa on November 27th, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
Well, it's me, so you know I agree with you on this. But yeah -- whenever I spend time on shopping, it's with the idea that someday I will die, and the time between now and then is finite. Do I want to spend X hours of my finite time test-driving cars? No.

But then, that's why I bought a new car off the lot, a computer off the shelf at Best Buy, a Kindle new from Amazon, an iPod and iPhone without testing out the alternatives. Someday I will die. In the interim, I'd rather spend my time driving/playing on the Internet/reading/listening to music, as opposed to shopping for the above.

(It's also why I'm obsessively protective of my personal time. Someday I will die, and I'd rather spend the time until then doing what I want, rather than what I feel obliged to do.)

Edited at 2009-11-27 07:35 am (UTC)