Hello TTAC crew!
My Mom is in need of a new car. The problem is her trade in: It is a 2002 PT Cruiser with a serious overheating problem ($1700+ quote at two reputable repair places) Now here is the problem. Do I keep my dang mouth shut when we go to the dealership and do the deal? I have a spare car that she is driving until it cools off and the overheating problem will not be noticeable at trade in.
I would never sell the car to a guy off the street without disclosing a major problem. Even to a car dealership I think I feel guilty in not disclosing it. We are not going to be financing, and will be paying cash for the car. So it is not like they can unwind the deal if they discover the problem.
Having ethical dilemma about screwing over a car dealership who exist solely to try and take as much money as they can from you in every conceivable way is weird.
Bonus question. These are the three cars we are considering Hyundai Elantra Touring, VW Jetta Wagon and Ford Focus Wagon. Any recommendations of the three or reasons to avoid them?
Thanks in advance for any help!
Fair disclosure: my full-time job is in the automotive retail business, so I have my own ethical dilemma. And don’t ask what an autojourno makes, it’s precisely why I work there. With the Jeff Glucker incident fresh on my mind, I’ve decided to publish this query and throw myself at the mercy of the B&B.
I hope I made the right choice. Well…here goes:
Ahem, not all car dealerships are alike. Sure, they all wanna make a buck, but if the mainline dealers inspect a vehicle and deem it not worthy to sell, it heads straight to the auction…so some other chump can deal with the problems. This is one reason why the Buy-Here-Pay-Here lots have the reputation that they often (not always) deserve. You could easily trade in your ride to the big name dealerships, they will see the problem and dump it.
What I’m trying to say is, the dealer may be a little pissed that you traded in a lemon, but they won’t pass their karma on to their used car customers. That’s just bad business, in the long-term. Odds are their trade-in value is about what they’ll get at the auctions anyway, so even if your PT isn’t as promised, the loss will be minimal. Maybe even in the hundreds, as a PT Cruiser isn’t a late-model AMG Benz that’s been abused and almost ready for a $20,000 repair bill once the “extra life” additives wear out and its new owner gets a shocking surprise.
Then again, the converse is that you should be ashamed for not disclosing a problem you know. That’s just basic karma, and it’s something I usually believe in.
Honestly, I’ve stressed over your question for weeks, and I still don’t know what the heck to tell you. I’m sorry.
Off to you, Best and Brightest.
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