Bark's Bites: Orlando Kia West Update, And How You Can Avoid Being A "Jenny"

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
bark s bites orlando kia west update and how you can avoid being a jenny

Two weeks ago, I told you the story of my friend “Jenny” and her purchase event at Orlando Kia West. I’m happy to report that the dealer has resolved the issue to her satisfaction.

She received a personal call from the general manager offering a set of floormats, and she’s seeking to refinance the vehicle through her stepfather’s credit union. According to Jenny, the general manager was quite apologetic, but he also said that “90 percent of the numbers in that article were wrong.”

Mr. GM, you still have my e-mail (it’s, if you lost it), and I’m happy to print a retraction on anything that I got wrong. (In the meantime, we’re still happy to show up on the first page of results when people search for your dealer on Google. –Ed.)

But, in the meantime, let’s talk about what Jenny could have done differently, and what you can do the next time that you’re looking to buy a car to avoid all the hassle and pain she experienced.

Ignore the Foursquare

Jenny’s number one problem was focusing too much on the payment. She works an hourly job that doesn’t pay a lot, and she was very concerned that she wouldn’t be able to afford the monthly installment. Once the dealer knew that she was only worried about the monthly payment, it was able to make all sorts of voodoo happen behind the scenes and still offer the payment she needed.

Despite the posturing that tends to go on in these parts about money, the reality is that the vast majority of new and used car buyers are payment buyers. It’s silly for any advice columnist to say that you shouldn’t worry about the payment — of course you should, because you need that payment to fit into your budget.

However, what I will say is that if you focus on the final transaction price, the payment should take care of itself. There are plenty of reverse payment calculators available online. Go plug in your monthly payment that you can afford, along with the interest rate you can expect to pay (more on that in a bit), and you’ll know how much car you can really afford to buy.

Bad Credit is a Temporary Problem

Jenny was in a position of weakness when it came to her credit: she literally had none. As a result, she basically felt as though she was at the mercy of the dealer, even with a co-signer.

Too many people feel as though their credit situation is permanent, and the predatory lenders in the world do nothing to try to convince them otherwise. This just isn’t so. If Jenny had focused on resolving her credit issues 12-24 months ago, she could have had at least a 570-660 credit score by now, which would open up a whole new world of financing options for her. A 620 beacon is good enough to get bought on most cars nowadays, and a 660 qualifies you for most promotional financing (not all, though, as some require Tier 1+).

How could she have done this? Well, I’m no Dave Ramsey (thank God), but getting a secured credit card would have been a good start. She also could have used that $5,000 she had saved up to get a cosigned $5,000 car loan for an early model used car, and then paid it off nearly immediately.

Some readers suggested that Jenny should have just bought a $5,000 used car. That certainly could have been an option, but Jenny can’t afford a huge repair bill out of nowhere. The bigger issue, though, is that when it came time to buy another car, Jenny would have been in the same boat again.

Always Ask for a CARFAX/AutoCheck

According to Jenny, the GM still claims that her car was never sold to an individual — or, at least not successfully. They claim that they had a buyer, and that they sold the car to the buyer over the weekend, but the buyer’s credit was rejected on Monday, so they had to repo the car. This happens much more often in the car business than you’d think. However, that still doesn’t resolve the matter of why the car was actually registered to somebody else, and it completely bombs their whole “we bought it from another dealer” story, too.

If the car has more than 100 miles on it, even if it’s “new,” ask for a CARFAX/AutoCheck. That one piece of paper would have saved Jenny a lot of headache. As is often said around here, a CARFAX won’t show everything, but anything it does show is valuable information to have.

Don’t Sign Anything You Don’t Understand, and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Too many people think the battle is over once they get into the Finance and Insurance office. They don’t realize that it’s really just begun. Jenny wasn’t prepared to discuss things like gap insurance. She really had no idea what the final transaction price was, and she still doesn’t. She just signed stuff.

Acres of paper will be shoved at you in that office. The number one mistake people make is not wanting to appear ignorant. They’ll nod their head at things they couldn’t possibly understand and sign all sorts of things without reading and asking questions.

The safest word in the F&I office is always “no.” You can buy Gap insurance later if you really need it. You can buy an extended warranty later if you really need it (trust me, you’ll get besieged with letters at the end of your OEM warranty).

Before you say “yes” to anything, though, ask every question that you can. If any of the answers don’t make sense, ask for clarification. If they still don’t make sense, don’t say yes. And if anything starts to feel shady …

Be Entirely Prepared to Walk Away at All Times

Jenny wanted a Kia Soul, and she was convinced that this was the best deal she could ever get on one. Not so fast, my friend.

Don’t fall in love with a car. No matter how good the deal seems, or how rare the car is, understand that the manufacturer literally made thousands of them. There’s another vehicle out there waiting to be purchased, and another dealer out there who’s willing to deal fairly and honestly with you.

The number one piece of leverage that you have as customer is your ability to get up and walk out the door. If the dealer gets any sense that you have emotionally invested yourself in the car … you’re toast.

At the end of the day, remember this: you’re not there to make friends. Do your homework, come prepared, and be ready to do battle. And you’ve always got my e-mail address if you’re really stuck.

Good luck out there.

Join the conversation
2 of 144 comments
  • Brenschluss Brenschluss on Jun 02, 2016

    Reading this article and its comments makes me feel extraordinarily lucky to have experienced what I have when buying cars. I went through it recently and the stars aligned to painlessly deliver me an acceptable deal. I could have pressed and knocked more off I'm pretty sure, but the initial offer was fair enough to not waste the time which would have been spent dickering. F&I even sprinted sheepishly through what they were obliged to offer, and were otherwise quick and accommodating. They made me happy, so I'm happy to make them a few bucks. That said, I had A) already spoken to the internet sales manager about B) a car in transit that they were probably dreading having on their lot C) at the end of March when there may have been some unmet target numbers, and D) while I'm not exactly a hardened pro, I'm not a Jenny, E) nor am I a member of any demographic typically taken advantage of. The only bad experience I've had in shopping around halfheartedly for the past couple of years was at a Toyota dealer, to try an FR-S, which seems to line up with other impressions I'm seeing: -brenschluss: So I'm not here to buy anything today, but I'd like to test drive the one FR-S you have on your lot. -Harried sales manager: Sure, gimme your license, here are the keys, go find it yourself. *disappointing test drive* -brenschluss: That wasn't what I was hoping for! -Brain-damaged salesman: Yeah but it's a cool car, huh? So [wrongname], what can I do to put you in this cool car today? -brenschluss: You can go f*ck yourself, and make it hurt! But that was the exception. All others I visited seemed to at least be trying to negotiate in good faith. There were a couple 4-squares involved, but I had a trade, a modest down payment, and did care about keeping monthly expenses reasonable so I can't be too upset about that; I just didn't like the deals I saw. I guess the point of this is that it doesn't have to be so bad. I'm not an experienced haggler, but a little inherent distrust and skepticism, plus a lack of attachment and a willingness to keep shopping, seems to go a long way. Holy shit that's long, I'm sorry.

  • Compaq Deskpro Compaq Deskpro on Jun 03, 2016

    August of last year, I bought a one model year old like new Challenger from a Chrysler dealer. I had no credit whatsoever. Vast majority of the banks the dealer sent requests to declined, Ally who is supposed to be the finance you if you can fog a mirror bank gave me 11% interest. I kept paying the exorbitant rate, up until a month ago where I refinanced with a credit union. Apparently my credit is so good they gave me 2% (the bank's minimum is 1.74%), saving me around $120 a payment. Credit is easy to get, you just have to suffer through some hard payments and pay them on time.

  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.