Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Buying a Car the Civilized Way

“Did you know USAA has a car buying service?” AdventureMan asked me. Well, yes, sort-of, but I’ve been not wanting to think about buying a new car with all the house-buying stuff and paper-filling out stuff and packing stuff and making lists.

On the other hand, every day I have to rent a car is money down the drain.

“I’ll just check it out,” I thought to myself.

It was so easy. You go online and tell the car buying service where you live and what you want to buy. They send your name and phone number and e-mail (since I don’t want car salespeople calling me in the middle of the night because they don’t understand about time zones, I only gave them my e-mail) to dealerships who participate in USAA’s program.

USAA also sent me a list of car dealerships in my area and a Certificate for me to print with their agreed upon price. That simple. The certificate prices were significantly lower than anything I had been offered at the dealership I visited, and these were guarantee.

Within hours, three dealerships had e-mailed me. I chose the closest, worked with a WOMAN to get what I wanted at the price I was willing to pay, and not one item more. She was courteous and helpful and respectful! She got me everything I wanted. She named an out-the-door price that I could live with.

The only downside is that the dealership is 35 minutes away, in Fort Walton Beach. The upside is that they have been known to deliver, and 35 minutes just isn’t that far. Like from Fintas to downtown Kuwait City in heavy traffic, or from my house to the Ritz Carleton in Qatar. I can live with that.

Yes. Yes, Daggero, you guessed it right, I am buying another Rav4, one with brakes that work. I’m not scared off by Toyota’s troubles. It’s like eating in a restaurant that has just re-opened after being closed for health violations; you know it’s never going to be cleaner than it is right now. 😉 I love the way the Rav4 is sort of small, I am sort of small, too. I love that it turns on a dime, and that I am high enough to look over most of the traffic, but small enough to park in a tiny parking spot. It’s an SUV, but a modest SUV, with good mileage per gallon, and a great record for reliability and repairs.

Here is what I love about this transaction. I did my homework. I know what I want. I know what is a reasonable price to pay. I am getting a better price than I expected. There are no games – here’s what I want, here is what I am getting and here is what it is going to cost, and that includes title and licensing. How cool is that? I feel like when you do business like this, everyone is a winner.

And a shout-out to Marisa at Quality Toyota at Fort Walton Beach for making the process easy and non-threatening and civil. Working with her to buy my new car was a pleasure.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Civility, Community, Customer Service, Doha, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Marketing, Qatar, Shopping | 7 Comments