I think one of the most unpleasant stressful things is the buying of a car. What should be a pleasant experience is turned into a nightmare. I can hardly remember ever having a good car buying experience, but yesterday was the worst.

Forty two months ago I made the unfortunate decision to lease a car. I had a perfectly good Mercedes sedan and somehow thought I ought to have a minivan instead. I chose a 2008 Nissan Rogue, which is a mini van with some nice features.

The best feature being that is looks so much like the Lexus that many times I have tried to get into the wrong car, if I am parked next to a Lexus. On closer inspection, of course not, but at a glance, sort of.

When the lease was finally up, I decided to purchase the car for the residual value that was shown on my lease papers. I only had 16,000 miles on the car and had had it serviced every three months.

Plus I had had grey sheepskins put on the seats.  So four days before the lease expiration date I went back to Nissan, this time to purchase the car I had been driving for three and a half years.

First I had to actually go through a car salesman, even though I came in to purchase the car I already had. He was a typical ‘car salesman’ and very happy to see me.

Then he had to call a finance manager, who said he had to call Nissan to get the ‘payoff”. I showed him the papers that said that the amount I would pay was $12,400.

He totally ignored what I said, walked out of the office to leave me sitting there for the better part of an hour. I told the salesman I never wanted to see that man again. So now came yet another finance manager.

This one told me that Nissan gave them a payoff amount of $12,555. I said, “No, that is not what it says in my paperwork.” Well it seems that the automated voice on the phone who gives out these numbers is never wrong.

They explained to me in that voice you use when speaking to a small child, that it takes time to ‘process’ the lease buyout and that there is an extra week of time charged to me for their slowness. I hit the roof. With electronic everything these days, this is absurd. If I charge something to Visa at Safeway it shows up on my account in ten seconds.

After arguing for a while, and getting nowhere, I finally agreed to buy the car at the inflated price plus the buyers option fee of $150 and the doc fee (which everyone has to pay) of $195. When I complained I was told too bad, so sad, go buy it at another Nissan dealership.

After spending two hours, I sure didn’t feel like driving to the other side of the island and going through this again. When the papers were finally drawn up and signed, it seems that the service department had had to inspect my vehicle for warranty purposes.

While waiting for my car to be washed I said to the saleman, “You really ought to give me a present for all this trouble and aggravation”. So he gave me a brand new Nissan key ring.

After the inspection and a wash, I was finally able to get in my car and drive home. But with a bad taste in my mouth. I will never ever buy another car from Nissan.

Today I woke up feeling very angry with myself for accepting their terms. I then proceeded to call the manager of the dealership and complain to him about the terrible way I was treated. I told him I thought his salesman was ‘out of his mind’.

He asked if that is what I said to the salesman. I said, “No, I said, I think you are out of your f——–mind.” He then gave me the phone number of Nissan North America.

I got right through to the voice that says how happy they are to get my call. Then the same voice said that in Spanish. Then press one for this and two for that. Then my social security number and finally a real person.

First thing the person said was, “What is your social security number”. I told her I had just given it. Then she wanted to know my address, apartment number, city and state. Finally I told her my problem.

How come I was charged a higher amount than the residual amount on my lease? For this difficult question she had to leave me on hold for ten minutes while I got to listen to elevator music.

When she returned she told me the same thing that the ‘finance manager’ at Nissan had told me. But she said they would honor the original figure and that I should call my local Nissan dealer and have them call Nissan North America to verify this.

Also they would issue a refund to me, however the check would be sent to the dealership. When I got off the phone with this woman, I called New City Nissan here in Honolulu, told them what she had said and requested that when the check came to please mail it to me.

I will never ever go into that dealership for anything ever again. Not only did I tell this to the manager of the dealership, I also told him I wrote a blog about the entire incident. He then offered to void the entire contract.

Brilliant.

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