Does the traveller choose the road, or does the road choose the traveller?

Finally, a van!…

but… it is/was a strange experience. No car buying experience I’ve ever had has been incident free, and apart from one, all have been more or less fine.

I found one that looked good all the way in Ashford, which is a 3 hour drive. Not sure if that was a good idea to buy something that expensive so far from where I live. If it doesn’t work, however, I’ll travel back there. Rest assured. This is a lot of money to me and I can’t afford to lose it.

I’m picking up my van tomorrow but it’s been an interesting experience already and I’m only 50% sure I’ve done the right thing today. I went over there last Saturday and really liked the van. The battery was flat but that, in my view, was a good thing. I know how long it’s been there and if the battery hadn’t been flat I would have wondered how many people had viewed and abandoned it. I started the van up again after the test drive and it started perfectly.

However, the alarm went off when the sales person started charging it, which can happen because of the low charge. They weren’t able to shut it off however. Another salesperson came out and started chatting to my salesperson. I couldn’t overhear what they were saying about the alarm, but my salesperson mentioned something like ‘that’s what it is’. Neither of them wanted to clarify to me. Mechanic came out and took it into the garage to have a look at. I was able to talk to him on his own and he said it needed a replacement part and that it was a known fault, which I found out when I got home isn’t true or there would be people talking about this on the web. Hm…

I asked to see the paperwork, V5 etc…, I had to make it very clear I wanted to, and salesperson was surprised. I thought everyone would check the paperwork! If this was not a dealership but a car supermarket or something, I would have walked out. When he returned all seemed to be in order and I’d done an HPI check myself already. On the way back home I was pondering that he’d been gone a long time to get the paperwork, but he’d been doing that a couple of times while I was there, chatting to other staff. It did make me wonder, unfortunately afterwards, whether they had gone through the paperwork and chucked out anything they didn’t want me to see. Hm… number two.

The test drive went well and apart from the alarm the van looked absolutely fine. I decided to buy as the two things above only came up in my mind later, and salesperson told me I would receive a letter to confirm collection date. It’s now the evening before I am supposed to pick up said van and no letter has arrived at all. So I decided to email them this afternoon… no response. Half an hour before closing time I called and the person on the other end was really busy/nervous. He promised me a call back which never came. Just before six (the dealership closes at six) I called back and I was assured salesperson would call me back. I was a bit annoyed and they said they had been extremely busy all day.

Somewhat after six salesperson calls and apologises and then told me the van was ready for pickup and could I be there by ten, which was really strange for a business I thought. I said no and that the earliest I could be there was 12 noon-ish. I have to rely on a couple of train companies to get me there. I could hear a palpable disappointment but I’m the customer and I really can’t be there before.

All in all, so far it’s been the stranges experience I have had buying a car and I’m not sure what to think. It’s one of those situations, in spite of how it comes across, where it could go either way. Either the things that happend should have made me suspicious and run a mile and I’m a daft idiot for not doing that or they were all absolutely fine and I was reading too much into them.

So… let’s see what happens tomorrow. I really hope the van is fine as my parents are counting on me to be able to drive them places. I hope especially the alarm has been fixed as I don’t want to keep the neighbours awake! I’ll be back at the dealership in Ashford in a rush if it isn’t as I feel you can’t let businesses get away with not so honest practices. Am I overly suspicious? Or should I have been even more so and walked out? 50/50 in my view… All could have been easily explained and innocent and all could have been suspicious. We’ll wait and see… my trust in them may be restored after all…

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