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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The past 10 days...

have just drained the life out of me.

(Warning, longest, most rambly-est post ever ahead!)

On Monday we were told our car was not a total loss, but that it would take at least THREE WEEKS of straight labor to repair it, and to expect to be without a vehicle until at least the beginning of April.  This was based on their best estimate without even taking the car apart.  We begin casually shopping for a new vehicle.  We find out, not surprisingly, that our vehicle is now worth significantly less as a trade-in since it has been in such a bad accident with such extensive repairs.  So much that, we will be upside-down on our current car loan due to the loss in value from this wreck and the fact that we only just purchased the car last year so didn't have much equity to begin with.  We start praying they would find more damage and declare it a total loss.

On Tuesday, the repair shop found and additional $8800.00 worth of damage and insurance forwarded our file to the "maybe a total loss" department.  We wait with baited breath to find out for sure.

On Wednesday we get the call -- our car was a total loss!  They are paying the entire amount we owed to the bank (with a little left over for us, score!), paying to replace E's car seat, giving us a sales tax waiver for the amount of the claim to put toward purchasing a new vehicle, and giving me and E a medical bills/personal injury settlement.  BREATHE HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!

And oh yeah, we only get our rental car for another week, so time to get cracking on buying a new one!

We find one vehicle, a 2009 Honda Pilot, at a dealership 30 miles away, and start negotiating with them to see if we can make a deal.  It is priced slightly higher than various internet sources say it should be (surprise, surprise) and we have a budget, so we try to get them to budge.  I spend about 30 minutes on the phone with one salesman at that dealership, who argues with me over what the vehicle is worth.  I tell him, hello, I have the internet and can read and he becomes increasingly rude and hostile and ends the phone call.  S spends the rest of the day contacting various other dealerships about other vehicles.

Thursday -- I literally spend the ENTIRE day on the phone with various car dealers inquiring about different vehicles.  Surprise, the rude guy from yesterday calls and wants to sell me the Pilot.  Using advice from a friend who used to sell cars, I spend most of the afternoon hardcore negotiating with him, with him becoming increasingly angry and hostile as call his bluff on every car salesman tactic in the book.  (Seriously, I was mentally checking them off in my head as he talked.)  The negotiations ultimately lead to about 15 calls back and forth, with me being hung up on twice, them coming down some, but not enough, on price, and him hurling insults at me when I refused to accept his "final offer".

Clearly this guy didn't know who he was dealing with, because the more someone pushes me, the harder I push back.  (Just ask S, we are both stubborn as mules. ;-)  Plus, getting what I want without being a pushover is kind of my profession, HA!)  It was frustrating being bullied, but my ex-car salesman friend told me I was obviously winning the game, or else the salesman wouldn't have reacted that way. 

Friday -- I have another friend who I know has a friend who works at the same dealership (did you follow all of that? haha).  I tell her how horribly I was treated by the salesman yesterday, and she is appalled and says her friend would be too.  She tells him what happened and he immediately knew who I was.  He says he was there when that guy was screaming at me, and heard everything he said.  He asked for my number and called me almost immediately to work out a deal.  He apologized profusely and, long story short, S and I were able to get everything we wanted at a price only about $300 more than we originally wanted to spend.  [We got a screaming deal -- we paid between $1000-$5000 less than the expected dealer retail value, depending on which guide you use (Edmunds, KBB, NADA).]  We drove down that night to sign the paperwork and drive off with our new car!

And today, I am just drained.  I spent nearly every waking moment this week either stressing out, dealing with insurance companies, dealing with the jerkoff car repair place who has our old vehicle, or negotiating with various car salesmen over their prices.  I have spent so much emotional energy that I am just exhausted.  Not to mention, with all of my time wasted doing those things, I am now about three days behind with work and a week behind cleaning our house.  Ack!

BUT, we do have a shiny new (to us) car in the driveway that we feel much, much safer putting E into, a check from the insurance company sitting on our table, and the whole ordeal is almost completely behind us... so I suppose everything was worth it.  :-) 

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