Thursday, September 10, 2020

Tips For Buying a New Car

This article is going to relay some things I learned about buying a new car.  First, let's discuss a couple of terms. The dealer's invoice is the price the dealer paid for the car. The  dealer holdback  is a refund that the dealer gets for selling the car from the manufacturer. Obviously, these are two pieces of information that would help you negotiate.. I'm not an expert in those and there are good websites that can help you with it. You can Yahoo or Google for them.  There is a website that will help you with developing bids. 

I will  mildly recommend First Consumer Reports has a relationship with the site and it does give you an idea what somebody paid for the car that you are looking for in the area where you live. I just don't trust it completely since dealers contribute to the site.  You have to play with the website and click around to get all the great information. If you shop online, be prepared to be inundated with dealers especially if you give out your phone number. Just "deal" with it.  Sorry for that.

Using the site, you obviously want the "excellent" or "exceptional" price. By the way, you never want to pay MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price). Okay,  where I started my opening bid was in the lower range of  the excellent price. And don't worry if you don't get accepted on the first bid. You've got room to go up. 

I will put my tips into rules. These are things I learned with dealing with two Japanese car brands that I will call Car A and Car B  My tips are here to help lessen your suffering because buying a new car stinks.So, here we go.

1. ".Calculate the "out the door pricc."    This is the amount of money you pay to drive the car off the lot. It usually includes dealers fees, the price of the car and taxes. Use the internet to calculate the price. You need this because dealers will play around with the price of the car and you'll need to know exactly how much you need to pay for the car completely. How do I  know this? Because it happened to me.  Which leads to ...

2. Beware of the bait and switch  This is not where they advertise one car and try to get you to buy another. What happened to me was that I emailed and called Car A dealership. Made my offer.. Car A  said okay. One day later, the dealer called me and gave me an out the door price that was higher than my calculation. I said you raised the price of the car after we agreed on the price. And he said I needed to come up. Now, since I had the out the door price, I knew he raised the price of the vehicle.  Yeah, the dealers think you're dumb.

And by the way, I'm a lawyer and this is not how we negotiate. When it comes to numbers for settlements, I may send an offer. And if the other side wants a different number they counter until we eventually reach an agreeable number. The same thing for criminal cases in negotiating prison sentences. 

Dealers for some reason try to trick you. I don't get why we can't throw numbers around but that's the way they act.

3. Read the fine print of any offer especially in emails.  Okay, so I got pissed and told Car A that I would get back and shop around. I went to Car B. Contacted them through their website. They called me.  I made a reasonable offer that was good for me but not insane. The dealer agreed.  We set a date to meet so I could bring the money and buy the car.. We were buying the car with cash.  We even worked out that we could pay for the car with a check. So, I had the out the door price already calculated and that was going to get the car. Except....

When I got to the dealer, I asked to test drive the car. They said okay. I said it was fine. We went inside and then the manager told us there was a problem. To buy the car for the agreed upon price, I would have to take out a loan. They said the fine print in an email said any offer was subject to Car B financing.  I told the dealer, "Hey you told me to bring in this amount of money to buy the car."They informed me that either take out a loan or come up with a higher bid for the price of the car. So what did I do?  See Rule 4.

4. Be ready to walk out and walk out if you have to.  I said to Car B dealer . "I'm going to go. The loan was not what we agreed to. And you led me to believe that if we brought in the money, we could buy the car." At that point, the manager and dealer put a number higher that would buy the car. It was within the range that I was willing to pay and still an excellent price. I agreed. The manager was irate because he thought we were paying too little. I mentioned that he is still making a profit because of holdbacks etc. That got him annoyed even more.

Conclusion..  I will note that I didn't discuss financing. That's another topic beyond my expertise. But note that your bank will give  good advice and maybe a better interest rate.. And frankly, if I was going to finance the car, I would gone through my bank. 

Buying a car should be fun. It's not. Dealers are still playing games when you reach the dealership. You have 2 things going for you. You know the out the door price. Any increases in the price of the car from the dealer will be apparent. And always remember that you have the money. That means "be ready to walk out." You don't need that dealer.  They need you, You can always leave your phone number. They will call you back.. But perhaps you've made a better deal with another car dealership. Good hunting.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Irresistible review

Satirist and former host of the The Daily Show, is the writer and director of Irrestible. And he doesn't stray from his talent and expertise. As it is a comedy about politics in the twenty first century.

    Irresistible starts out in 2016. Democratic political operative Gary Zimmer (Steve Carrell) has just endured a crushing upset after he tried to get Hillary Clinton elected. Yeah, you remember. It feels like ions ago but Trump won. His Republican nemesis Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) is obviously in much better position. Gary has become despondent.

 Gary is exposed to a viral video of Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) a former Marine, who's seen standing up for immigrants in a town hall meeting of Deerlaken, Wisconsin. Jack's a farmer who lives with his Terminator daughter Diana (Mackenzie Davis). She's is an augmented soldier, back from the future to protect Sarah Connor. And the last two sentences about the Terminator is from Terminator:Dark Fate. You see Davis was in that one and the joke fails as nobody saw that film. Sorry. Anyway, Gary decides Jack would be a great Democratic candidate who could speak to the middle of America about liberal ideas. He goes to Deerlaken to recruit him. The first election for Jack would be the mayoral contest in DeerLaken.

 Steve Carrell, Rose Byrne and the whole cast have great comic timing. It helps that Director Stewart understands comedy. I've got to give a shout out to Chris Cooper. As in any role he understands the character and plays him perfectly. I'm thinking about a couple of films I have around the house and just marvel at those performances. The Bourne Identitiy. Seabiscuit.

 Knowing Jon Stewart, I was expecting a funnier version of The Candidate (1972) with broad laughs and something to say. And the movie does have something to say. It's also pleasant in the laugh department. But it's Stewart's writing that has a big flaw. The film has a huge plot twist which I won't give away here . And Stewart hints at it in a scene but it goes by so fast that you don't think of it. Look, the audience can love a surprise. But it is so huge or yuge as Trump would say that it is a shock to the audience. And I don't mean that it in a good way. The movie moves along and the plot twist comes out of left field or make that right field depending on your political orientation.

 When you're writing a screenplay, you should show not tell. There are exceptions. Exposition is one of them. And if you're going to do some giant plot twist, you should hint at it but not so subtle that it feels as if you didn't. This foreboding applies to comedy too. Irresistible does such a bad job at setting up the twist that if feels like it came from another movie. In fact, Stewart puts an end credit interview with a real political expert to explains the plausability of the plot twist. I won't name the expert to save the surprise. But yeah, you can see how huge the plot twist was. Stewart should have put another scene setting up the twist and also have an exposition scene explaining the mechanics of the twist. Trust me, we're not talking nuclear physics here. That exposition could be like Jack watching TV and a news story explains the device that will drive the twist.

  Irresistible is not irresistible. It's got some great jokes, not enough to be gut busting funny. And the plot twist is too much of a jolt for the audience to find believable. Wait for this one to reach cable. The grade is B.