Friday, April 15, 2005

You're a Star!

I wrote earlier about magic in the mailbox and hotdang - today it delivered again. The Star Auto Group told me (in writing) that I had been "identified as one of (their) customers". Wow. How did they know I'd bought one of their vehicles? Do they keep records? Evidently so. And yet, Star's records are questionable at best, considering they persist in trying to schedule a service for a Ford Focus I've never owned. But back to the letter. The auto group offers in their, well - offer, to pay the "original manufacturer's suggested retail base price" for my car. (A Ford I DO actually own) Whipping out my trusted Kelly Blue Book Guide, I discover that my special limited-time-only trade-in value is an impressive $24,545. Whoah, that's a lotta cash. Cash I'll never see, as it'll apply to a downpayment on a new Ford, but still - a lotta cash. I wasn't looking at a new vehicle (actually I look a lot, I just can't buy), but this changes everything. Maybe it IS do-able. Do-able up until the little phrase "deductions will be made for equipment failure, body damage,reconditioning costs and mileage of 29c per mile".

Hmmm. Let's see now. The equipment's working, damage is minimal, but what exactly does reconditioning entail? Do they wanna recon the whole engine, gearbox and diff? And who determines the cost of that? Ah well, let's pretend it's negligable (that lotta cash starts looking like a bit of cash) and calculate the mileage deduction. Just to be certain. You know? I mean, this offer's only good through Monday. So, I just multiply my mileage, roughly 105,000, by 29c and..... oh-oh. That can't be right. My mileage deduction comes to negative $5,905. Yup. I'd have to PAY my friendly Ford dealer nearly 6 grand to take my car AND, wait for it, buy ANOTHER freakin' Ford! Are you kidding me?! It's not like they don't know my mileage - they tried to schedule my 100,000 service recently, so they obviously DO know. They're just messing with my mind! Luckily I was one of the fortunate ones to spot the deception. I pity the poor buggers who drop in to Ford this weekend all excited, kids in tow, only to find themselves tied to a trade-in agreement where the dealer can get YOU the buyer to pay THEM to take your trade-in. Faster than you can finish that free hotdog. And remember, in the state of California, there's no cooling off period. Nice. Now, if I can just get them to buy back that Focus...

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