Go slow at the dealership – Don’t let money burn a hole in your pocket


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

They call it “buyer’s remorse.” Here’s a real-life example: An RV shopper and his wife had in mind a new toy hauler. They’d done their research, they knew what they wanted. Once on a dealer’s lot, things got a bit hairy. A different toy hauler caught their eye, and soon, they’d plunked down a $6,000 deposit and signed off on the contract, and a delivery date was scheduled.

Once back at home, the couple started doing a little pencil pushing. The RV they’d just bought turned out to be way over the limit of the towing capability of the family pickup truck. In the “heat of the moment” of shopping, that all-important factor had been forgotten. The research previously done was for the “first rig” and it was well within the scope of the tow vehicle — but, oh dear, that new, flashy rig was off the table.

What’s to be done? Could they get out of that contract?

Asking the advice of the readers of an RV forum, dozens of responses came back. Emotions ran from calm and collected to heated — some downright nasty. Both the customer and the dealership were made out to be the villain, and suggestions ranged from simply never picking up the trailer, to biting the bullet and buying a big enough truck to tote the rig.

There are a lot of elements to the tale, but one thing to be taken away is this: When you’re spending money, particularly big money, go slow, double check, and do your homework. From a legal standpoint, the customer put himself on the line when he signed the dotted line. In the state where the transaction occurred there was no “cooling off” period — that is, a time frame where you can change your mind, cancel the deal and get your money back. From a strictly legal standpoint, the buyer was stuck.

On the other hand, there’s Solomon’s advice: “If you have been ensnared by your promise, caught by the words of your mouth. Do this, my son, and free yourself … go and humble yourself and urgently plead with your neighbor.” We could hope that the RV dealer is reasonable, and would offer some sort of an out. Perhaps “Buy a different RV from me, and your deposit applies.”

The reality being that not everyone out there is reasonable, here’s another case of being a smart shopper. When you go shopping for an RV, know your limits. Not just knowing how much you can safely (and legally) tow with your tow vehicle, but know your other limits, too. How many buyers have been enamored with a “different” rig that’s only “a little bit more money,” and later found themselves in a world of hurt when they couldn’t make the payments? Take your time with a decision, and don’t let a pushy salesman (or a pushy heart) force you into an immediate decision. There’s lots of wisdom in “sleeping on it.” It’s not very likely that your “dream RV” will walk off the lot in the next day or two. Even if it does, how much better that it becomes someone else’s heartache and not yours.

photo: Julie Jordan Scott on flickr.com

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