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Opinion: Used Car Buying Experiences in New Bern

Honda CR-V

Looking for a used vehicle is challenging, especially during the pandemic.

My vehicle has been running on two cylinders since February. With Hurricane Season upon us, I really needed to find a reliable ride in case I need to evacuate.

I love my little truck and was torn between having a rebuilt engine put in or taking the risk of buying a used car.

I spent countless hours searching the web, from Craigslist to local dealers. I bought the Sunday paper and only saw two car listings for sale by private owners.

The obstacle, my truck couldn’t go over 50 mph. I was stuck searching within a small radius.

Then I discovered that I could purchase a car online and they deliver it to your door. I was tempted. The prices were lower than local dealerships for similar makes/models, but after researching, I realized there are hidden fees and you can’t see the car until you’ve paid for it to be delivered. For me, I felt the risks outweighed the benefits. You can see photos, but you can’t take it for a test run and have a mechanic check it out without being charged. It’s wasted money if it wasn’t what I wanted.

A friend of mine told me to go see their friend at a local car dealership and they would give me a good deal. I did.

Before I continue, I’m sharing a specific experience with one of many car dealerships that I visited.

I made the mistake of telling the salesperson that I was paying cash. I shouldn’t have because dealerships are expecting to make money off of financing. I asked for the “out the door” price on an SUV and the cost was $2000 more than the sticker price. I understand they have to make money. I ran the VIN number and the vehicle was already marked up from the true market value. I also accounted for taxes but was disappointed seeing the high document and other fees. North Carolina does not regulate how much a dealer can charge for document fees. The fees added up to $1000. It’s a shame because I truly wanted to support a local business.

After spending countless hours searching for a vehicle, checking the VIN numbers, I realized most of the vehicles true market values didn’t match asking prices.

I was getting desperate, so I asked Facebook friends if they had experiences buying a vehicle online. Some said they had great experiences and others were not happy.

That’s when my dear friend, Peggy W. Barnes reached out and told me about a good SUV that her clients were trying to sell. It turned out to be a winner! The search is over.

If you don’t know Peggy, she’s a Life Coach and Professional Organizer. To me, she connects her clients with others in our community. From selling things to encouraging clients to donate to those in need. Privacy is very important to her. I didn’t realize that I knew her clients until I went to check out their vehicle. It was a win-win! Thank you Peggy!

If you have a used car or are buying one, it’s not as difficult as I thought. Stay tuned for Tips for Buying or Selling a Vehicle in North Carolina. It will outline what you need to know if you’re privately buying or selling a vehicle. It’s not as hard as you may think!

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Wendy Card