Buying a new car through a dealership can be downright infuriating, so much so that there are tons of folks online who are quick to offer helpful tips on how to avoid getting screwed over in the process.
A common part of the new car purchase process is negotiating a trade-in vehicle, which involves offering up a car you already own in order to get a discount on your brand-new ride. Since car dealerships are predicated on getting the most amount of money possible out of every sale, it can be a long and tedious process that many believe is designed to wear customers down so that they cave on terms they aren’t exactly thrilled with just to end negotiations.
One TikToker, Cata Days (@catalinamariadays), shared her experience with this process, which she said included two dealerships attempting to knock thousands of dollars from their offer price simply because her car needed an oil change.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I wish i knew more about cars ugh♬ original sound – Cata Days
She shared her story in a viral TikTok that has nearly 4 million views.
“So I’m at the car dealership, right, and I go and I get my car appraised,” she began. “And they tell me online that it’s gonna be $8,000 that they’re gonna pay me. And I’m like, OK, $8,000, great ’cause I owe $8,300 on it, so I would only have to pay $300 to the dealer for them to take on my loan.”
However, Days said she received an appraisal offer of $4,300 when she went to the dealership in person, which confused her.
“My car is awesome,” she said. “I only bought it two years ago; I maintain it; it has brand new tires; I just changed the battery. What could possibly be wrong? I have to get an oil change; that’s the only thing I know that I have to do.”
She then rattled off the assessment points the dealership listed on the appraisal, and the only “problem” mentioned was an “engine noise detected.”
The TikToker said she went to another dealer, AutoMart, whose slogan is “a dealer with a heart” and even features a heart graphic in its logo. AutoMart, Days said, offered to pay off the entirety of her loan. She said she told the dealer she was happy to hear the news because she needed to leave the country in six days and wanted to get her car loan paid off beforehand.
However, Days said the results of her AutoMart appraisal were the same as the previous one: she was told she had an “engine problem” and offered $4,300 for her vehicle. According to Days, the dealer suggested she get an oil change and then take her car to a “smaller dealership” to see if they’d purchase it.
Heeding the AutoMart employee’s advice, Days said she took her car to a Jiffy Lube to get the “cheapest oil change” option. Yet after they performed the service, Days saw that the oil change light on her car’s dashboard was still on. She said she raised concern about the issue to the shop’s employees, who then informed her that they simply needed to turn off the light for her.
Days was shocked to learn that disabling the light was all that needed to be done.
“There’s absolutely nothing f*cking wrong with my engine, and you’re lowballing me $4,000 after I’m telling you that … I’m in a time crunch, and I wanted to leave the country,” she said. “My hope is f*cking gone for humanity, b*tch. I don’t f*cking know what I’m gonna do. … I have half a mind to literally run in there and tell them, ‘Hey, you guys suck.'”
One commenter thought that Days probably shot herself in the foot by giving the dealership too much detail. “Don’t tell them too much info eg about paying off ur loan n leaving the country,” they wrote.
Another sympathized with Days’ anger, as they couldn’t understand how something as straightforward as an oil change would cut the car’s valuation in half. “How does a simple oil change deduct $4000 from the appraisal,” they asked.
Someone else said that if two separate dealerships mentioned a noise coming from her engine, there may be something going on with her vehicle’s engine that needs to be addressed.
“I mean, as a girl who works for a dealership, if 2 separate places say you have an engine noise you probably do,” the viewer said. “Idk what your car is but there are Certain makes/models you don’t pay 8500 for as trade ins with engine noise because you’re going to take a loss…dealers aren’t charities.”
The Daily Dot contacted Days via email for further comment.