After writing about my car woes yesterday, I called my dad to see if he thought $340 sounded right, just for parts. He didn’t, and when I told him the whole story he insisted on calling the car place himself (it’s actually a Toyota dealer). My dad operates under the perpetual assumption that he – and by extension, his family – is being ripped off, and this assumption usually leads him to making a fuss. I told him that I am too old for him to be making these types of calls, but he insisted that he’s was just “investigating” and that he’d call me back.
He called me back in about an hour with good news: even though my car’s warranty is up, a brake light going out has nothing to do with “wear and tear” on the car, so he convinced the guy at the dealer to take 50% off of the parts. I was amazed and incredibly thankful. I’m pretty good at advocating for myself, but when it comes to car-related issues, I struggle. I think a big part of it is that I don’t know anything about cars, so I don’t appear confident. I also don’t have a good car vocabulary – apparently dealers will often give discounts in situations like this under what’s called “good will.” My dad asked the guy to “good will” the parts and those appear to have been the magic words. I would never have known that.
So there are two morals to this story: don’t overreact and know the lingo. I definitely don’t know any car lingo, so maybe I should make it a summer goal to learn it. Or at least some.
In other news, I experienced a serious sign of the times yesterday. My personal loan is actually a line of credit, and since I’m paying for all of this car stuff on my credit card I wanted to borrow against the line of credit to pay off the card all at once, then pay back the line of credit. This will set me back about a month and a half in my personal loan payoff, but it’s smarter than letting the charges sit on my credit card and accrue a lot of interest. I did this once before and it just took a couple of clicks on the bank’s website to get the money deposited into my checking account. I looked and looked and finally I had to call the bank because I couldn’t find that option. I got bounced around on the phone until I finally landed in the loan department, and then the loan officer started asking me all kinds of questions:
What is the money being used for?
What is your profession?
What is your monthly rent payment?
I thought maybe I had been misunderstood: I explained that I wasn’t applying for a new loan, just borrowing against the line of credit I had already been approved for, and had had easy access to for almost 2 years. He understood, but said that in order to do this in the current economic climate, I had to be approved. To access my own line of credit. I was stunned. He asked me a few more questions, then approved me and said the money will be in my account in a few days. I hung up the phone still really surprised at how tight credit has become. It wasn’t even that much money ($500), compared to how much available credit I have. And just six months ago it was just a simple online transaction. Three clicks! And now I have to speak to a loan officer?! What a turnaround, in such a short period of time.
Experienced any signs of the times lately, firsthand?