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At a recent holiday party, an ActiveRainer in my Long & Foster office said something about my "bad" car-buying experience. I quickly replied that it was not a bad experience at all - in fact, it was a good one. But that doesn't mean there weren't lessons to be learned or remembered from the experience.
I made a mental note to post either an edit to the original post or a new one clarifying that our car-buying experence with Adams Jeep of Maryland in Belair was a good one. I did leave the dealership with a list of things to keep in mind while conducting my own real estate business, however. Probably the most radical one was to re-think my occasional use of canned presentations and form letters, or to at least double-check to make sure they come across as customized to the individual circumstance. In fact, sometimes it may be best to leave them in the can. LOL.
Then I learned today that MY OLD CAR LOAN WAS NOT PAID OFF, as agreed in our purchase contract with Adams Jeep of Maryland and the financing they facilitated. Is this an oversight or fraud? I'm not sure yet..
Lesson #11. DO WHAT YOU PROMISE TO DO.
Folks, we're talking about a vehicle purchase transaction on November 22, 2008, and this is January 5, 2009. According to my lender, I am now 25 days late with the December payment and have to make a January payment. Meanwhile, I am days away from being reported to the credit bureaus!
Needless to say, my husband is en route there at this very moment, armed with our copy of the car-purchase paperwork and the address of the Maryland Attorney General's Office for a second stop.
Now I know how a customer or client feels when their agent doesn't do everything promised (or simply perceives the agent doesn't). We had a good car-buying experience, we LOVE our Jeep (even after our 3700 mile road-trip over the holidays), and I got a featured blog on AR with my post about lessons learned.
Yet I'll always associate this negative news from our old lender with Adams Jeep of Maryland, even if it turns out to be a mistake by the new lender or old lender - which leads to...
Lesson #12: FOLLOW UP AFTER THE SALE or BE CAREFUL WHOM YOU RECOMMEND or BOTH.
If a mortgage lender I recommend doesn't come through for my customers/clients, they will forever connect ME with that rejection or perhaps an unpleasant surprise at settlement or undisclosed fees or a higher payment/rate. If the home inspector overlooks a defect, they will forever blame ME for the problem. If the mover damages a treasured piece of furniture... If there's an environmental problem in the area... If the Title Company fails to pay off the old liens...
When I recommend someone to my customers/clients, my responsibility doesn't end there. Do you have checklists to make sure everything you promise is delivered to your customers and clients, even by third parties? OF COURSE you do!
Perhaps the dealership would have known the pay-off wasn't received by the old lender if they had a simple follow-up procedure in place and used it routinely.
This experience sure reminds me to take another look at my own checklists to make sure they're complete... and to use them with every transaction, no matter how smooth it seems.
Since this is a 5-Star Chrysler Dealership (their best!), ranking in the Top 5 of dealerships across the country for countless different categories, this can't be how they usually do business. If it is, no wonder American car companies are having trouble.
EDIT (12:10 p.m.) - The dealership has paperwork saying the old loan was paid on December 2. It looks like the culprit here is FOLLOW-UP. If Adams Jeep of Maryland had a process for verifying the payoff and/or routinely sending the customer a copy of the payoff verification, this situation would not have reflected so badly on them. In the meantime, while they straighten this out, they wired payment in full again.
Kudos to Adams Jeep of Maryland or addressing this matter promptly. Thank you!
I could probably add Lesson #13: THANK CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS FOR THEIR BUSINESS. I never did get a handwritten thank you note or even a form letter from Adams Jeep of Maryland during the days and weeks that followed our purchase. (Didn't they realize we drove 90 minutes to get there, past several other Chrysler/Jeep dealerships, including one where we had good experiences purchasing three previous cars?) As I composed my Happy New Year letter to clients last week, "Thank you for your business" is something I added, even though I've thanked them in the past.
Who knew that buying a car could be so educational?
P.S. Lesson #14: PRAY THAT YOUR CUSTOMERS / CLIENTS ARE NOT BLOGGERS.
My initial post on this topic was purely "lessons learned" - not meant to be a criticism or rant about our car-buying experience, but it may have come across that way. And yes, this post is a rant, BUT the dealership acted quickly to help resolve the situation. Who knows what the reader will take away from my musings?
~ THE END ~
Copyright 2006-13. Margaret Woda. All rights reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication, but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.
Margaret Woda, REALTOR & Associate Broker Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., 2191 Defense Hwy., Crofton, MD 21114 Direct: (410) 451-6245 or click on EMAIL
Real Estate and community information for home buyers and sellers, military transferees, and rookie agents in the greater Crofton area, including Bowie, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Odenton, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.