Our first experience with West Valley Auto Plaza was in 2005 when our trusty Explorer finally broke down and we were in sudden need of a vehicle. Since my husband had LITERALLY just filed bankruptcy he couldn't get standard financing. Luckily West Valley Auto Plaza had a plan where they put a box on your engine and if you don't pay Bi-Weekly they just shut your car off. Some people can live without good credit, but not very many without a car ;)
Anyways, I was busy and I told my husband to go check the cars out, just keep two criteria in mind: we need a sedan because we had just had a baby, and to make sure to get an automatic transmission. He comes home with a 1998 Cavelier Coupe with a manual transmission. This is the ONLY car they could get him into, apparently. This is with a price tag of $250 a month. Almost as much as I paid for my newer SUV with extended warranties and GAP insurance..... hmmm.
Enter April 2007. My car goes to car heaven. Now our credit is better, so much so that we are shopping around for loans to buy a house. Thus the problem. Even though we only have two or three months left in the contract with the Cavelier tacking on another car payment would push our DTI significantly higher and jepordize Operation-Get-A-House. It turns out, that since we have paid off almost the entire contract for the over-priced Cavelier, and my husband had referred several people who made purchases, West Valley Auto will pay off the rest of the car if we buy our new one through them!!
This is great! And then it all hit me so fast.... Turns out this is only subject to me buying a 2006 model. They only have one. A PT Cruiser, which I've never been too fond of. My husband pointed out however, that what's important is getting a good reliable vehicle. For the same price, they had a nice black pickup on their website. It wasn't a 2006 but since I have a knack for pushing what I want, I figure this is the car I'll go for once we get there.
My husband didn't like it! So, I'm perusing the other cars, and I see that NONE of them have a sticker price on them! I saw another car while they're drawing up paperwork. I asked the guy how much and he said "Not for the price you told me." My husband was wrapping up things on the Cavelier and left me to take the test drive on my own. As I attempted to swing quickly out into the traffic I was met with he weakest engine I've ever handled. "What is this, a 4-cylinder?! I asked." Of course. I took note of the ugly uphosltery and the ugly white color, but my husband I daresay LIKED this car.... so we went forward with the docs.
As I looked at the contract I noticed that they had tacked the payoff amount for the Cavelier into the new price of the PT Cruiser. Shocked, I brought this to my husband's attention. "Well they are paying it off....." "No" I said, they are lending us the payoff..... which we can pay interest on for the next six years!!"
This didn't seem to make a difference to my husband as long as we only had one car payment at a reasonable interest rate, that I was a "shoe-in" for. So I drove it to work that day. On the way, they called to let me know my interest rate was higher, and of course, the payment was higher, getting higher and higher from the original $200 a month I told them. We were now looking at $350 a month.
Well, too late now right? Husband still liked the car. Everyone at work thought it was cute and luxurious. Maybe I could warm up to it, I was proudly showing a co-worker when I noticed the bumper was a different shade of white!! I called them right then and there to ask them if the car had been in an accident. "Not to their knowledge....." RIGHT. My husband services all our vehicles and I let him know right there that I thought we should take it back, but if he felt up to keeping up with this car go for it. We kept it.
The Chassis was shaking so hard at freeway speeds that we took it to a dealership under warranty. They wouldn't do anything, and besides the tires didn't match they were different makes and had different tread. Then we took it to our friend's auto shop. He took me under the lift to show me that EACH tire was indeed different. This I can't even comprehend on a newer vehicle!! He couldn't diagnose the shaking until I bought FOUR new tires for it. You would think that after paying more than $6,000.00 over the high blue-book on this car they could at least put new tires on it! It also has as much if not MORE rust than cars 10, 15, even 20 years older than it. It started bubbling and cracking under the paint within a month, also within a few months the windshield wouldn't pass inspection because some chips I hadn't noticed had cracked across the whole window.
Then it all comes back to the Cavelier. Turns out paying off the original contract is not enough. For some reason they needed to show that we sold them the car as a trade in and we bought it back, or something. WEIRD. Anyways, we have to go back in and sign paperwork before they can release the title. So we drive the 20 miles to get it. Oh, the person we need isn't there. We call, he's there we drive the 20 miles, oh, he left early. No one else can help us, they aren't sure what we're talking about.
Finally, my husband lets me let out a little of the agression that's been building the whole time. I told them, if so and so wasn't there that's not my problem, if no one else can cover him, that's not my problem. I paid for a car and I don't have the title... THAT is my problem. They can mail whatever we need to sign with the title, but the title better get mailed. Okay, they mailed it. We wait and wait and WAIT. No title. My husband called them and they don't have any idea where it could be.
By this time, I'm done. I would've brought that car back demanded a suitable vehicle for my money or threatened lawsuit. I was sick of my husband's complacency, so I told him to get the title. We still don't have it, I've obtained a replacement title form assuming it was really lost in the mail, but I have a feeling this monster will rear its ugly head someday.
In the meantime, I've just been making payments in my never-ending pursuit of good credit. I now have very good credit, and lots of dealerships have said they can finance us..... once we get out of the now $9,000 negative equity that has resulted from this nightmare that isn't due to end for another 4 years.
If you want to deal with these people, make sure you pull your blue-books, because they have no stickers on the lot. Don't believe for a second that you are special and they will make you a deal. Be ready to get as down and dirty as these low-lifes are!!