I need to buy a used car. I hate the process, am afraid of dealerships, and am easily talked into things — so I hired a "car concierge" buying service to do this for me. But it didn't work out like I thought and I felt pressured to spend more than I wanted. Should I give up? If so, how do I deal with buying a used car, when it completely freaks me out?
Back in November, I hired a "car concierge"
to handle the purchase of a used car for me. They charge a flat fee. So far I have paid a $200 deposit. The total fee is something closer to $600-$700 (and they typically save you at least that much in the negotiation process). I wanted to spend between $5K-$8K for something like a wagon or smaller SUV. I barely drive, and it's purely for recreational purposes. I also live in a gritty urban neighborhood and don't want to put anything too nice or new out on the street where I'd be parking it.
I thought the concierge would a) present me with some options, b) let me pick one, c) handle the negotiations all by the deadline we'd set of four weeks. All along he was skeptical of my price range and was asking me to spend more. At first he encouraged me to lease, which I rejected. He did present me with some options at first, I chose one (a Toyota Matrix for $8K) but it failed the inspection process. Then, he tried to get me in one of his clients' cars (a sedan I never wanted), and then tried to talk up my price range to $11K. He keeps emphasizing, like a condescending dad or something, that he "doesn't want to put me in anything that is unsafe," etc., but I feel like he's not listening to what I really want. When I sent him an email about a month ago, listing specific used cars I found online that I liked, and reemphasizing that I was OK with a car with higher mileage since I barely drive, but really wanted to stay in the target price range, he didn't respond to the email at all and called me back present was another Matrix for $11K with 60K miles, and I've been stalling, because it really is more than I want to spend. But as I said, I'm easily talked into things.
I think I want to fire the guy, but I am TERRIFIED of dealing with car dealerships and think no matter what I do on my own I'll be taken advantage of. I also want this process to end quickly! I really wanted to have a car by now and it's causing some additional stress not to have one available. I have no family nearby that can help, and don't want to lean on friends to do this for me.
What should I do? Fire the car concierge? Go back to him one last time with firm criteria? Find another car concierge? Buck up and just deal with some sleazy used car dealer? Buy from a private owner? I hate all of this and just want it to end. And I want a car.