So this is how Saturday went:
First off, I think I did my homework:
- I checked out the Nada price information, and decided the price was both fair and within our desired range.
- I searched for any ratings for the Alfa line and found it rated well, higher than Winnebago, but not as high at Tiffin.
- I looked for any comments on forums etc. and didn't find to much negative.
- I made a two page list of what we wanted and questions about this particular coach.
- I lined up an RV inspector (maybe not the best, but who I could find available at this time.)
When we got to the dealership we found the Alfa up front, with the door open and the generator running and our name on the window. Good presentation!
We did a quick look around the outside and went in, soon to be joined by our smiling salesman. I have little sense of time, but I think we spent about a half hour looking at things with him and asking a few of the easier questions before we took a test drive.
The salesman drove first with Craig up front and me in the recliner. Knowing how sensitive Craig is to rattles, I identified one big one as being the top of the stove burners, removed it and held it on my lap.
Craig's drive started on a country road, then onto the freeway, which was moving very slow, and then onto a surface street area. He didn't like the exhaust breaking very much so turned it off, and liked the feel of that better.
I drove it on some surface streets and then back to the dealership doing a turn around at the end of the street in a large cul de sac, and then parked it next to a curb at the dealers lot. Nothing hard. (my evaluation was that the National drove a little smoother, but the Alfa was pretty good. Craig was OK with it and said it didn't feel too big.)
The salesman answered a few more questions and then left us alone to talk and look some more. Neither one of us was at the "we have to have this one or die of disappointment" point. We could have walked away with regrets, but decided to take the next step. We had agreed on the need to get an inspection the night before.
So we called the salesman in and said yes, with some conditions. We all sat down and he began putting our agreed on fixes in writing. A new windshield, clean a spot on the ceiling, repair of the engine cover door, and giving us an estimate on repairing the bottom edge of the from bumper which is scuffed up and cracked.
He told me about it last week from Arizona and it was as he described. He told me then they would not fix it, but I'm hoping to get a good price on the work as part of the sale.
All of this went smoothly, BUT when we stated the condition of having an independent inspection, the whole thing almost fell apart.
The salesman called in the manager and they both went on about how they had never heard of such a thing. Why call in someone from the outside when they did a complete inspection using their experts! That if you bought a coach from "La Mesa" you didn't need any one else's opinion. They were very "arrogant."
Craig said that that was one of our requirements and there was no other way we would buy the coach.
The manager said he had two other customers that wanted that coach, and he couldn't hold it for us any longer. We said fine, sell it to them and give us our refund. (It turned out they had never run my credit card, and all there was in our folder was a note with our credit card number etc. that I had given the salesman over the phone when he called me from Arizona. I do have to check my American Express account tomorrow however just to make sure.)
Then the manager said a few other things that I ignored, but whatever he said, it made Craig very angry, and he said he could never do business with "that man" and stormed out to the car. Craig later told me he thought the manager was being very verbally abusive to me. I just heard it as sale "bluster" and was willing to call their bluff on canceling the possible sale.
So, I went out too, and we sat in our car for a few minutes to cool off.
It is never good to drive while upset. I'm not sure we wanted to leave it at that either.
Our salesman came out to talk to us and tried to smooth things over. By then the manager had agreed to include the condition of our "approval" of an independent inspection report, if it could be done by Wednesday. So we went back in and put it under contract, with everything in writing. This time giving them a deposit by check.
Once that was done there were handshakes and congratulations all around.
No used RV is perfect. We know some of the imperfections of the Alfa, mostly due to it being almost five years old. We do not expect out inspector to reveal anything, but if he does we will still can walk away. I hope!
Next post: The pluses and minuses. Why we choose this one.