Double-digit Interest, Predatory Lenders
It was actually a nightmare car-buying experience. After the deal that Bill Pierre Ford botched because they did not get lender approval BEFORE agreeing to sell me the Focus for $600 down and payments of $405 a month for 72 months, they quietly ushered me down to the Money Mart where the original deal had disappeared, and now they wanted at least $3,000 down and who knows how big a payment and how high an interest rate. They told me it would be at least 24%. In this economy, it is stupid to pay more than 10-12% interest TOPS, and Money Mart definitely is home to a host of predatory lenders who prey upon buyers' unfortunate circumstances. I can do the math very quickly. I said that I am not going to pay $28,000 for a $12,000 car--the difference being the cost of using credit and the fair market value.
"Look, I've got all night and it's not going to change my answer!" was the rude retort by the finance manager who reacted to my shock and pure outrage in trying to get my original Focus deal back, the one Bill Pierre Ford made and the worksheet I signed with the terms they accepted. They reneged. They simply tossed aside the deal because they knew they screwed up by not getting the lender's approval BEFORE making a promise they could not keep.
If I have to get "special financing," it simply means either I will buy a good-running used car for cash and own it outright (I mean, if you flash three grand around these small car lots you're definitely going to find a good deal, and I don't mean a lemon). Unless your credit report reads like a love letter, you're probably going to be paying two to five times the interest rate of a good credit rating, and by that I mean above 700. Then you would be better off either by going through normal financial channels at the dealership (NOT Bill Pierre), or by doing what I did: take your $3,000 that you would have used as a down payment, and simply buying a good used car from a reputable small car dealer, and owning it, with the title in hand!