My daughter's old car, a 1997 Saturn SL2, is on its last leg. Oil getting into the spark plugs, coolant getting into the engine, an exhaust flex pipe that needs to be replaced (not just bolted, but welded) and all the repairs she's done since day one on a car that should never have been sold in the first place have taken their toll financially and emotionally. She loved her little car (and it does run really nice, for the most part), but she's been looking for a car for a few months now. So, when Joe decided to sell his car, I stepped up and asked him if Deb could buy it.
First he said he would only sell it to me. Then he said he wasn't sure she could make payments, despite the fact that she's been working steadily for the past seven years and already paid off one car. She'd offered a lump sum which he countered. She accepted the counter offer, so he decided that he wanted ME to buy it, even though I have no job and no income. Then he raised the price another $400 after having already countered her original offer with a price. He simply was being irrational.
Finally, he said forget it, he'd sell it on CraigsList. By now, I was wanting to cause serious injury to this man. His refusal to be reasonable, the constant changing of terms he'd either offered or accepted, and his childish hanging up on me whenever I wanted to discuss it with him were enough to drive anyone to acts of physical confrontation.
My daughter went back to limping along in her car to and from work not knowing how much longer it would last. She put some more money into it (on what, I don't know, but I know the original lump sum she'd offered was no longer available) and continued to look at car ads.
Then, Mr. Big called me and said that if Deb wanted to buy his car, he'd remove the ad from CraigsList (just an aside - the ad is still there days later) and would accept payments for the entire amount (the price now being $400 more than he'd originally countered). I spoke to my daughter who agreed to both price and payments (which would have the car paid off in a year). That's when he started again. Can't you put it in your name? Can't you buy it? How can I trust that she'll pay me? What if she doesn't? I'm not sure I want to sell it. *insert primal scream here*
Finally, he said write up the contract and I'll sign. In the meantime, a mystery hose somewhere on my daughter's current car decided to spring a leak and she was losing coolant faster than she could get to work in her 30 minute drive. She was in desperate need and we needed to get the transaction done NOW. No more delay tactics.
She printed out the installment agreement at work with all the fields properly filled and included the car as collateral for the agreement so that he would be protected against the possibility that his fears came true and she would be protected that he would make no more changes in his expectations. She even upped the first payment by $100 so that the remaining payments could be divided evenly into the remaining balance. The contract was in hand, the check was written and we made plans to go over last night. Then all hell broke loose.
I got a call from Joe telling me we couldn't come, he wasn't ready to sell the car. In the background I could hear his father calling him a liar while Joe claimed we were strong arming him into selling the car. WHAT?!?!?
He was yelling, his father was yelling, I was trying to reason with him explaining that we weren't TAKING the car, but just bringing over the paperwork and the first payment. Finally he hangs up saying, "I'm not selling the car!"
Thereafter, no matter how many times I called, he would hang up on me. Finally, his father answered and tried to get him on the phone, but he still was yelling that he wasn't going to sell the car. Even my son took the phone to telling Joe's father (who also happens to be my landlord) that his son, who desperately wants to be a cop, was acting like a 5-yr-old and needed to grow up.
It was so surreal - it seriously reminded me of having to deal with my father on occasion who was suffering from dementia and whose reality was distorted. Because of this, Dad would not listen to reason because it simply didn't match his version of reality. That's just what dealing with Joe felt like. Yet knowing that he wasn't suffering from dementia, but was just behaving like a child, I only grew angrier and angrier. If Deb's car wasn't in such bad shape, I'd have hung up the phone and not looked back. But, I knew his car was in good shape and well-maintained, and I knew hers wasn't in good shape. I knew she desperately needed a car and he needed to sell his. I intended to make him live up to his verbal agreement, come hell or high water.
By the time Debra walked through the door, I was yelling at him on the phone. She took the phone from me and said we're going anyway. So, we went over to their house. I don't know what happened between those phone calls and our arrival, but it was almost a complete 180 in attitude. No arguing, no staging elaborate fits, no refusal to sign the documents. He was not the same person. Which is really frightening when you realize just how much he does want to be in law enforcement. [Right now he works for TSA, so remember that if you go through security at Philadelphia International. You have been duly warned.]
So, the paperwork was signed, the first payment was handed over and the rest is soon to be history. She will be adding the car to her insurance today and will transfer title and register it tonight. Hopefully, she'll be bringing it home with her as well (well, legally, she'll be able to whether or not he likes it.) Then I can take that sigh of relief knowing that this nightmare is finally over and she will have a car that doesn't need constant repair and a prayer to stay on the road. Hallelujah! A photo of her car follows (taken by Joe, so it's out of focus.)
UPDATE #1 (replaces previous update)
Why can't anything just be done without some kind of drama involved? Now that Joe has everyone around him upset (due to a last minute refusal to sell the car after he screwed up and filled out the title wrong), he's totally calm and wants to go get a duplicate title so Deb will be able to take his car tonight. This AFTER the circus that took place only an hour ago (he actually tore up the contract he'd signed and we had notarized!) and AFTER Deb removed the car from her insurance because of this. Before I can get out the door to go with him to make sure it really happened so Deb can reinstate the insurance yet again, the heater guys come (I wasn't told they were coming) to do more work on the furnace they installed Friday and Monday. Ugh. No breaks, no naps, no relief to be found for me today. I wanna hide.
It turns out that despite the DMV office in Trenton saying he'd need to get a duplicate title, the local office had prepared for his kind of mistake and had forms ready for boneheads who had accidentally called themselves lienholders. So, forms in hand, we have had them notarized and all Deb has to do is go to the DMV tonight and transfer title to the car. I brought the car home with me and I have the keys. It's got 3/4 tank of gas and she's anxious to drive something that's not ready to fall apart. The only thing I learned was that he hasn't had brakes done since 2007 and I'm hearing rubbing when I put the brakes on. She'll need brake pads. A minor issue compared to the Saturn's problems. Can I take my nap now???