Buying and selling a car the hard way, a case study

Chapter 6: Driving away happy

Saturday, April 15


Time to call Meriworst to see if my loan has been finally approved. The Meriworst after-hours message announces they are closed till 9:00am.


Another call to Meriworst. My agent is not working this weekend. The operator informs me that the only way to process a loan request is in person at a branch. He is unable to connect me with a loan specialist on the phone.

Time to visit the local Meriworst. We take a short trip to the Almaden office. We get to the bank before 9:30am. There is no waiting line.

I sit down with the loan specialist on duty. I give her my loan record number, and she pulls it up right away. She sees my loan is requiring proof of income in the form of my two most recent paystubs. Apparently the rep I have been working with either did not receive my email with those documents, or hadn’t updated my file. From my phone, I find the original email and forward it to the on-duty agent’s email.

She takes a quick glance at the documents, and Bam!, the loan is complete. The Citibank fiasco has dropped my credit down to 683. Fortunately, this still puts us at a reasonable interest rate of 2.99%. Without the Citi glitch, I would have been in the top loan bracket, which would have qualified me for a 2.25% rate. The credit debacle served as a $400 penalty. Effectively more than the $380 balance on my Citi card.

Glad to be finally done with the paperwork, time to call Alex at Oak Tree Mazda. I let him know that I have good news. We are finally through the credit process, and we are ready to finalize the deal.

We head over to Oak Tree and Alex is ready with the vehicle and paperwork. The next hour and a half is spent filling out their credit application, reviewing paperwork with the finance manager, waiting for the vehicle to be detailed, and reviewing the features of the vehicle(there are lots) with Alex. While processing my paperwork, Alex assumes that I wish to use my Meriworst loan. I clear him of this notion. I tell him that I would love to shop the rate. If he can get me a better deal, I would be happy to go with another loan service other than Meriworst.

In the end, we still end up with a 2.99% rate, but I am very pleased to avoid using Meriworst. Instead, we give our loan to Mazda’s preferred bank Chase.

Meriwest (Meriworst) how I loath thee. Let me count the ways.

  1. After rejecting my initial loan application, why was there no call or email to alert me of the rejection?
  2. Once I finally discovered my loan request was rejected, why did you not provide me with suggestions to fix the problem in order to get the loan approved? Why did I have to beg for reconsideration?
  3. Why did you require me to fix and document my credit correction if there would be no material improvement to my loan rate? As a counterpoint, the loan with Chase did not require any correction before approving my loan and was approved on the spot.
  4. When you knew I was in a rush to get the loan approved, why did you not assist me in getting the loan completed before you took off for the weekend despite me sending in all the required paperwork?
  5. All of the above would have been exceptable, except for the attitude. Why so rude? The attitude of Meriworst through the process varied from rude at worst, and indifferent at best. The value of going with a neighborhood credit union is to get better customer service, not obnoxious and inflexible suits.

— end Meriworst rant.

12:04pm. The journey is complete. I drive off the lot with a new Silver 2016.5 CX-5 Grand Touring. The Meriworst debacle fades in the rear-view mirror.

Now that the replacement car process is complete, the last steps are to add the CX-5 to the insurance and to donate the Sienna. Taking a break from all the vehicle nonsense, I plan to complete those tasks early the following week. The former would be simple, the latter would prove to be more interesting.

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