Last week, my wife and I invested many hours in the process of researching and purchasing a used car. The fun phase of test driving and haggling now over, we moved into the not-so-fun phase…paperwork. The sales agent, who had come in on his day off to sell us this car, was eager to get us out the door and hurried to assemble papers for our signature.
“Here is your purchase order…here is the total…this is the warranty brochure.” All the standard forms. Then he highlighted, “And here is a disclosure so we can call you in the future.” Wait a minute, we thought as we read through the form in detail. “It says that your dealership can contact us about special offers, too. We’d prefer not to get those.”
“Oh, no” he said. “This just lets me do a follow-up call in 6 months to make sure you’re happy with the purchase. We won’t bombard you with any offers.”
My response stymied him for a moment, “Yeah, that’s ok. Believe me, I’ll call you if there’s anything wrong. I’d rather not sign it.” Not only had he not needed a signed disclosure to call me during the buying process we’d just navigated for the last week, but this car wasn’t even his dealership’s make. It was a trade-in that didn’t matter to his company. There was no need to follow up.
“Well, it’s really no big deal. Everyone signs this form. It’s part of the packet.”
“Is it required to buy the car?” I asked. He responded in the negative.
“Good,” I affirmed, “Then I’m more comfortable not signing it.”
Interestingly, twenty minutes later we sat down with a very nice lady from the finance department who presented the same form for our signature. It was evident that not signing this disclosure statement was a throwing them a curve ball. What do you mean they don’t want to sign the form??? They have to…it’s part of the process.
In the end, we stuck to our guns and avoided a year’s worth of phone calls about special offers. But I also walked away with a lesson about processes, systems, and inflexibility.
Leaders in 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, check their terrain card and checklist while maintaining communications in the Andar province of Afghanistan, June 6, 2007. (U.S. Army photo
by Staff Sgt. Marcus J. Quarterman)