I thought by the time we were ready for a new car there would be all sorts of options. And I don’t mean ones that run on alternative fuels. That whole project has been deliberately stalled. I was thinking of shared vehicles, self driving or maybe just a better mass transit system. We have always had only one car so when our fifteen year run with the Element came to an abrupt end, we had to learn about the current options under pressure.
We did most of shopping online. Sadly there are only three types of vehicles out there and within those types they all look the same. SUVs of various sizes, pick-up trucks and your basic car/sedans that all look the same. We were happy with the Element so went out to Honda. First to complain about the discontinuation of the Element and then to look at the options in 3D. The CRV was the next best thing but then there was this report.
Despite the irreparable damage from the hit and run they offered us some money on a trade in but when we looked at the title to our Element, for the first time in fifteen years, we found there was a lien attached. The 2003 Element was our first new car purchase and we did it in cash so we were taken aback. We remember going out to John Holtz (no longer in business) with a cashier’s check and then going in a back room where we were up-sold on an extended warranty package. Since we already had a cashier’s check for the full amount of the car they said we could put the warranty coverage on our credit card and pay it off monthly so we did but the lien was never removed. And the bank that held the lien was bought by Santander, a giant Spanish bank.
We sort of feel like the kid in “Breaking Away” who was so enamored with the Italian bike team until he raced with them and they took him down. It took us a week to get to someone inside the Spanish bank was willing to help.
We were not a customer. We had no account there and the Customer Service phone line was a giant maze where you wait forever on hold with a music loop for the next person who tries to transfer you and then cuts you off. We started over so many times we learned the codes to get through the phone maze. At the first utterance of a recorded voice we pushed 1, and after the next voice another 1 and another and then four zeros to the next level’s four questions. The zeros are not even an option there but they confuse the system and get you to a real sounding person. And then they want to transfer you to the loan department, a separate company, because they find out you are not a customer. After landing over there a few times we learned to plead with the represenative to get us to their supervisor. We dealt with five supervisors and at last found one who was willing to fax a lien release letter to the car dealer, but by then it was too late in the day on Friday. With any luck we will be driving a new car to yoga on Monday night.