March 27, 2001
Ten days ago I treated myself to a new car. My wife and I have been sharing one car for over a year. We were reducing our debt load and having just one-car payment made sense. Our financial status is better now and we felt it was time to have a second car. Since I am self-employed we opted to lease the vehicle through my company. The benefit here is being able to write off a considerable portion of the car's cost on my taxes each year.
The original deal was simple and straightforward. Give the dealer the first month's payment and drive off the lot in the car. We were very pleased. It appeared everything was going the way we wanted.
Trouble started quickly however. The leasing company was sticky about establishing my income. I am an independent software consultant. Currently I am sub-contracting through a friend of mine. Since I don't have a written contract with the client, only a verbal one with him, I had to work hard to establish my income level to the leasing company. This took 4 days and numerous phone calls and faxes.
For the past few days I had though everything was clear and done.
Today I got a call from the Audi dealer. The leasing company now wants a down payment. Because it is a "used" car they will only cover 90% of the value, I have to pony up the remainder. It seems we were misled in the original deal, either through deliberate omission or incompetence. Even though we can pay, money is no longer the issue.
The issue for me now is taking care of my self. I am starting to regret taking the car because every day I get a phone call about it, about me. People I don't know, and wouldn't care to know, are making me jump through hoop after hoop just because they can. All I wanted was something fun to drive back and forth to work. The fact that a lease allowed us to get a very nice vehicle, and write it off in the process, was icing on the cake. Only now the cake is starting to go stale, the icing is separating and coming off.
I have 4 days to decide what to do about this. Do I pony up the money and keep the car or do I use this change of circumstance to back out of the deal? If I am going to be bitter about this deal for the life of the lease then there is no point in keeping the car. If my wife, who is a part of our company, is going to have negative feelings about this deal, then we should return it now. Neither of us wants to have some thing because of the thing itself. For us it is about the emotions and feelings we associate with the thing. One car is exactly the same as the next until we add in our feelings about it. Until all the trouble with this car started I had very good feelings. Now that I've had my integrity questioned, repeatedly; now that the deal I agreed to is being unilaterally changed; now I don't have very good feelings about the car and possessing it at all.
I know that as I write these words I am not in a space to make rational decisions. We are selling our former house in South Carolina tomorrow and that deal has been difficult from the start. If the close happens as planned we will be free from all the negative emotion and pain associated with that deal. Having another deal seemingly go sour at the same time is almost too much to bear.
I know that I need some distance from the fresh insult of a down payment. I also know that I needed to share it here so I could get some understanding before making the decision.