PT Cruiser “Gotcha Day” (aka, picking up the car).
Hola. Today was dedicated to picking up our 2004 PT Cruiser named Lemmy. I could write paragraphs about this experience, instead – I’m going to treat it more of a list because today was a bit … crazy.
- We met with the previous owner’s friend who lives in Santiago at 8:00 a.m. at a train stop near the parking garage. Rodrigo arrived on time and had the car keys and all the documents we needed. CHECK.
- Walked with Rodrigo to the parking garage – he was a nice dude – met the previous car owners in Nepal – good small talk chatter between the three of us. Got to the garage and the manager wasn’t going to be in for another 45 minutes to confirm the agreed upon monthly storage rate. DARN.
- Rodrigo suggested we go check out the car in the meantime. So we went and as we turn the corner, we see a vehicle under a tarp. This was a fun little reveal as we took off the cover to see a beautifully dusty PT Cruiser. It was like the Price Is Right. WINNING.
- We spent about 15 minutes checking out the car, confirming paperwork, and all that jazz. However, it was only 8:30 a.m. and the manager wasn’t going to be in for another 30 minutes and we could tell that Rodrigo was itching to get to work (we couldn’t blame him…). So we told him we could work with the manager on our own to ensure we had the agreed upon rate, etc. FEELING CONFIDENT.
- After Rodrigo left, we did some more tests, headlights, brake lights (the back right brake light was out), A/C, etc. Nothing crazy. ALL GOOD.
- We met with the manager at 9:00 a.m. and he remembered the agreement (approximately $120 USD a month – we were splitting this cost with the previous owners). However, he only accepted cash (naturally). So we went to the nearest bank and pulled out 200.000 Chilean Pesos (about $300) to pay the full parking cost. NO BIGGIE.
- Sarah and I paid the manager, and left the parking garage to head to a mechanic that we found online that had good reviews and possibly had some English speaking abilities (well the review said the owner’s wife spoke English very well – maybe she was there?). The shop was about 15 minutes away. We arrived to the place and are informed the owner is not in yet and we’d have to wait a few minutes. The owner arrives and we ask him for a full inspection of the car. He basically takes one look at our car and recommends that we don’t buy it (Note, we’ve already bought it) based on it just being a Chrysler PT Cruiser (he said it’s hard to find parts, etc. – we knew that). RUDE.
- Anyways, he agrees to do an inspection (oh yah, he doesn’t speak English, by the way) and informs us he will call us or text us in the next few hours after the inspection is complete and let us know his thoughts. We leave feeling pretty good because it’s about 9:45 a.m. and we had blocked off the morning to take care of this prior to a nice lunch planned at 1 p.m. KNOCKING THINGS OFF THE LIST.
- We get back to our hotel room and clean up a little bit, start to look up things to do in Valparaiso because we are planning to drive Lemmy there tomorrow and spend two nights prior to heading south to Temuco. We were a bit focused on the Valpo research and didn’t notice that we had a missed call and many text messages from the shop owner. Bottom line, he was suggesting about $600 in must needed repairs, with much focus on the brakes. He said that he could have the car ready by Friday late-afternoon. F*CK.
- Meanwhile, again, we are planning to take this car to Valparaiso tomorrow and then take it down to Temuco. However, tomorrow is Thursday (and the car won’t be ready until Friday). We then just think that we can have them complete the work on the car and that we can pick it up on Saturday when we get back form Valparaiso – it’s pretty easy to take a bus to Valparaiso (so we don’t need the car). We come to find out that they are closed on Saturday & Sunday. Also, there is only one set of keys so nothing like where he could lock our set of keys in the car and we get at our convenience with the other set of keys. SH*T.
- Okay, going to deal with that logistical problem later. Next issue is we need/want to inform the previous owners of the cost quoted by the mechanic. In our agreement to buy the car, it was stated that Lemmy would cost $2,000 minus the cost of “necessary repairs” deemed by the mechanic on the day we picked it up. Therefore, they are technically on the hook for the cost, assuming the costs are “legit” and we aren’t just getting ripped off by a mechanic realizing that we don’t speak Spanish very well and that we are not mechanics. All that being said, I’m guessing the previous owners didn’t anticipate a $600 bill (that kind of cuts into the $2,000 they were expecting). NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS.
- I reached to the previous owners, and get a response from one of them – basically being surprised by the cost indicating they invested $450 in the car pretty recently prior to selling (including replacing the brake pads), coupled with the fact that it was 3:30 a.m. in Australia (where she currently is). As expected, not a great situation. Add this to the fact that we’re now trying to get to our restaurant reservation on time but also realizing that we probably only have a small window in which this person is awake since it’s the middle of the night. NOT GREAT.
- As we are at the restaurant, Sarah and I are basically on our phones the entire time – going back and forth with the previous owner on whether the suggested repairs were legit, also texting the mechanic to ask about when he’d need an answer by us by (again, still don’t know we’d pick up the car, but don’t want to waste any more time). I feel bad that the costs are pretty high, but also know that we need to prioritize our safety while in this car, so unless someone can prove to use that we don’t need to make these repairs, we’re going to go through with it. NOT FUN.
- Side note – the restaurant (99 Restaurante) we went to for lunch was so good. We didn’t really get to enjoy the experience, I’m sure the wait staff thought we were jerks for being on our phones the entire time. But we highly recommend it for anyone visiting Santiago. DELICIOUS.
- We get back to the hotel and work with the concierge to see if she can play translator for us. She agrees and calls the mechanic and speaks to him for about 5 minutes. We get off the phone and she provides some additional insight that helps us to validate that we need these repairs. We share that information with the previous owners and they finally give in and agree that it should be done. However, prior to fully agreeing, they ask if we can try to avoid the 19% tax by paying in cash. We reach out to the mechanic and he agrees that he’d do it. Seems shady, but whatever. That being said, we don’t have that much cash, so we need to go back to the ATM and I’m slightly concerned my bank is going to cut me off for needing to pull out the maximum ATM amount for the 3rd time today (once for parking, and now need to hit the ATM twice for the car repairs). IT NEVER ENDS.
- Now, we have the cash, agreement that we can make the repairs, the mechanic is good to go, so now we head back to the mechanic to pay in advance because we’re going to be out of town. As we are thinking through how to get the car, we think that we can just grab the key from him, find a place to make a copy so that we have two keys and then he can leave the keys in the vehicle and we grab on Saturday with the copy. Perfect, right? Nope, we’re naïve and I guess the car key is really expensive to copy (like $150?) and also they lock up their parking lot behind a gate so we wouldn’t have been able to get it anyways. PLAN FAILS, OF COURSE.
- We leave the shop after talking with the mechanic about the car a bit (mechanic is super nice, we like him). Head back to the hotel and I start talking with one of the bell hops who has been awesome. Long story short, I ask to see if he’d be willing to pick up the car and bring it to the hotel on Friday. He asks his manager and gets approval to do this, but ultimately this is our back-up plan. We also reached out to Rodrigo (Remember him? He is who gave us the keys and documents to start the day). He said he’s be willing to pick it up and drop it off at the hotel on Friday as long as he can do it on his lunch break (again, Rodrigo is very nice, and of course we’d pay him for his efforts). However, the car is not promised to be done until 4:30 p.m. on Friday. We reached out to the mechanic and he said that he will know more tomorrow (which is Thursday). FINGERS CROSSED.
- This timeline takes us up until the point in which we’re in an uber to our dinner reservation – at Restaurante 040 – which is our last “treat yo self” dinner (apparently we had a thing for restaurants with numbers today). We could probably write an entire post about this meal and the after dinner drinks at the speakeasy, but too tired after spending most of today’s efforts on getting the cruiser. END SCENE.
Bottom line – a good amount of stress and critical thinking today. Everything is not fully resolved at this point, but tomorrow is another day, so we’ll just take it from there. GOODNIGHT.