I've been a company driver for a while now, and am ready to move to being an owner operator.
With some knowledge of how the system works, in 2018 I formed an LLC, registered a DOT number, and went through the paperwork to get operating authority based on declared commercial use of a pickup truck with a large trailer I already have. I've maintained this authority for insurance reasons since then.
Based on the backlog for new trucks, I placed an order for a new truck in May of 2022 with a local dealership and simultaneously began a search for a used truck to have 1-2 years of financials to show for a loan for the new truck.
The used truck search has been atrocious.
The first truck I tried to look at was in Utah with me in Connecticut. I spoke to the dealer, flew out, inspected the truck, and they asked for a $5,000 non-refundable deposit to hold it for me to go home and get a cashier's check (all cash purchase, no financing). Not a problem, I like getting the credit card points anyway, give them the deposit, sign a sales contract that lists the VIN, mileage, price with all fees, etc and says I have 60 days to complete the purchase or forfeit the deposit.
Go home, get a cashier's check, and fly out on a one-way ticket 9 days after signing the contract, expecting to drive it back home. Nope, they sold it to someone else, it's not on the lot anymore.
They then refused to refund the deposit as the sales contract clearly lists it as non-refundable.
I now have a pending lawsuit against the dealer, their defense claim is the sales contract was only a non-binding business proposal which did not hold either side to any obligation for the purchase, and the deposit was instead earnest money to demonstrate I am a serious buyer and would be applied towards the purchase of whatever truck I chose to buy from them, not necessarily the one in the sales contract.
Truck two was an unusually new model year and low mileage Ryder truck that had a bad engine. It was priced well enough that I felt I could put a new or rebuild engine into it and have a decent truck with what I know to be a good engine with a warranty.
Call them up, $500 deposit to secure it for a week. Take a day off work, drive 350 miles to see it, and...it's sold. They recommend I look at other trucks they have on the lot, but nothing else was close to what I was looking for. They didn't give me too much of a hard time about returning the deposit.
Truck 3 was in California, this time I went with a cashier's check for the listed price, expecting to be able to get "out-the-door" at that amount, or if not, add the rest on with a credit card. Truck was a disaster, the pictures were obviously a different truck, or from a while before as this one had a cracked and bent frame, one door wouldn't close, and the hood was broken at the hinges. Didn't even bother with an in depth inspection or making an offer. My bank gave me a bit of a hard time about canceling the cashier check so I decided not to do that again for the next one.
Truck 4 was in Texas, dealer had 2 identically specced trucks, but I was only looking for one. Again, flew out, inspected, offer, deposit, sales contract, and plan to come back. Get cashier's check, buy airfare, schedule time off work, then the dealer calls, someone else came with a cashier's check for both trucks, so they sold them to him. They offer me half of my deposit back, and nothing for the extra expenses I incurred.
I'm looking for a bit of an odd spec which is why I'm finding so few available for sale, and am willing to travel for it, but I just can't understand how the industry operates with dealers like this. Meanwhile the local dealer for the new truck still hasn't assigned me a build slot, and has no idea when I'll get one.
Is it supposed to be this awful buying a truck?
Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by IHatePeople, Mar 15, 2023.
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Another Canadian driver, Siinman, blairandgretchen and 2 others Thank this.
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Um, just what color of Unicorn were you looking for?
I mean, Utah, California, Texas and you're in Connecticut?
Bro, you've burned probably close to $10k just in deposits and air fare.
I would politely make 2 suggestions:
#1, rethink your expectations / requirements
#2, read the fine print.
Good luckAnother Canadian driver, fordconvert, AModelCat and 6 others Thank this.
Chinatown Road Train Member
- Aug 28, 2011
What specs are you wanting? Maybe some 0/0's or fleet owners on this form can help with leads.Another Canadian driver, Siinman, Albertaflatbed and 1 other person Thank this.
I guess my first question would be if you’re already in UT and have the cash for the truck why wouldn’t you just wire the money to them instead of flying back and forth across the country so you can hand them a paper check? Never once have I actually handed someone a check for any of the trucks I’ve purchased.Constant Learner, larry2903, Another Canadian driver and 12 others Thank this.
Used vehicle dealers are unscrupulous?! I'm shocked to hear this! Absolutely shocked!stwik, Another Canadian driver, exhausted379 and 7 others Thank this.
blairandgretchen Road Train Member
- Dec 9, 2011
Man - what a nightmare.Another Canadian driver, exhausted379, fordconvert and 4 others Thank this.
Yeah, sounds like a bunch of really bad breaks in a row.
I don't know if it's a good time to go OO right now, what with rates being low and fuel high, however OTOH I have been reading that the truck market is starting to get a little better (at least on used trucks maybe?) , which should work in your favor if that is true and the trend continues.Another Canadian driver and bzinger Thank this.
What I'm looking for is a VNL 400 series with a 6x2 drivetrain with the automatic lift axle, D11 motor rated for 425hp, Ishift transmission ideally set up with a gasoline/diesel product pump, or at least ready for a PTO. Either pre-emissions or 2018+.
I could list the "extras" that I'd like to see on the truck, but these requirements narrow the field down enough that I'm not stuck on other features.
At this point, I'm starting to consider a D13, but the rest of the specs are required for me.
Admittedly I don't really want to buy a local truck as the salt and liquid anti-ice we use brings havoc to vehicles. Even if the truck is structurally sound, all the fittings, nuts/bolts, and exposed ancillary components consistently have corrosion that makes working on anything from this area a nightmare.
Nothing in the fine print of either contract allows the dealer to back out of the deal as signed, absent the time delay to forfeiture which had not occurred in either case.
Hindsight is 20/20 there's definitely other methods I could have pursued to make the payment on the truck, but in both cases, the dealer said they'd happily accept a wire or a cashier's check, I'm familiar with cashier's checks, not so much wires, and the bank I've always used is a regional bank with no branches near where I was out of state.
What I'd be doing is mostly local work, operating under my own authority but moving loads that are contracted to the company I currently work for, and/or the company I worked for before (same industry).tarmadilo, Another Canadian driver, Siinman and 2 others Thank this.
It doesn’t have to be a branch of your bank. I use the same bank I’ve been at since I was in high school, just a local small town bank in South Dakota. They can wire money anywhere I need it to go. Next time before you go to look at a truck ask them for their wiring instructions so you can pass them along to your bank so everything is ready to go if you decide to purchase. It would save you a lot of hassle.Constant Learner, larry2903, Another Canadian driver and 6 others Thank this.
Jubal Early Times Road Train MemberAnother Canadian driver, exhausted379, Siinman and 2 others Thank this.
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