How big of a rip off are "Buy here, pay here" car lots?


Heh heh heh. Where do you start? History, civics, math, business? It was not at all amusing to me when the man on the street asked the college student who won the Civil War and the answer was England?


Although the question should have specified ‘The American Civil War’ the answer was incorrect as the rebels won the ‘English Civil War’.


Sure, those poor dears just mis-understood the question and thought the question involved European history and the Ottoman empire. Of course it was hard to confuse the question of how many states we had. My teacher friends blame it on poverty and parents though and not the curriculum. Hard to duplicate the poverty a lot of the parents of those teachers experienced though.

Whatever, I gotta go order tires and figure out why my trailer lights don’t work. Math and basic electricity-grade 6 if I remember correctly.


In a sense, he was right…it was the interviewer’s fault for not specifying WHICH Civil War he was referring to.


I use to own a few income properties. I’m down to just 2 now. I do most of the repairs. And I’ve ran across a few things that were supposedly done by a licensed electrician that was totally wrong and extremely dangerous. If it’s beyond my skills I know a couple master electricians who’s work I trust.


I’m not sure that double pole single throw breakers are required in my local codes but they’re much too convenient and safe not to use them on 220v applications. Old fuse panels had individual fuses on each hot leg and were and still are legal in non commercial buildings… FWIW I have installed a 440v three phase compressor motor and wired the sub panel to handle it. That particular work was done in violation of local codes due to the commercial location but I couldn’t afford to wait for the permits and a licensed electrician. The work was approved at the annual inspection done by the city but I was cited for not getting a permit.


I rented a room in a house when I was in graduate school. The house only had 120 volt service and one slow blow 20 amp fuse protected the whole house. The range and water heater were gas. The furnace was a coal furnace that had no stoker or blower. The only appliances were s refrigerator, wringer washing machine, and a television. The landlord and his wife lived in the house and rented the spare bedrooms to me and another student. There was just one bathroom in the house.
We used a lot less electrical power back in the early 1960s.


Weren’t those the GOOD OLE DAYS @Triedaq? When I was young my maternal and paternal grandparents had outhouses and electricity had recently been installed in their homes which were quite similarly equipped with modern accouterments to the house you mentioned. The most significant difference is that the homes were heated with wood fired pot bellied stoves. And it occurred to me many years ago that maybe living in a situation where it’s impossible to not recognize that not planning ahead for the future would result in being cold or hungry or wet or walking or all those things. I consider myself lucky that I recognized how important it was to stay on track financially and avoid all those hardships without ever enduring them personally.

But about those rip-off car lots and so many business models that profit from their license to “stick it to the suckers,” it’s my opinion that there should be some sensible limit to just how outrageous today’s Main St Mafia can go to bleed the gullible who are for the most part good people who just want to work and earn a livable wage so they can have basic comforts and occasionally have a cold beer or dinner at McD’s in spite of their poor financial judgement.


I think I have a double pole single throw for my ac installed 09 or so should I worry?


OK here is an odd plumbing incident.

Getting back to cars, there are a lot of folks who just look at the monthly payment, if they can find a ride they like and can meet the minimum payment they go with it. They are forever in debt, do not know how to operate any differently. An FBI agent lives in my neighborhood, every few months they arrest some bad guy drug dealers in an Esclade or similar boat. They perps buy the car on credit, make one or two payments to get the attention off them and never pay again. The perps go off to the court system and the car back to the bank.


Yeah I rented a room from an elderly lady for $5 a week. Just a room with a bed and a desk. Had that octopus heating system that actually was quite efficient if she would have not shut it down so much to save money. She had a corner lot and if I shoveled I got to use the garage.


Those who want to work and earn a livable wage and be honest consumers seem to be the minority here.

I know a couple that has each filed for bankruptcy, one 7 years ago and the other 2 years ago to discharge debt including car loans that were in default. Each time they had to surrender a vehicle that was financed and drive a cash bought vehicle, after the smoke cleared they purchased another new car. During the last 15 years they have purchased at least 7 new vehicles, I bought their old Pontiac for $1500, my son drives that car.

I learned this year that their son was not eligible for an education grant because they earn more than $100,000 per year. No reason why they could not pay back their debts, who is the predator and who is the prey?


Had a dishwasher almost burn down the house due to a prior homeowner that didn’t have any experience installed it improperly…


Hi all, this conversation is drifting more towards the non-car aspects of this subject. Could you please bring it back closer to topic? Thanks.


On that, whatever our views of the morality of what BHPH lots do, it’s pretty inarguable that they are indeed a big ripoff. If you buy a car from them with financing, in the vast majority of cases you are going to pay exorbitant interest rates, and the slightest misstep you make will result in losing the car and your deposit.

We’ve all forgotten to pay a bill on time at one point or another, often when we were young adults still figuring out how to adult. Usually it’s not a big deal - we just get embarrassed, apologize, and pay it. But if you do that with a BHPH car, you’re falling into their trap and will be out a lot of money and have no wheels.

And even assuming you’re organized enough to always make the payments… Well my last car loan was 2.9% from my credit union. They’ve risen since then (I keep cars a long time), but most people are paying in the neighborhood of 5-ish percent assuming they get a 3 year loan and not a 6-8 year loan (which is a whole 'nother financial stupidity conversation).

BHPH lots are often 30% and higher. From a consumer perspective, they’re absolutely a ripoff.


I have actually heard the same thing about the super rich. My clients are mainly business owners and others who have made their own way, not those who have inherited money and been rich all their lives. I hear much the same but don’t think there are enough of those around here for me to have much experience with.


My experience with my business is that the lower end types are pretty shifty. For example, I had some incidents with this type of customer and consulted with an attorney to further protect myself. I had originally been requiring money upfront which filtered out 95% of the problem customers.

My new deal is that they must send me a text message or e-mail with the basic scope of work as discussed on the phone and state that the understand the price of XXX dollars and agree to pay it when the service is completed. I had a guy tell me over the phone that he wanted his equipment repaired and was OK with the price. I told him about the required text message and that I would start on his project later that afternoon, provided he send me the text. He told me he would send me that text within the next few minutes and it never came.

Then 5 hours later I got a text that he had changed his mind and wanted his equipment back unrepaired. That is the typical nonsense I get with lower end customers. The higher end ones who have made their own way in life don’t pull this nonsense. He was likely going to argue with me after the repair was complete but when I required he agree to the cost/scope in writing, I ruined his plan.

I routinely have folks tell me that I am probably leaving lots of money on the table by not catering more to lower end people. I tell them that by avoiding them I am clearing the way for good paying customers. The bad ones are a distraction. At best they waste a lot of my time for a small job. The expect the best for the lowest price. To me this is like being stuck in stop and go traffic wasting time and gas that could be spent doing something else. Dealing with higher end people is like having the cruise control set at highway speeds with nothing but open road ahead.


That is my issue with dealing with lower end people. They are not always dumb. They just know how to work the system and that is my problem with them. Their manipulation and drama is not something I am willing to tolerate.

I was once out working at a place where the guy was on “disability” and a “fixed income”. I hate hearing both those phrases because you know you are going to deal with some entitled nut. Anyway, he was OK to me but didn’t look disabled to me. He was young, healthy, and looked buff from what I could see. I had some junk computers in my car and he wanted them for scrap metal. I do the same but since this isn’t my main source of income, gave them to him. He stated “I cannot work since I have been declared 100% disabled.” We carried them around to his side yard where he had a bunch of other junk for scrap metal. He was like “Oh, so and so dropped off this hulk of an old car for me.” Someone had dropped off most of a stripped car body for him and he wasn’t aware until we went back there. I watched him wrestle this hulk up onto a flat trailer so he could haul it in for cash. Yeah, he was 100% disabled!


I’m guessing this thread is going to get closed, but before it is, while we’re having fun bashing groups of people let’s keep in mind that there might be people on this forum with relatives who are on disability and fixed incomes and who might not appreciate you lumping them all under the conniving crook umbrella.

Let’s also keep in mind that disability can cover mental problems as well, but the absurd rules in place with assistance programs means that you have to remain exceedingly poor and jobless or the assistance dries up, which means if the problem that put you on disability in the first place flares up and you can’t work, you also don’t get the assistance and you end up homeless.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t cheats - of course they are - but the pro mechanics around here get their backs up when people talk about how crooked the car repair industry is, and so I’d think there would be a less acerbic attitude toward other prejudices which do not universally apply.


The mention of a water heater is interesting to me since I just had to do this job myself. My old 40 gallon electric tank unit died a few weeks ago. It was all the electronics that control it that went out. Since it was older anyway I just decided it was time for a new one instead of trying to replace the boards.

It was on a single 30 amp 240V circuit with 10 gauge wiring. I decided I wanted to try out a tankless unit but boy do these things pull some power. The smaller unit I went with required 2x 40 amp breakers and #8 wire to service it. I removed the 30 amp breaker and replaced it with a 40 and installed another 40 in a blank spot. I used #6 wire as well for extra safety since this thing must really pull some amps. I was at a Home Depot and asked if they thought installing a thicker wire was a good idea. The woman who worked in electrical was like “Well, the #6 wire is smaller than the #8 and costs more. I think you want the #8.” She had no clue and this is why we come across all these basket case repairs, not matter what profession we are in. This ranges from automotive to computer repair. Anyway, I got the thicker wire as it was only a few cents more per foot. It took two runs of this to power the unit. I looked at larger units as well and they required 3 and 4 40 or 50 amp breakers. Talk about a current draw!

I bled the system free of air and flipped on the breakers. So far, so good… The old wiring is still there. One end is just hanging from the wall near the breaker panel and the other over near the tankless water heater where the old tank one used to be. I am thinking about installing another standard outlet since I put a shelf where the tank used to be and could use to to charge power tool batteries. I would just put the oversized wire on a standard 20 amp single breaker and use a standard outlet since it is already in the wall and I might as well make use of it.

The tankless heater is tiny. I mean it is about the size of a 100 amp electrical panel or less so a real space saver compared to the old tank style.

As for the old tank, a guy I know builds custom smokers and wanted it badly. He paid me $20 for what was just junk to me. I know it wasn’t worth that in scrap. I have an old propane tank I want to get rid of as well and well probably send that his was as well.

This wasn’t that hard. I had most of the work done in a few hours and cleaning up the piping was done at a later date since I had lots of flex lines run just to get the new unit in service. I also left the old tank in place for a few days as I was quite busy and it made a nice work platform during the installation of the new unit. I agree that some people don’t have a clue and can’t figure things out. I have also found that many “licensed” trades around here do crap work that would in no way pass inspection in a big city. I felt better doing this myself and know I saved money in the long run.

I am the same way with car repairs. If I can do it and it doesn’t take forever and I know it will cost me less than the amount I would otherwise make working, I do it myself. If it requires a specialized tool or something else and would just be a time suck, I send it to a mechanic that I trust. There have been some jobs that required maybe $100 in parts. It would take me days to do it while a mechanic could do it in 2-3 hours. That is a no brainer for me to take it to a mechanic.