Education, not a male companion, is the best key at a car sale

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2006

The big scratch three million dollar payoff lotto ticket that is currently being circulated in Texas reminded me of similar scratch tickets that were mailed to my home from a well-known Chevrolet dealer last week.

Winning, or being offered a big amount of cash in this way, is very hard to believe, but if you do win or are offered a big amount of easy money, there is usually a catch — one that will get you into big debt. One way is through credit card companies, and another way is through sales promotions, as the one from this car dealership.

The NBC Today Show reported on the big lottery payoff ticket Tuesday morning. The cost to purchase the ticket is $30. Janet Shamlian, who was conducting the report, and Al Roker, meteorologist, along with anchors David Gregory and Campbell Brown, all had purchased similar tickets and participated in the scratch off. No one had the big winning amount. And it was reported that the millions of people who have been participating in this scratch off that has been going on for at least a month, still have not come up with the big amount.

Two days last week I received the gigantic cards with a hidden number on each one that asked me to scratch the covered spaces with a coin to reveal my amounts. I kind of knew before I scratched them that the numbers were probably the same. There were three prizes offered. I really can’t remember the second prize because I threw them both in the trash immediately after I saw the amounts that I had won. However, the third prize offered on the card was an oil change. The cash amount that I had won on both cards was $1,610. This amount could only be used toward the purchase of a new car.

I guess that the high rise in gas prices has caused a slump in car sales, so this is one way that this dealership could promote more sales. Also, I believe this cash amount that people think they have won is only added into their loan payments. If not, I would appreciate it if someone who knows how this works would educate me.

The promotion didn’t cause me to want to purchase a new car.

The other reason is because my 1994 Chevrolet Geo Prism has been running just like new ever since my late husband and I bought it off the showroom floor at a Chevrolet dealership in Newport News in 1994. I have never had any major repairs done to it, so, right now, it will still remain my dream car.

If I ever do have a need for a new one, I will take a male companion with me since I am a woman and a widow. That way I can obtain a good deal on the price of the vehicle. Diana Colby, the director of Financial Education at Capital One, believes that women should do the opposite.

She said that it is important that women realize that confidence and practicing power requires education, and not a male companion. She also said that a good place to start educating yourself is with the Auto Channel. This channel will provide a New Car Buyers Guide and a Total Operating Cost Guide. Capital One Financial Company will also give women the knowledge and confidence they need to manage the car-buyer’s process on their own, from choosing the right car to finding the right financing before arriving at the dealership. To get this information, go on the Web site www.capitaloneautofinance.com

I will still use this education, and my male companion if need be, to exercise sales knowledge to the best of my ability. A friend of mine who is a car salesman informed me that he has sold two of my friends new cars. He also tried to sell me one. In the meantime, I will hang onto one of those scratch cards, if I receive another one, and hope that I may be able to use it at a time when I may need it.

Now you can clearly see that I’m not particularly interested in keeping up with the Joneses, but I am very much interested in hitting the road in a safe and secure automobile.

Wall is a former News-Herald reporter and regular contributor to the Town Square page.