I Have Bad Credit - Should I Buy a Car From InstaCredit Automart?
I Never Thought I'd End Up at InstaCredit Automart
You've probably seen the commercials for InstaCredit Automart hundreds of times.
They promise that pretty much everybody is approved, no matter what. Bad credit, no credit, whatever - you can get a car at InstaCredit Automart. Easily.
A few years ago, I was having a terrible time buying a new car. My old car bit the dust, and I needed a new car FAST. I used a rental car for awhile (which I'll never do again after what happened), but it was getting expensive. In the past, I always bought used cars and paid cash. My rental car had spoiled me, though, and I was ready for something new - or new to me, at least.
InstaCredit Automart Commercial
Mediocre Customer Service, But Whatever
I walked into InstaCredit Automart and waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally, I went and hunted down a salesperson.
"Hi, I'd like to buy a car today".
He stared at me. "Okay. I'm busy now. I'll talk to you when I'm done".
While it wasn't a downright rude response, it did kind of surprise me. If you've ever bought a car from a dealer, you know that they're usually all over you.
So I waited. And waited. And waited again.
After what seemed like forever, he finally made his way over towards me.
Pick Your Car
"Which car do you want?"
"Ummmm. Well. They were all locked, so I wanted to see the mileage and test drive one".
He handed me a sheet of paper. "This is the information about every single car at InstaCredit Automart. Show me which ones interest you".
"Wait, don't you need to check my credit and look at my job stuff first? I don't want to get all excited about a car that I can't have".
He looked at me like I was crazy and explained that I could have any car at InstaCredit Automart.
Well, alright then.
I Picked One
After scrutinizing the list for a bit, I finally selected a car. It wasn't exactly the car of my dreams, but I was self-employed and had no credit. My options were definitely limited.
The car was 3 years old and had around 60,000 miles or so. That was a bit high for me, since I had a job that required lots of traveling around the state back then, but whatever. I wanted a car, and I wanted one right that minute. Many of the other cars had well over 100,000 miles, so 60,000 seemed like a steal.
I drove it around for about 15 minutes and then returned.
"I'll take it", I announced.
The Application Process
InstaCredit Automart approves pretty much everybody, but that doesn't mean the application process is easy.
I signed and dated God only knows how many pieces of paperwork. Probably at least 30, and I'm not exaggerating. I signed stuff about payment methods, payment dates, limited warranty...and GPS. But more on that later.
I also had to give the names, addresses, and phone numbers of several references - I want to say it was 7, but I could be wrong. Who has that many references?!
I'm not judging InstaCredit Automart for requesting 7 references. I'm just saying that 7 is a lot for most people. One of the sales guys told me that they don't really call the references.
How Much Was My InstaCredit Automart Car?
InstaCredit Automart sells cheap cars, but the prices aren't cheap.
I'm embarrassed to even tell you what I paid for my car, but I will.
I bought the car for $14,212.70.
I put $1000 down.
This left me with a remaining balance of $13,212.70.
My payments were $175.00 every 2 weeks, plus a $5 fee for each payment.
That means I was paying $360.00 a month for this piece of crap car.
Oh, and did I mention my interest rate was 28%? Yeah.
About My Car
The day I bought my car from InstaCredit Automart, it had problems.
The console wouldn't stay closed. I know that sounds like a little thing, but it really bugged me.
Then there was the mysterious light that refused to go off in my dashboard. It kept saying to check my tires. After one year of checking my tires, replacing my tires, and checking them again, I finally figured out the light was never going to go away.
Which sucks, because apparently, a light in your dashboard means that your car will not pass the safety inspection. A year after buying my car, it still didn't have plates.
Some other stuff was wrong, too, but I'm not really smart enough to explain what it was. Let's just say that my car was not worth $14,212.70.
What About that GPS System?
If you've been paying attention, you may remember that I mentioned signing some paperwork about a GPS system.
InstaCredit Automart puts a GPS system in every vehicle. The GPS system is connected to your starter. If you are more than 3 days late with your payment, they disable your car.
This was a huge, huge, issue for me. Yes, I should pay my bills on time. Yes, it's my own fault when I pay something late.
But am I the only one who thinks disabling somebody's vehicle is the stupidest thing you can do? I mean, if their payment is already late, won't that just make things worse? Then they can't get to work to make more money. If somebody buys a car and loses their job, you'll get $0 a month.
When I bought my car, I was a highly paid promotional model. Life was good.
Then I got pregnant. Most of my clients dropped me immediately - because hey, who wants a pregnant girl promoting their products? Unless that product is baby food or diapers.
I had a terrible pregnancy. I was sick a lot, and everything hurt. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to lay down. I sure don't miss those days.
I began working part-time from home as a web content writer. I used to cry every night because I tried so hard to put in a full 40 hours, but my body just said no. I became dehydrated. My blood pressure got too high. My anxiety was terrible.
And then I began to fall behind on my bills.
I Never Thought I Would Have My Car Deactivated
When I had almost drained my savings, a miracle happened: I got a new job working for a billion dollar company. It was an independent contractor position, scheduled to last until at least the end of the year.
The job paid well, and was very easy. It required me to drive around and take pictures of local businesses, then write a brief 3-5 sentence description of each business. It just doesn't get any better than that.
I loved this job - and loved that it paid per business, not per hour. It paid every Tuesday, which was also nice.
Then one Tuesday, only part of the money was in my account. Turns out there was a glitch in the system, and the rest of the money wouldn't arrive until next Tuesday.
I had just paid rent, electric, and all that other good stuff. All that was left was my car payment, which was due on Wednesday. After owning the car for 6 months, I had never missed a single payment. I figured things would be fine after I explained the situation.
I called InstaCredit Automart and explained that my check would not arrive until next week. I told them that I even had an email from my boss to verify this, in case they wanted to see it.
3 days later, my car was deactivated. I had 20 businesses to visit that day, so this was a major problem. My city has no public transportation, and who was going to drive me all over the city to photograph stuff? Nobody.
I ended up getting my workload decreased - drastically. Which put me even more behind financially.
Well, Just Pay Your Bill Like You're Supposed to
You're probably sitting there thinking, "Boo hoo, pay your bill on time and you won't have that problem".
You shouldn't be, though. You don't know when life will throw you a curve ball. In my case, I lost work due to my pregnancy. I immediately found other work, and eventually, I was working plenty of hours at a decent paying job. I never in a million years thought I would miss a payment. I was responsible and worked hard to pay my bills on time.
Most people who go to InstaCredit Automart have bad credit or no credit. I had no credit at the time. People with good credit - or a large downpayment - don't buy vehicles at a buy here, pay here place like InstaCredit Automart. They go to Ford or Honda and get a brand new car. If they miss a payment, they get a warning...and continue driving their car for another month or so before the repo man comes.
If you think you might be late on a payment even once, do not buy a car from InstaCredit Automart. There's nothing worse than paying $360 a month for a car that just sits in your parking lot.
Don't Go Into Labor and Miss Your Car Payment
I won't bore you with how much my labor and delivery sucked with my son, but I'll tell you I was in the hospital for 6 days. I actually really enjoyed it - especially since they bring you food and help with the baby - but that's a story for another day.
I was so busy having a baby that I forgot to pay InstaCredit Automart. When I got home from the hospital, my car was deactivated again. Luckily, I didn't care at the time - it's not like you can drive right after you have a C-section.
So Should I Buy a Car From InstaCredit Automart?
It sucks when you don't have a car. It's embarrassing to walk or ask for rides. Paying for a rental car is a nightmare.
Sometimes it's better to just deal with it and save up, though. I wanted a car so badly that I was ready to take the first thing I was offered. I'm not the only one like that.
InstaCredit Automart sells overpriced cars that don't run very well. If you are 3 days late on your payment, they deactivate your car. Is that really something you want to deal with?
On a positive note, they really do approve pretty much anyone. If you have some savings or somebody who can bail you out if something happens, InstaCredit Automart might be a good option for you.
It really just depends on how badly you want a car and how much you're willing to pay. I can't tell you what to do - I can only warn you about the quality of their vehicles and the GPS system.
If you don't mind doling out lots of extra cash for repairs, buy a car from InstaCredit Automart. If you are 100% sure that you will never miss a payment, buy a car from InstaCredit Automart.
Just don't call me in tears, begging for a ride, when your car is deactivated. I'll be forced to say, "I told you so". I'll still pick you up, though.