Buying a car - Used or New, tips and buyer bewares

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  • Our inherited 1998 Megane is showing signs that its long deserved retirement is soon due.

    We have never bought a car before in Argentina and we are literally in the dark. I have always heard that used cars have a great resale value, but I have no idea whether it also means that it is better to buy used. My husband's family says that prices shown on the internet are not reliable (like for houses and about anything else here...)

    Is there any advantage we may have if we pay cash (no installments)? Should we look at new or used cars?

    Any pitfalls to avoid?

    We just need a car to move around in the city and take an occasional trip to Cordoba or Mar del Plata. We do not have a parking space and we don't want a large car that would be difficult to park in the city. We have no issue in driving a stick but we can also drive an automatic car (nice!).

    Any suggestion is welcome!

  • There are reports that nearly new cars are almost the same price as brand new ones, so when the time comes I would buy new. But it depends on the car and prices are simply ridiculous at the moment.

    A small Fiat would probably do you, like a Mobi for example. A new one of those is AR$2 million/US$10,000 at the blue rate, which is way overpriced anyway.

  • Can't really advise as I haven't a clue how anything works here....I leave all that to the missus. We had an as new Ford Eco Sport for years and sold it privately rather than trade it in when we got our current car which was bought new from Renault.
    Not long after getting it the missus drove it through floodwater and knackered the engine. As it was still under warranty they repaired it free otherwise i would have cost a fortune. I'd recommend buying new as the warranty and free services give you peace of mind.

  • We found a good deal at the Renault reseller around the corner. A Sandero Life 1.6. The guy who ordered it withdrew from the deal, so the dealer bought his share and is eager to sell it. We had a 1.000.000 ARS discount and we will even pay half the price in installments (which we wouldn't have had otherwise, but the other guy qualified and apparently we can simply swap places). We can also pay cash, something that not all resellers offered. The only thing we could choose is the color. The rest was already locked. We ended our car shopping tour in 24 hours which is better than I ever imagined, and we will have a brand new car (so no paranoia on used cars - will it work, what damage has it had etc.).

    We were actually going for a Toyota Yaris, but it is imported from Brazil, the wait time was 2-3 months, the price subject to a likely 5% increase etc etc.

    The VW was even worse: they had no idea when new cars would arrive from Brazil, you basically express a preference on the color and accessories, but be ready to wait for months. The dealer will tell you what it is coming in next month and you can eventually buy a slightly different model.

    This is so different from how it is done in Europe.

    We decided to put it in both our names, on the advice of the dealer. Although I can't really grasp the difference since we are in a marital community. Any advice from the accountant in the house, Splinter?

    Renault Nuevo Sandero Ph2 Life 1.6 Autos Ciara, Grupo Randazzorenault-sandero-e-logan-08.jpg

  • I'll ask Adri, but as far as I know, many people's reasons for registered name is to do with money laundering laws and such like.

  • Nice little car, I believe it is a Dacia with Renault badges, no? I think many Renault cars in Argentina are the same, like the Duster for example.

    I wouldn't be surprised the least. In Argentina, the part supply is painful, the import regulations are draconian, the economy is in shambles, and inflation is rampant. Combine this to the paranoia of dealers / sellers, and the potential hardship to buy a new car can be unsurmountable.

    We wanted a quick and carefree solution (= new vs used), and we found it. There are probably better cars out there, but the effort we were willing to put was minimal.

    I really liked the Toyota Yaris, and had we been able to customize the accessories on the Sandero, we'd probably have gotten an even better car. But the waiting times, the payment methods offered, the financing option etc. were big factors to us.

    I was also surprised to hear that even expressing my preferences didn't mean I would get what I wanted. The whole car purchase business is quite confusing: you make a wish and hope for the best. This impression I got was consistent across the various brands.

    I asked to our dealer if we could pick the accessories, he said it was too late. Which is a shame because for the discount we got, I was willing to splurge a little bit on accessories (like being able to adjust the height of the driver's seat, or have automatic A/C vs. manual or the assisted parking rear camera).

    About the rear camera, the dealer said, literally: "sometimes you request it and it comes without. Sometimes you don't request it and it comes equipped with it". Which sounded like the Caterpillar's in Alice in Wonderland.

    Let's hope ours will have it, but who knows!

    I am anyway very happy about the deal, as I wanted to spend less than 10k USD and I thought we would buy a used Polo. I was unimpressed with the VW I saw at the Dietrich dealership. It seemed more of Eastern Germany car. Perhaps the models sold here are worse than those sold in Europe under the same name.

  • Hello,

    Aah the Dacia sandero and duster...

    The Sandero, built in Roumania is France's cheapest new car. The Duster, especially in 4x4 format is the best selling little 4x4 in the French countryside.

    In Misiones we bought a Kango camionetta, with extra seats, because it has the heavy duty suspension.

    I am wary of low cost cars with lots of technology.. just another thing to go wrong.


  • An overdue update. For those with little time to spare: it was a scam within a scam. A double scam!

    For those who want the full picture:

    It's been almost three months and still no car. Apparently, two employees at the dealership were professional scammers and they took the clients' money (ours and other's) and never deposited it to the dealership account. Since they were on an agreement, they talked openly at the dealership and it seemed business as usual. After two months and no car (which had been promised in 25 days, but then the holidays, etc.), the scammer blocked my husband on Whatsapp and we smelled a scam.

    We immediately went to the dealership and we found out that several people had come in those days asking for those sellers-scammers and for their cars. Of which the dealership had no record or some record but with no payment, so those orders weren't progressing.

    The latter was our case: the order had been placed, some money was paid, but not all of the installments due (money that we gave to the scammers and that they kept to themselves) so our order was on hold. Nobody else at the dealership ever wondered to call the clients to ask for payments, so it wasn't until the clients went there to inquire that at the dealership realized something was wrong.

    Typical Argentinian: nobody gives a damn, not even when it is their job to do so.

    Of course, when the bomb exploded the boss (the dealership's owner) was on vacation in Europe for a month, so nothing could happen until his return on June 13. This wasn't making us happy since it made clear how seriously they were considering the matter. But we were promised that the dealership would acknowledge the payments we did to the scammers and that were never credited to Renault's (about 1600 USD), so we weren't given any other option but wait.

    One of the scammers was lured into the dealership by his former colleagues, probably to collect his last pay slip or some paperwork related to his termination of employment. And they alerted by husband. We live just round the corner, so he stormed there and faced the scammer. The scammer tried to ignore him and then to provoke him to hit him (which luckily my husband refrain from doing), and since across the road there is a Police station, the policewoman on duty saw that things were getting heated and went to cool things down.

    Except that the Police took my husband to the police, didn't stop the scammer and just had my husband file a police claim. Where they mixed up the details of the scammed and scammers on the police report... thanks god my husband noticed and set the record straight. Without a court order, they couldn't do anything to the scammer anyway, they said. They also added that the court would summon my husband for his testimony... which hasn't happened so far and it has been almost a month. And they said that there are already 4-5 claims against "them" (we thought against the scammers, but it turns out they are against the dealership!!).

    On June 13 we sat with the dealership's owner, a man by the name of Rodrigo. He said he believed us, since we had filed the claim, and that he would find a way to recover the money by making us not pay the vehicle registration fee and other fees. After all, it was just 10% of the entire amount and the dealership should have some leg to cover things. We were stupidly thinking that it was in their interest that the story didn't blow up in the news, considering that it was a bunch of us and that if the story were to unfold on TN or C5N, a lot of past customers would swarm into the dealership to inquire how much more they had their car (that they had received) in handouts to the two sellers-scammers.

    The dealership asked us to continue to pay the installments of the Plan Rombo (a financing plan) otherwise the order wouldn't proceed, and that the owner ensured us that he was going to iron out the rest as we progressed with the order.

    These financing plan are something very different from what we have in Europe. First of all, the car market here is completely different. In Europe there is a surplus of cars and the dealerships often register cars to drive up sales and meet their business targets, and then sell them as km0. The longer the car sit in their dealership, the bigger the discount on the car. In Argentina is all backwards: with just a few cars entering from abroad (manufactured in Brazil), and at a rather unpredictable rate depending on the government caps and ridiculous and ever-changing importing rules, it is the norm to order (and pay) for a car that will be delivered 4-6-8 months later. And you don't necessarily get what you ordered/wanted, it depends on what comes in. So there is a LONG wait for cars (especially for cheap models like ours).

    This is another reason why we decided to go with Renault, whose factory is in Cordoba: no importing issues.

    Well, the deal we were offered was that a former client enrolled into a 120-installment plan but then called himself out because he was no longer able to afford it. We entered the plan when 108 installments left to pay. The seller-scammer told it was a fixed-installment plan, hence it was even more attractive for us earning in dollars. It turns out each installment is made of a fixed part and of a variable part. The variable part varies depending on the value of the car (which changes according to inflation or the Renault's listing price... so WHO KNOWS).

    When we told the dealership's owner about what we were "sold" by the scammers, he said "who finances you at no interest?!".

    Well, to us it wouldn't be something too weird since: 1) we thought the plan was subsidized plan to push national cars vs. imported ones; 2) the purchasing price with installment is higher than without it.

    Aside from basically calling us "boludos" in a fancier way, the dealership's owner also said that some of the payment receipt we were given weren't genuine, as they were made in Excel with just the Renault logo but not the dealership's name and details. What did we know?!

    Now the plot thickens further... there are official dealerships offering financed cars. The financing is offered by the same car brand, but it is an independent company.

    To keep things simple: we went at the Official Renault Dealership Torino S.A. on Scalabrini Ortiz 1361, CABA. The financing plan is called Plan Rombo S.a. De Ahorro Para Fines Determinados and it is a separate entity both from the dealership Torino SA and Renault.

    Basically, we got enrolled in this Plan Rombo for a car which was "auto adjudicado". Which means that is a REAL car programmed for production. But what they don't tell you, is that there is a process called LICITACIÓN, a sort of bidding for the cars produced in Córdoba by the various Renault Official Dealerships in Argentina. Let's say the factory produces 100 cars per week - where do they go? They are adjudged to dealerships with this licitación process.

    To participate in this adjudication you have to keep pay installment and a registration fee. The Registration fee (a one off fee to be able to participate in this "game") is paid by the customer to the dealership, as it is the dealership that has to present the "licitación" - they are intermediaries between the customer-purchaser, and Renault.

    The licitación is a weekly game and it is not clear how it happens. We think that bigger dealerships get more adjudication as they have bigger volumes of sales, whereas small ones (like ours) are given the left overs. You will eventually get a car, but you have to wait for months... some adjudication are even by DRAW. So that some poor soul eventually gets their prize earlier than 4-6 months.

    There is a portal for the Plan Rombo's users where we can see the details of our plan, our payments to date, the amount due next month etc. And we noticed that we were cancelled from the plan because the dealerships failed to pay the entry fee (23,000 ARS). We called the Plan Rombo hotline and they said we should deal with this with our dealership, as they are the ones who should have given us the "boleto" to make the payment. It also turned out that at the dealership they purposefully entered my husband's email wrong, so that we wouldn't get notified through the Portal of any issue. For the sake of privacy, let's say my husband's name is Marcos and they wrote his email as without the vowels (!!!). So we never received this payment request and found out randomly because we received a letter in the mail informing us about of the cancellation... which prompted us to call Plan Rombo directly, we were informed about the existence of this online portal were we could access our status etc. The dealership NEVER mentioned it!!!!

    As soon as we found out that we weren't even partecipating in the licitación, we rushed to the dealership. This was last Friday.

    We asked "how come we are no longer on the plan? Why didn't you pay?". They said it was an administrative mistake and that they would sort it out and all was fine, but that they were overloaded with work and would let us know on Saturday or Monday. (Today is Tuesday and we still haven't heard). We also were on the phone with a Plan Rombo hotline operator who said the plan was cancelled RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE EMPLOYEE of the dealership, who insisted that they (Plan Rombo) were wrong and it was just an administrative glitch.

    Now, you see, the more you are into the game (we are 3,600 USD in, some "under the table" to the scammer and some "legit"), if you skip three payments you are off forever. And you can ask for your money back....once the plan expire i.e. in EIGHT YEARS, in our case... in pesos of course.

    We decided to take one and consider the money gone. We went to a Toyota dealership after we googled Plan Rombo and read the reviews. So, it was a scam within a legit scam. People have paid money for years without receiving a car. Part is because of the dealerships (various dealerships). They guarantee a delivery date but it is not true. They have you enroll and then start kicking the ball further and further.

    Other people were told that the installments were fixed rate, however they doubled in a matter of months and they had to quit. Never saw the car nor the money back.


    My husband says to consider it a "country tax" for living in Argentina. F**** U ARGENTINA! Learn to earn money legitimately and not by scamming off people.

    Reviews on Plan Rombo on Google

    Clarin's article of June 6, 2022 on Plan Rombo scams

    More report of scams with Plan Rombo

    Reports on Defensoria del Consumidor en Plan Rombo

  • According to the contract of Plan Rombo, you can ask for your money back, but only after the plan has finalized. Ours will finalize in eight years. :beatdeadhorse:

    I don't have the exact amount in pesos at hand, but let's say we paid something like 650,000 ARS now (those payments that were actually registered) and we can claim it back in 8 years. It will be worth nothing.

    I am reading comments on the internet and someone with Defensoria del Consumidor and a Lawyer (and a carta documento) was able to get their money back, but some others did not. We will work on these avenues this week. Of course, we would be happy with just recovering part of the money NOW through the Defensoria.

    I was so naïve that I even considered continuing with the Sandero, as I thought it was just a matter of time before the car would eventually arrive, and then resell it with the remaining installments. I thought that, after all, to someone local could still be a deal, with an actual car, already registered, and lots of installments. But after reading about people paying 30+ installments and still no car... we have decided that we won't put any more pesos into Renault.

    We had also considered switching to a different Renault dealership (you can "transfer" the management of your Plan Rombo to a different dealership), but we would lose the money in black that was stolen to us from the scammers.... and then I read negative reviews also about that other one dealership... and many more.

    I think that Plan Rombo is very risky and it is devised to entice and enroll as many people as possible, making then impossible to fulfil their requirements and actually get a car.

    The dealerships have their faults as they aren't transparent when selling you the plan. They also put pressure on you saying it is a deal that will literally fly out of their hands in less than a day, so if you want to put it on hold you can give a small deposit (I think we gave the equivalent of 50 USD) just to sleep over it and come back with a decision on the next day.

    The more I dig into the reviews, the more stupid I feel. And it was two of us!

    Our old car is dying (it literally loses power while we go) and we needed a car urgently, so we bought a Toyota Yaris, paid upfront. It should be with us in early August. I am beyond disgusted with Renault.

  • If it was an Official Renault dealership then would Renault not be liable?

    The dealership's owner was okay with "helping us recover the money", meaning that he would find a way to have us lose just 300 USD as he would not charge us for the Registration Fee at the DMV plus other charges when the car was actually being delivered.... which kicks the ball even further for him, given that with the poor management of the Plan Rombo that moment would never arrive. We were first told the standard delivery time was 2 months since adjudication, which we believed was done in May (a couple of weeks after we signed the contract)... except that on the Plan Rombo platform it said it failed to be adjudicated on June 13 because the enrollment fee was not paid on time. So we were promised several deadlines, but these can be met if the dealership actually does their part.

    I did wonder - the day we finally met with the dealership owner - on June 13, if it wasn't more convenient to him to simply drop us as clients, as he mentioned "you were stolen money, but we were stolen money from those two scumbags, too. And this is a bigger to us than for you. I won't be earning anything of commission on the sale of your car - approx. 250,000 ARS"... So I thought, what's in for him in helping us?

    And the answer arrived 10 days later when we found out that the dealership was NOT doing their part.

    Basically these financing plans are triangle between the dealerships and the Renault financing company 8Plan Rombo) and the Renault car brand (the factory in Cordoba)... where it's the customer that put the money and they set the terms and should do their part: the dealership should participate in the adjudication system, the financing company gets the money, the factory actually produces the cars... except that they don't work like a clockwork and who gets f***ed it's the customer.