Buy Car in Costa Rica

By: Randy Fauchier

Now, it was Rodrigo's turn to give me the scoop on the cars mechanical viability. I have had cars checked out in the States before, but never to the extent that Rodrigo went through it. It wasawesome. He brought me down in the pit to look at the underside and showed me two seals and an o-ring that needed changing; a tie rod was bent and needed changing, the oil pan shield was missing; and a couple of various bolts & screws had been lost or fallen out. Then when he got the engine torn apart, I watched him check compression on each cylinder; head gasket; plugs and points for fouling; and several other minute details. The bottomline: the overall car needed some work, but the engine was in great shape. After having Rodrigo draw up a list of the repairs with prices, I went back to my "player" to negotiate. I wanted him to lower the price enough to pay for the needed repairs. After some hedging, he agreed until he saw the repair bill. He immediately flew off the handle and went charging in to Rodrigo's office. I watched from outside the tiny office's large window. I have never seen two people talk so fast at the same time with such passionate emotion. Their arms were flailing and the veins on their necks stood out. What had I started; I was starting to get nervous. Then, as if the eye of the hurricane was upon us, they both came calmly walking out. My "player" had broken apart each repair and negotiated a lower price for the labor, and in three instances had agreed to do the repairs himself. So, instead of a $450 repair, it was going to cost him $150. He had succeeded in lowering my mechanic's labor rate, which would end up saving me many dollars over the years. We made an appointment to meet at my lawyers office in three days, in order to give him time to do his

portion of the repairs. I scheduled Rodrigo for the fourth day, and called a taxi, Standing outside my lawyer's office, I watched my car drive up with a stranger at the wheel.

He claimed to be the older brother of the player. His brother was back in the States buying another car, and couldn't make it. I got nervous again when he asked if I brought cash. Player's brother speaks perfect English, but keeps eyeing me up and down like he is sizing me up for a quick score. I did have cash in my satchel, and quickly buzzed my attorney's door to let us in. My attorney, Louis, quickly took a dislike to the brother for some reason. Louis kept asking me if I'm sure I want to buy the car, and the brother kept asking to see the cash. We spent thirty agonizing minutes checking to see if the car's paperwork checked out with the Cost Rican authorities on the internet. When brother had to go out to the car to get ID to prove he was the owner of the car, Louis turned to me and said; " Where did you find this guy? The VIN # on the car checks out, but someone attempted to scratch it out and it's barely readable. IF his Id checks out, he has changed addresses three times in the last 6 months. Plus it makes me nervous when you bring almost 7 million colones in cash to my office." I waited a minute and said, " I 'm not buying the guy, I'm And besides the fact that your mechanic thinks the car checked out, that is the prettiest color of green I have ever seen on a vehicle." First, Louis frowned at me; then he gave the biggest belly laugh I have heard in a while and kept muttering verde, verde. (Now, every time I go to his office; he laughs and claps me on the back as if we had gone to school together.) Brother comes back and amazingly checks out; I give him the cash, sign the papers , leave Louis to turn in the legal documents, and head down the street to the insurance office.

Now, I don't know about you, but getting car insurance in the States has never been something I have enjoyed. I was fully prepared to suck it up and persevere. But much to my

surprise, it was one of the most pleasant experiences I have ever had in an office. After getting buzzed in, I was setting in front of Andres' desk within 45 seconds. He brought me a "cafe con leche" , took my paperwork, and asked me one question. " Do you want full coverage including theft, or do you want liability? Full coverage costs $400 dollars for 6 months and liability costs $200." Considering the fact that in the 4 blocks that I had driven my car, I had almost been centerpunched twice; I took full coverage. I gave him my credit card and my passport. He refused my drivers license and said it is not necessary. Five minutes later I was insured. He followed me out and took four pictures of my vehicle for gave me a warm handshake, and sent me to get the safety inspection sticker.

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