For Those In Need of a Clue

We were recommended to WheelsCR by a friend who has lived in CR for several years. We were only 3 days in CR and have no experience buying anything here before. Emailing with Russ over a few weeks before we left the the US was helpful in understanding finance, insurance, registering and delivery options.

I learned a wire transfer was going to be my best option for paying for a vehicle. I got this setup with Chase bank ahead of time. Consider paying the $35 a month fee to have a Private Client account so you can do free online international wire transfers with 24/7 world wide support.

Russ pointed us to a decent hotel in San Jose and we drove there in our rental car from Guanacaste. The next morning Chris picked us up on time. We had a quick chat about the cars he’d arranged for us to see and we started looking at vehicles. Several of the cars would have met our criteria, the first one we saw actually stood out as our favorite.

We made an offer over the phone which was accepted and we drove to the dealer’s home to pay a deposit. The offer we made was only slightly below the asking price, so far I get the impression the dealers here don’t vastly inflate the asking price expecting to haggle like crazy compared to sellers in the US.

We paid a deposit and exchanged banking details so I could arrange a wire transfer for the balance. We agreed for a fee to have the car delivered to us in Tamarindo. Chris arranged for an insurance broker to meet us at our hotel about an hour later to get a policy written.

Title transfer papers were also brought to our hotel for us to sign. All this meant when the car was delivered all the paperwork would already have been taken care of. Chris was with us through all of this answering our questions and making sure everything went smoothly.

By late afternoon Russ had sent me an email with all the details of the dealer’s name and bank so I could arrange the wire transfer. I was able to do this online through the Chase website. I initially had problems with some of the bank routing info but this was just me not editing spaces out of some of the numbers. Chase acknowledged the wire and I got a notification it would take about 8 calendar days. In reality the wire went through really fast and the funds were in the dealers account by the middle of the next morning!

Chris called us to see if wanted to take the car back with us. We’d just got back to Tamarindo so decided to continue with the plan to have the car delivered in a couple of days. The car was delivered on the day and time agreed, the driver sent us a couple of texts to let us know everything was on track.

So far we are very happy with the car. Everything has been as expected and so far no issues. We learned after the fact that dealers in Costa Rica have to provide a very limited 30 day warranty so they have some incentive not to sell a complete lemon. You’d have to take the car back to the dealer for any work but still it is something.

We plan on getting several routine maintenance items done in the next few weeks so we will know they are up to date. The car was more than it would have cost for the same thing in the US but I think that is basically irrelevant. As long as it was priced reasonably for the Costa Rica market that to me is more important.

I just wanted to get into a decent used car that will hopefully serve us well for a year or two as we find our feet here. Certainly better than renting cars with the associated costs and limitations on where you can drive and park them (read the small print).

I’m very happy with the experience of working with WheelsCR and recommend them to anyone like us who hasn’t got a clue where to start buying a vehicle here.

Regards – Paul

Published by Russ Martin

Helping expats locate reliable used vehicles since 2006. I have lived in Costa Rica since 1994.

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