Sunday, March 29, 2015

Buy Used Car

How to Buy Used Cars? A Definitive Guide to Buy an Excellent Used Car Without Overpaying
It is obvious that you have 2 options; a brand-new car or a used car. As a well known fact, buying a brand-new car can make you lose some money because the price of the brand-new car will be depreciated as soon as you buy that new car, but buying a used car can make you avoid that depreciation.

With a large selection of used cars nowadays, there is no greater value than buying a used car. To avoid the pitfalls of buying used cars, do your research online and through multiple dealerships and used car lots.

Consider the benefits of buying a used car

    Skillful used car buyer can explore bigger deals.

    Used cars are now more reliable than ever before.

    You can find the history of the used car by using the car VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and by using the vehicle history report.     Online, you can check the safety ratings and crash tests for almost any used car.

It is essential to see how much your specific car really costs. It is important to realize that you will not pay only the car price, but you should also consider the other costs of vehicle ownership, such as insurance rates, extended warranties, maintenance, and fuel costs.

Taking a loan to buy a car is also called financing the car. Choose the right used car

Used car buying has become very popular nowadays, so you will find a large selection of car models to choose from. Search on T.V, magazines, internet or at used car dealerships. You can research the large selection of different car models and prices.

Make a list of several used car models that you are interested in and then narrow your list down to 3 or 4 cars. Before you decide on the car model, you should decide whether you will pay the price of the car in cash or you will finance on the car and pay monthly payments. Ask yourself does that car suit your needs? How big you want the car? The VIN is included in many online car listings. Best places to find used cars

Each place has its own pros and cons.The certified pre-owned cars are the most expensive used cars. Make sure that you do not buy a lemon used car.

Test drive and inspect the used car

After you collected the necessary information about the car, contact the seller and arrange an appointment to test drive the used car.When you go to test drive the car, bring along a mechanic because it is highly recommended that you take a mechanic with you to inspect the used car.

    How does it feel when you drive the car?

    Does the car have the acceleration levels you want?

You should also check the VIN of the car, it is located in many places on the car depending on the car model. Negotiate the price

Avoid signing "as is" when buying a used car, because once you sign that, any problem with the car becomes yours. If you have to do that, make sure that you researched the information and got the Vehicle History Report on the used car. Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica
Car rental is a hot topic for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Comparisons include: customer service, pricing and the reservation process. Insurance

Car rental companies generally refrain from disclosing the cost of this policy in the quoted rental rate to appear more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can sometimes be as much as double the vehicle's rental cost. Cost of Mandatory Insurance (also called Third Party or SLI)

Expect to pay between $12 and $15 daily for this insurance, depending on the make and model of the rented vehicle and the rental car agency. It's a fact of renting a car in Costa Rica.

Credit card insurance programs may cover the CDW for a rental vehicle. Check with your chosen rental car company to find which proof of insurance is needed and then request that from your credit card company prior to arriving. The credit card company will then reimburse the card holder for damages.

More Insurance

Additional Charges

Most companies have surcharges for additional drivers, car seats/boosters, cell phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. Alamo, Budget, Hertz and National charge the most for such additional options; whereas the other companies listed, charge more reasonable prices.

Vehicles rented direct at the airport incur airport taxes, which are a whopping 12% of your rental cost!

If not, companies may charge above gas station rates for missing fuel.


There is a debate over the vehicles supplied by rental companies: Older cars allow the driver to blend in more than a shiny, new car. Once receiving the vehicle, renters should meticulously check for pre-existing flaws and compare it with the vehicle inspection document used by the rental car representative. Pricing

Car rentals in Costa Rica are pricier compared to other countries. When comparing rental car charges, it is best to go directly to the Costa Rican website of the rental car company, rather than trying to use their international format or an intermediary (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). To avoid confusion, print out all correspondence with the car rental company with whom you have reserved a vehicle and bring this to the rental office with the quote given at the time of reservation.

The following top ten chart ranks the companies from highest priced to lowest and it includes the mandatory insurance charge. Rental Car Companies Ranked According to Price

10. Alamo $650.96
9. Hertz $514.27
8. Adobe $449
7. Budget $455
6. National $428.01
5. Thrifty $421.05
4. Service $374.43
3. Vamos $370.30
2. Dollar $364
1. Wild Rider $350

10. Alamo $650.96
9. National $597.51
8. Hertz $566.52
7. Budget $555
6. Dollar $532
5. Thrifty $506.58
4. Service $494.43
3. Vamos $461.30
2. Adobe $459
1. Wild Rider $395

Budget, Hertz and National also rate low on the scale for economical rental options.

Company Summaries


Mandatory insurance costs are not shown with the list of vehicles and rental charges, but they are clearly displayed on the following page as a customer moves towards booking a reservation. Mixed customer reviews online. Toll-free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Live Chat.
10 offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $19 daily
Additional charges: GPS $9/day, child seat $5/day


Mixed customer reviews online. 14 offices nationwide
Additional charges: GPS $12/day, child seat $6/day


Mandatory insurance costs are given along with the list of vehicles; however, the other charges are not listed. Mixed customer reviews online. No Live Chat on Costa Rican website.
10 offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance: included in the listed price

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Live Chat.
3 offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $16 daily
Additional charges: GPS $9/day, child seat $5/day


Mixed customer reviews online. 7 offices nationwide
Additional charges: GPS $12/day, child seat $2/day

Mixed customer reviews online, but more positive than negative. Toll-free U.S.A and Canada phone number. Live Chat.
22 offices nationwide
Additional charges: GPS $12/day, child seat $6/day


Mandatory insurance costs are given along with the list of vehicles and rental charges for the low season charges and on the second page of the other quotation page. Generally online reviews are positive for Service. Mandatory insurance: $15 daily

Mandatory insurance costs are not given along with the list of vehicles and rental charges. Mandatory insurance: $19.99 daily

Mandatory insurance costs are not given along side the list of vehicles and rental charges, but are clearly displayed on the following page as the customer moves towards booking a reservation. Anibal, a representative, is frequently mentioned in online reviews for his high level of customer service skills. Live Chat has instant response time to inquiries.

Live Chat.
Mandatory insurance: $11.95 daily
Additional charges: GPS $8/day, child seat free

Wild Rider

Mandatory insurance costs are given next to the list of vehicles. Wild Rider is the only car rental firm in Costa Rica with no visible bad reviews online. No toll-free phone number or Live Chat
Mandatory insurance: included
Comparison Review

Customer Service

Adobe, Alamo and Budget have different rental prices posted on their websites than those quoted over the phone. Adobe also offers different vehicle models over the phone as compared to their website. International car rental firms with both a Costa Rican and international website appear to have pricing differences between the two sites.

Rental prices for car seating had to be verified on the phone as they are not listed on the Budget website.

Thrifty's Costa Rican website is simply unusable.


Service offers a generally high-level of customer service and fairly competitive pricing at both international airports.
"Now you're ready to book your rental car after seeing how the competition compares.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Car Rental Companies Guide

Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica 2015
Rate Comparisons for 2015
Why is car rental so expensive?

Visitors from outside of Costa Rica are often surprised by the cost of car rental.     All vehicles in Costa Rica are imported and a tax is imposed. There are some car rental operators who rent older vehicles in order to reduce their costs.

    The cost of mandatory insurance (see below).

Factors that Affect Car Rental Costs

• Mandatory Insurance

Car rental operators must charge the customer for this coverage which may or may not be clear in the quotation received by the customer.

The issue that causes contention in Costa Rica is that this cost is not always displayed clearly on the car rental operator's website or in a quote. Customers then discover the additional cost of their rental upon arrival.

The cost of mandatory insurance varies from company to company and will depend on the car category that is being rented as well. Credit cards in North America usually offer car insurance as an additional perk to the credit card holder and so North Americans in particular, are unused to having to pay for insurance on top of rental costs. However, no credit card will cover this insurance requirement.

Do ask if the given quote includes third-party insurance and check the prices on the car rental operator's website.

It is worth remembering that car rental company employees, like in other parts of the world, will sometimes earn commission for insurance sales.

Car rental operators require written proof that the customer's credit card provides CDW. • Deposit

• Airport Taxes

Customers that rent from a car rental operator's counter within an airport building are obliged to pay the airport tax.

Those car rental operators with a counter at San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) are: Alamo/National, Budget, Dollar, Economy and Hertz. These companies will add an additional 12% tax to the rental cost.

Those car rental operators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Budget and Economy. These companies will add an additional 3% tax to the rental cost.

To avoid this tax, take an airport shuttle with the car rental operator to an office located outside of the airport grounds.

There are a number of other obligatory fees that car rental operators may add into the rental cost, display on-screen or show in the quote, or leave undisclosed until the customer's arrival. One car rental operator charges $20 for this additional service.

A common confusion for travelers booking a rental car is the discrepancy between international websites for car rental operators and the Costa Rican website for the same brand. A number of companies do not have a local website. Car Rental Comparisons

In May/June of 2013, I compared the pricing and services of a number of car rental operators in Costa Rica and published the findings. The car rental operators selected are those which are most frequently used by travelers:














Wild Rider

Exclusion of Companies from Final Comparison

Comparison Information

As not all pricing is completely transparent, the prices are as accurate as possible based on the information provided from the car rental operators' websites, phone calls, and/or emails. Shoulder Season (Quote for July 13 through 20)

2. Service $54.92

5. Adobe $60.13

6. Alamo $60.99

7. Wild Rider $62.86

8. Dollar $63.35

9. Vamos $64.15

10. National $67.04

11. Thrifty $74.39

Low Season (Quote for May 13 through 20)

1. National $37.04

3. Dollar $46.49

4. Adobe $52.57

5. Vamos $53.15

6. Service $53.49

9. Wild Rider $55.71

10. Alamo $60.99

High Season (Quote for March 13 through 20)

1. Dollar $55.92

6. Service $66.63

7. Vamos $67.14

8. Alamo $69.56

9. Wild Rider $70.00

11. National $73.90

The variation in ranking between seasons is marked and customers should consider their vacation dates when choosing the car rental operator. It is also significant that pricing is not consistent with ranking with car rental operators in other car categories. Information on Car Rental Operators

Adobe Rent-A-Car is a local car rental operator that has eleven offices across the country. The mandatory insurance cost is displayed as part of the online quote. The company receives mixed reviews online, but more positive than negative comments are made. Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-855-861-1250

Child Seat: $3/day

GPS System: $9/day

This makes the pricing seem high on first glance, especially when, unlike other car rental operators, Alamo includes airport taxes in their online quotation and so their pricing is honest, but appears much higher than other companies as a result. This pricing discrepancy is the lead cause of negative reviews for this company. Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-855-533-1196

Child Seat: $3/day

GPS System: $12/day

No Toll-Free Phone Number

Child Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $9.99/day

Emailed quotes showed the same pricing for all seasons as the website did. Budget receives mixed online reviews.

No Toll-Free Phone Number, but Live Chat is offered

Child Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $14.99/day

Car washing charge is enforced for very dirty vehicles. Email response is within 24 hours. Dollar receives mixed reviews from online travel forums.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-877-767-8651

Child Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $9/day

Economy has the worst online reputation of any big name car rental operator in Costa Rica.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-877-326-7368

Child Seat: $10/day

GPS System: $15/day

Offices are located at both international airports. Online reviews are generally poor.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-225-4369

Child Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $9.99/day

No Toll-Free Phone Number

Child Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $12/day

Free Phone Call Option Via Website

Child Seat: $6/day

GPS System: $12/day

Payless is part of the international car rental company and has no Costa Rican website. Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-PAYLESS

GPS System: $9.95/day

Service is a local company with five offices in the country. Reviews are frequently negative due to pricing complaints.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-344-1705

Free Phone Call Option Via Website

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-467-3659

The company has three offices.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-950-8426

Child Seat: free

Booster: free

Additional Driver: free

Wild Rider is a small, local company located only in San Jose. The website is simple with third-party insurance included in the pricing. The other car rental operators were less transparent with surcharges or taxes, such as airport taxes or sales taxes. Pricing

Customers need to consider the pricing of other items, such as additional drivers or GPS system, and families will want to compare car seat rental pricing. It is clear that the local car rental operators are still trumping the big names in their transparency and customer service when comparing their websites and online reviews. Adobe, Alamo, and National seem to rate well as international car rental operators. Service also offers these extras at low daily rates.

Which Costa Rican Car Company Is Best?
Renting a Car in Costa Rica? Which company should you choose?
There are so many rent-a-car companies to choose from in Costa Rica - from the large international firms to the smaller national agencies. Understanding the insurance laws and charges that bind the Costa Rican car rental companies may help you to ask the right questions when you are reserving your vehicle and avoid a nasty shock upon arrival. Insurance needs, additional costs in rental and surcharges are considered in more detail below:


Basic insurance is mandatory. Costa Rican law is very clear on this and your rental car company cannot allow you to leave with their car without having agreed to pay it. Expect to pay somewhere between $9 and $20 per day on top of your car rental rate. An honest, car rental agency will make this very clear in their pricing. Check whether your insurance policy covers you to drive in Costa Rica. If you are covered, bring proof (in writing) for your vehicle rental company. Zero liability is offered by rent-a-car companies. Many car rental companies will charge additional fees for a child/baby seat, an additional driver, luggage racks or cooler. Surcharges:

Some rental car companies incorporate taxes and additional fees into their rental cost; others don't. Airport fees can be charged at 13% of your rental cost which is a sizable fee to pay in addition to an agreed rental charge. You may also be charged a license plate charge, environmental fee and/or any other charge that the rental car company has to meet (or pocket).

Criteria for Rating Car Rental Companies:

1) Value: Is the rental rate competitive?

Each company was researched based on a week's rental of a Daihutsu Bego with mandatory insurance.

Dollar Rent-A-Car:


- $300+ USD.

- Extras are at average prices.


- Email inquiry returned within 24 hours.


- Reservation price is listed as 'Base rate' and doesn't include insurance.

Vamos Rent-A-Car:


- $300+ USD.



- The website clearly states prices and insurance.

- Toll-free number and live chat are provided.

Wild Rider:


- $300+ USD.

- Additional driver is free.


- Email inquiry returned within 2 hours.


- Prices are displayed very clearly onsite and include insurance.



- Extra charges for baby seat, additional driver etc.


- The company has 9 offices nationwide.


- No prices displayed with vehicles information.

- Budget has received mixed reviews.

Service Car Rental:


- $400+ USD including mandatory insurance and taxes.

- Extras such as additional driver and child seat are charged, but at cheaper rates than most companies.


- The company has 5 offices nationwide.


National Car Rental:

- Extras are priced a little above average.



Economy Rent-A-Car:

- Extras are average in price.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour, but email inquiring about insurance was not returned.

- Website does not make mandatory insurance clear.

- Economy has numerous negative reviews.

Hertz Costa Rica:

- $400+ USD, but actual rental price is not made clear.

- 6 offices nationwide.

- No contact email.

- Mixed reviews.

Adobe Rent-A-Car:

- Extras are at low prices.

- The company has 9 offices nationwide.

- Online estimate includes insurance.

Tricolor Car Rental:

- Extras aren't listed or provided in quotation email, although cell phone price is given.

- 3 offices nationwide.

- Email returned within 2 hours.

- Reviews are mixed.

- Toll-free number is provided.

For real value, Dollar, Vamos, Wild Rider and Tricolor come out on top for competitive pricing for the basic rental fee, plus mandatory insurance. Adobe and Service have low cost extras, whereas Hertz has the most expensive rates for extras. Adobe, Wild Rider, Vamos and Service have websites that clearly show rental prices and insurance. Ask those all important questions: Does this price include mandatory insurance?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Car Dealer Secret

A Secret Credit Score Your Car Dealer Won't Tell You About
You're ready to buy a new car.

You know your three FICO credit scores.

You determine that your highest FICO credit score is from Equifax (also known as your BEACON score).

So, you find a car dealer who uses your highest score (which increases your opportunity to get approved at a good rate).

Sure enough...the dealer says your Equifax/BEACON score isn't high enough for their lowest interest rate.

You just checked your FICO credit scores through a few hours ago. Remember, your credit scores are dynamic and will change whenever information on your credit reports changes.

Car Dealers Can Use "Different" FICO Scores Than The Ones You See

The car dealer is probably using what is known as the FICO Auto Industry Option score instead of a traditional FICO credit score. You see, car dealers not only get to select the credit reporting agency they receive FICO credit scores from...they also get to decide if they will use a traditional FICO credit score or a variation of a FICO score called an Auto Industry Option score.

What's the difference between these two types of scores?

Not a whole lot to most people...but there's enough variation to make the majority of auto lenders use the Auto Industry Option score. The real difference between the two scores is that the Auto Industry Option score pays a lot more attention to how you handled previous auto credit.

- Have you had a car repossessed?
- Did you include your car loan or lease in your bankruptcy?

Those actions will affect your Auto Industry Option score more than they'll affect your traditional FICO score. Bottom line, if you handled your previous auto credit perfectly, you should have a high FICO Auto Industry Option score--that's a good thing.

You guessed it...your Auto Industry Option score will be lower. You see, auto lenders are different than other types of lenders. What a Former Auto Finance Director Revealed to Me

"So many people I have helped couldn't believe their scores were so high with the FICO Auto Industry Option score. What's good about the auto score is that it truly helps the auto lender concentrate on what is important--how the customer handles his/her auto loans.

As you can see, the FICO auto scores can work in your favor, if they are used correctly.

scores against you...

A Dirty Trick Car Dealers Can Play with Your FICO Scores

Let's imagine your Equifax/Beacon FICO score is 585. With a score that low, if you do get approved for a car loan, you'll probably wind up with a high interest rate and high monthly payment.

The finance director then reviews your FICO Auto Industry Option score. And, unknown to you, this score is actually higher than the Equifax/Beacon FICO score you pulled.

With this higher score, you'll get approved at a better rate...right?

Here's what unscrupulous car dealers can do. They won't tell you that your auto score is higher than your traditional score!

How Some Car Dealers "Play the Spread" to Get You to Pay More

It's possible that a car dealer has the ability to pull your traditional FICO scores AND your FICO auto scores. How to Use Your FICO Scores to Your Advantage when Buying a Car

Wait until he reviews the scores himself. Then ask him what your scores are.

3. However, if your scores are higher, then pull them out and show him. How do you find out what your FICO Auto Industry Option scores are before you walk into a car dealership?

Only a very small percentage of the population even knows they have three FICO credit scores...let alone three Auto Industry Option scores.

If you handled your previous auto credit well--your FICO Auto Industry Option scores will be higher than your traditional FICO scores. 4. If you've handled your auto credit poorly...then you should simply try to find an auto lender that uses just the traditional FICO credit scores. When you find a lender that uses a traditional FICO credit score, you'll have your best chance to get the lowest interest rate.

5. Start by calling dealerships and asking the finance director if they use a traditional FICO credit score to make their lending decision or if they use the FICO Auto Industry Option score.

Gran Turismo 5 Review

Again present is the famous GT mode, which requires you to work your way up in the world of cars. Also present is arcade mode, here users can set the conditions of the race and just drive with a car of their choice. Last but not least is Gran Turismo TV; here you can watch television shows and clips about cars. Online

GT mode

For me this has always been the mode that reminds me I'm playing a Gran Turismo game. The core of GT mode has also been refined, this time you'll need to reach curtain levels to unlock access to events or buy higher-up cars. It's a lot of fun to buy cars/tune them and win every event the game throws at you. Cars

All of the modes ultimately boil down to cars, and GT5 has a lot of them. I honestly think there isn't a game in the world that features so many cars in this amount of detail.

The cars aren't all perfect though. There's a big difference between the 800 standard cars and the 200 premium cars that the game offers. Driving

Due to GT-mode gamers will have to master a host of different cars and thanks to this drivers will quickly notice and appreciate the little differences between the many cars in the game. Some exotic car owners have already expressed that GT5 comes really close to the real thing, for some of the cars that is. In any case it's way more simulation than most other car games have to offer.


We've already established that Gran Turismo 5 is a great car game but does that convert into a great racing game? The AI cars are still as brainless as they've ever been. Gran Turismo games used to set the bar so high for graphics. What really bothers me though are the standard cars and the sluggish finish. A difference that big between cars in a game is simply unacceptable.

On the flipside, the game does offer a lot of great things. It has a lot of replay value, fantastic premium cars and the physics are unmatched by any console game of the genre.

Putting things into perspective the problems don't outweigh the many great aspects of the game and the bottom-line is this: Gran Turismo 5 is the best car game in the world because it drives great and is really extensive. Not every car is realistic. Presentation 7/10: Slow menus and standard cars are a pain. At times great graphics and premium cars look amazing.

Overall 8/10: Best car game in the world but the drawbacks and lack of polish brings it down.

Gran Turismo review