Hundreds of people buy cars every day in India – who would have thought that the process was so crazy – or maybe it was just me. My tryst with this process started about 10 months ago:
I had just landed myself with a job in Gurgaon, and anyone who’s been in Gurgaon knows that you cannot survive here without a means of transportation – as there is no public transportation to speak of. I had seen the Ritz while in Shimla a couple of days earlier, and had liked the car. It was the “new kid on the block” and everyone was after one – and hence the models we wanted weren’t available. We scoured through the showroom in Gurgaon till we found one which had what we wanted – a Blue Ritz Ldi (diesel) model. We promptly booked the car – using Sonali’s debit card – and then started the looooong process.
The showroom managers had told me getting a loan was very easy – and I was pretty confident that it should not be a problem – I had a substantial income before ISB, and my accounts had money before I went to ISB – but there lay the fallacy. The money was in my account one and a half years back, and during the previous year in ISB, I had whittled down my savings and in effect there was no money in my accounts now. Also since I had just joined the workforce – I could not back it up with 6 months of payslips – someone please explain to the banks what a sabbatical means and how you do not earn money while studying!! So – my initial applications through the car dealership to HDFC, Kotak, SBI were rejected summarily. I decided to take matters into my hands and applied directly to ICICI – I had an account with them for the past 5 years and had maintained a healthy balance all throughout (except the last one year – of course); and the officials decided that they would see only the last one year’s statement. So there was another rejection . . . . however after endless negotiations, and providing statements of my joint account with papa, the loan was finally approved – albeit for 85% of the ex-showroom price instead of the normal 90-95%.
So with an SMS approval in hand – I went to the showroom; and lo and behold – the process had taken so much time – they had sold “our” car to someone else and now there was a waiting for 2 months for a “Blue Ritz Ldi”. Till now the showroom manager was after my life to take the car, and now the bank officer was after my life – unfortunately before there was a car and NO loan approval; now there was a loan approval by NO car.
To make matters worse – the officials at ICICI bank checked my IT returns in Delhi and found no record – obvious to me as they were filed in Shimla. So they came back to me and revoked the loan application saying that I had forged my IT returns!! Now NO loan AND NO car. So we had to cancel the booking – leading to another issue – the booking was in the name of “Dushyant Ahuja” and the payment was made in the name of “Sonali Mehta”. They didn’t have any problems while taking the money – but to refund they needed a “relationship proof”. Wonder what happens to people who’re living together or haven’t registered their marriage. Anyways, as we had registered our marriage, after almost two months of booking a car, we came home with the money back.
Sick and tired of the process – I decided to wait till I had my 6-month payslips. Luckily, HDFC decided to setup a pre-approved loan on my salary account. Also by now the Chevrolet Beat had come into the market – and we liked it better. So after an initial recce of different cars; a few test-drives and we decided on the Beat – however this time did not book the car till my loan was finalised. Luckily, as the loan was pre-approved it was approved (!). Of course – the pre-approval was for 4,75,000; and the approval came for 3,78,000 – hahahaha (that was a maniacal laughter). Anyways – booked the car – but how can things be so easy? The loan could not be disbursed till I gave them three post-dated cheques (from my salary account) – and my cheque-book had just one leaf. SO had to order a new cheque-book from HDFC as they don’t give any loose leaves and the wait started yet again. While waiting HDFC decided to increase their interest rates by 0.5%, and the loan which was approved at 10% may go up to 10.5% :-(.
Luckily the wait was just for a couple of days, and the cheque book came in yesterday. So hopefully, today the loan would be disbursed and I’ll be a proud owner of a brand new car AND a brand new EMI. . . .
Wish me luck.
Update: 6:10 pm April 22:
Yesterday, the officer who was supposed to collect the papers was out of town – so the task was delegated to someone else. He had his own clients first – so came to me at 6:30 last evening. So the entire process was delayed by one more day – the papers reached the concerned officer today and the loan disbursement will only happen tonight – which means the dealer will get the money tomorrow morning and I don’t get the car today.
To complicate matters – I’m leaving for Jaipur tonight and won’t be here the entire day tomorrow. So, the car should come day after tomorrow. (Fingers crossed)