How I got mine online
Posted Thursday, February 21 2013 at 15:18
Whereas it is true that you can be conned online and you lose all your hard earned money, it is not all doom like some people say. Here is someone who got his online and is not crying foul.
I had always been a fan of auto websites that feature news about cars, from the latest models to the classics to the customs, auto shows around the world, the world rally championships, the odd news and all that. So, when I decided to buy a car, I went online.
However, it is not something I considered automatically; it was where I turned after I looked at a car to buy the ‘usual way’. This involved going to the bonds around town to see what they had. I also put out feelers for anyone selling a car, checked the classified sections of the newspapers but I also kept on the lookout for those “For Sale” signs posted on the car windows.
While going to the bond may seem like a good idea, it is not what it seems. May be it is because I am picky when it comes to cars. I need to know as many specifics about the car as much as possible and prefer a wide range of choices. That is one factor I realised after going to several car bonds.
The cars are already chosen, so I would be choosing from among those. But what I hated most about going to the bond is the rush of salesmen, trying to lure me to their different bosses, who most of the time happen to be Pakistanis (no offence intended, just an observance). In the midst of all of them talking at the same time, these salesmen could not answer all my questions. Also, I needed to take my time to get a feel of the car, and maybe develop a ‘sixth sense’.
When I made the decision, I needed to discuss a payment plan. For me, carrying such huge amounts of cash to some bond, or to someone elsewhere whose car I wanted to buy, was not something I wanted to do. I simply do not like carrying a lot of money around yet there are better options of doing it. That is not even thinking about the risks involved
Variety of companies
I settled for Trust Company Ltd, which operates an online car exhibition and selling website. It has photos of cars inside and outside and from different angles, the model years, specifics like power steering, manual or automatic transmission, mileage and a lot more. Of course, the most important factor that would influence the decision to buy was the price. What I liked most is a calculator on the site that shows how much it would cost to ship the car from Nagoya, Japan, to either Mombasa or Dar es Salaam ports in Kenya or Tanzania, respectively.
While online, I had what I could not get at the car bonds or negotiating with car owners: lots of time and the widest possible range of choices as well as acquiring as much knowledge about the car as possible. In addition, it is clear how much I would spend on the car and shipment.
Indeed by that time, the ship was docking at port, what was left was processing the necessary documentation and organising transportation to Malaba border point. All this was handled by Oscar, who was my appointed agent. I did not need to worry about anything apart from the driver possibly crashing it along the way.
So, you can imagine my relief when I got an early morning call from Oscar that the vehicle had crossed into Uganda. I just needed to send cash via Mobile Money for fuel, and that evening it arrived at the HAKS bond in Kampala.
Being a working day, I decided to go see it over the weekend with my sons. So, that Saturday we went to the bond and there it was. The Lexar, as the boys had baptised it, was finally here.