Guess What? Trying to Buy a Car in PR is a Giant Pain in the A$$

Hey guys, guess what? If you want to transfer a vehicle to your name in Puerto Rico, you have to provide your physical social security card at the title transfer office. The actual PAPER CARD. Which I haven’t carried around on my person since I was applying for my first jobs and college and passport, like 20 years ago. You also a drivers license, and a copy of a lease or bill with your name and your Puerto Rico address.

A driver’s license and passport will not suffice. Bring your paper social security card to Puerto Rico if you want to buy a car here – that’s Rule #1, and the first in a long list of things we are learning in our attempts to purchase a vehicle.

We’ve been here for a couple weeks, and have been car searching on and off since day one – and we have yet to find a decent car to buy for what we would consider a reasonable price. Rule #2: people in PR overvalue their old Toyotas! They want to sell their 1993 Toyota Corolla, with over 200k miles for $3,500. Seriously. That expensive. Here’s a lot of proof:

Also important to note: no one puts the friggin mileage on the posting (see all the frigging posts above), so you HAVE to call/text/WhatsApp every single person you want to ask! What the hell?! Do they really want to be answering the same damn question over and over? Just put the mileage on the post! Rule #3 – be prepared to call or text EVERYONE for mileage.

Also, guess what? Some people say they don’t know how many miles are on the vehicle you inquire about. How bout them apples? HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW? Why would anyone even engage with you if you can’t even tell them the mileage? Good grief! Here is a message I received from a guy after I inquired about the mileage on a car on Classificados (I had to send his very fast talking voice message to a Spanish speaking friend for translation):

This was the third or fourth time I contacted someone for mileage info and they said “NO SE”. What? Good grief.

Thankfully, our social security card is on a long journey here, so we’re in the process of clearing the hurdle of Rule #1. We don’t have a physical address here, and not many people in our area have mailboxes (we don’t even live on a street with a name), so we had to get a PO Box. Guess what? The SS office will not sent a SS card to a PO Box, so we had to have it sent to our house in Austin, then picked up by someone and then sent to our PO Box here. Guess what? There are no PO Boxes available at the Post Office in Rincon. They are all full/taken. The post man at the desk said there are about 20 that have not been paid for, and he needs to go through them to determine how long it’s been since they have been paid (he has to wait a full 60 days of non payment in order to revoke the PO Box and sell it to someone else), but they have been very busy and short-staffed, so he hasn’t had time to weed through non-payments . . . once he has a chance to do that, a few might open up, but he does not know when he’ll have time.

So, we got a PO Box in the next town over. Hopefully the card will arrive in the next couple days, and (welcome to island time) we’ll be truly prepared to buy a golden 2002 Corolla with 220k miles for $3,300!

Wish us luck in the search, and humor in the process! xo

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