Somebody sent this pitch to Consumer Reports, which tucked it into the annual Auto issue. A dealer was offering seemingly-astonishing trade-in values: “100% of original MSRP,” they said, hoping you wouldn’t notice the fine print, which indicated that they would subtract 55 cents per mile.
I saw that, remembered that my previous automobile cost me 59 cents per mile to operate, and concluded that this could not possibly be a good deal.
And then I sat down and actually did the math. Gwendolyn’s sticker was $30,519; she has 94,210 miles, which at 55 cents each comes to $51,815.50; her trade-in value at this place would therefore be minus $21,296.50.
The disclosure forms would likely be hilarious.