Why This Lifelong Nomad Just Got a Car
Raquel Lieven Likes to Stay on the Move. She Didn’t Want Her Car Situation to Change That.
Raquel Lieven isn’t somebody to stay in one spot for long. She spent her late teens and 20s as a model, working everywhere from Japan to New York to Paris. After 10 years, she returned to her native Brazil and graduated from a university in São Paulo with a degree in business administration.
She was working in marketing there five years ago when she met her American husband and moved with him to the U.S. in 2016, settling in New York City. This past December, they relocated to Miami to be closer to her family in Brazil – and for the warm weather.
It was here that Lieven realized something was missing in her life: a car. But with the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic and her own traditionally nomadic lifestyle, she didn’t want to be locked into anything long-term. So she used Fair to get a shiny blue Volkswagen Tiguan that fits the bill – for now.
She recently talked with Fair about her love of travel, her need for total flexibility, and why she’s never been a car person.
FAIR: So first off, congratulations on being our first customer in Florida since our relaunch there!
RAQUEL LIEVEN: Oh, that's awesome! I didn’t know that. I’m so happy to be the first one. I really like the app. The whole experience was amazing.
FAIR: Well, it sounds like you’ve been living quite the whirlwind for the last few years. Can we assume that it’s pretty important for you to keep things fluid in your life?
RL: Haha, it is! I love to move and experience new things, and to change completely. It's kind of addicting. And thank God my husband loves to do it too because right now, it's just him and me. Who knows if these things will be possible in the future if there are children in the picture.
FAIR: Right. So, let’s talk about your car situation. When you first came to the United States, you were living in New York where there's probably no real need for a car, right?
RL: Yeah, we didn't have one. When we wanted to do a specific trip, like go skiing or go to Maine, we would just rent a car. In New York, I used the subway to go everywhere. Just having a parking space in New York is so expensive.
FAIR: So were you ever a car person before you came to the United States?
RL: Not really. My family loves cars – especially my father. But I just lied to him about liking his so I could use it! It was never my dream to have a really nice car. But when I was living in São Paulo and not traveling, you have to have a car. I had a very simple one that I sold when we moved to New York. I don't need the fast car or the Ferrari or whatever. I want the cheaper, more comfortable, more responsible one. That’s why I got the Tiguan. It's not super fancy, but it’s a nice car and I feel good driving it. It just fits my mentality.
FAIR: So when you decided to get a car, was it because you moved to Miami or was it all the stuff going on with COVID-19 that make things like ridesharing a difficult option right now?
RL: Both. We chose an apartment close to his job and I also found a job in the neighborhood specifically so we could get out and explore. So at first, we were walking everywhere and didn’t need a car. Sometimes we got a scooter or an Uber and everything was okay. But Miami is a car city. It’s annoying to rideshare every day. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood. Getting your groceries and waiting for a ride is a lot. And then there’s going to the beach. The beach for our dog is far away and when he comes back he’s all sandy. So it’s all these little things. And in the end we decided, “Okay, we have to have a car.”
FAIR: And do you remember how you first heard about Fair?
RL: Yes, it was a friend of mine. I was talking with him about whether I should buy a car or lease one, and he had heard about Fair from his friend. So it was a word-of-mouth thing. He told us that you can basically get a car without a long-term contract and I thought it was amazing because if we ever decided to move again, we could just return the car and everything's okay. When you lease a car, it’s like renting an apartment. You’re locked in with them forever. It’s just too much and it's not a great deal for us. So when I saw Fair, I thought, “Should I trust it? It is too good to be real.”
FAIR: I understand what you're saying. Some people say it feels like it's almost too easy in a way.
RL: Right. It almost felt like I was on Instagram buying something or doing a Venmo. You really have to trust the person on the other end, and then we got in touch with Adrian (from Fair’s Customer Care team), and he was really nice to us and helped us a lot. So then we decided, “This is nice. Let's do it.” Everybody was so surprised that I’m getting a car right now and I’m like, “No, this thing is so easy!” You click here, click there and then your car arrives. And if you want to return it in a few months, you do it.
FAIR: So what do you remember about your app experience? What was your plan? Spend some time picking the perfect car or just pull the trigger on something?
RL: It was all super fast. After my friend told me about it, I downloaded the app when I got home. I put in my information and the next day I was approved. So then I went back in to start looking for the cars and see the prices, how many miles and all the details. I showed my husband, and since he’s working a lot he was like, “Okay, choose a car you want.” And I chose the Tiguan because I liked how it fit between the cheaper cars and the more expensive ones, and it was a good price. I had a lot of questions about my insurance and then Andrew Rohrlich (from Fair’s Marketing team) got in touch with us and helped us with that. And then, because of this weird moment with coronavirus, Fair was able to deliver the car for free the very next day. So it was amazing.
FAIR: Is there anything specific you’re using the car for at this difficult moment in time?
RL: Well, I did lose my job because of COVID-19. So the car right now is just for groceries. But things really do feel so much more secure with a car in the garage because you never know what will happen. If you ever need to go, you can just go, you know? And then one day we look forward to running around and using it to explore the city.
FAIR: And do you have any idea how long you're planning to keep your Fair car at this point?
RL: I don't know. It could be for a year, maybe even less. But at this point, we’re planning to keep it because we need it. We are looking for a house right now, so we will probably be here for a while. It’s kind of like an iPhone, you know? If you want a newer one, you just turn it in and get it. That’s what I really like about it.