Car dealer questionable business practices

vanr

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So the wife and I are considering a new car. She wants to buy one final car in the later years of life here and pass her old car on to her son. We go to a local car dealer (who shall remain anonymous) website and see a car we are interested in. It says they have 4 of them on the lot. Pick up the phone and call and am told by a nice young lady that they do in fact have 4 of that model in stock. I make an appointment to go see them. Get to the car dealer and "we are sorry, we don't have any of that model in stock and I don't know why you were told we did". They then proceeded to try to hard sell us 3 or 4 overpriced late model used cars.

So the truth is they lied to me on the phone in order to get the wife and I on the lot so they could pawn some used cars off on us that we didn't want. I have 2 used cars at home. I wanted a new car. I'm considering calling the BBB as I don't appreciate being lied to. I understand that the auto industry has supply problems but that is not the way to do business.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the salesman finally did admit that there was only 2 new cars on the whole lot. Both like $60K large SUVs.
 
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Dismalhead

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Drummer in my band in the '90s was a car salesman. Our bass player needed a new car, so he went to the drummer and bought one at his dealership, talked about how great it was to have a good friend on the inside. Then one night when the bass player leaves practice early the drummer laughs and tells us "I ripped him off so bad!!" and went on a diatribe about how he gouged him on every aspect of his car deal.

We had all played together for about four years; I thought we were all friends.
 

Peegoo

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It's all part of the game to get you inside the door.

It's also the reason why you cannot simply walk in, PAY CASH, and drive away. They try to keep you there as long as possible, while you and they negotiate on price. The mental game is this: you've already spent three hours there, so what's a lousy additional $600?

Let's just pay it dammit and drive away in the new car.

Screw that.

Last time I bought a car (2017) I paid cash. I told the sales guy I had exactly one hour to spend on negotiating, and if the deal was not done by then, I had to leave. We closed the deal in 45 minutes. I got the price I wanted and they made 3% over their cost.
 

JL_LI

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All dealerships need to be profitable. But there’s no good reason to be honest and forthright with all potential customers. Go elsewhere if you’re not treated fairly. To me, the dealership is as important as the car. I leased a new BMW a year ago and ordered another in June for an August delivery. That one was a purchase, not a lease. The dealer bent over backwards to get us something on the June order not on the official price list. There are good dealers out there. You just have to find them.
 

vanr

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OP here. I had a similar bad experience with another car dealer on Friday. I had talked to a guy about a certain car and what I wanted. Got a call from him a few days later saying the truck had just come in and they had the exact car I wanted. Wife and I head out there. And it's a good 25 mile drive to get there and he shows us the car. I say Bob (not his real name) this car isn't what I told you I was looking for. This car is Orange and has a light grey interior. I don't want that. He gets sort of red faced on me. So the wife says she likes a similar car that is blue with a black interior and we test drive it and decide to purchase it. Half way through the process of filling out the papers and such his manager walks in and says that car is no longer for sale as someone else had put a deposit on it. So apparently someone on the internet bought that car out from under us while I was basically just sitting in the driver's seat. Now I am pissed, but worse is my wife is pissed. Salesman tries to pivot us back to the other car that we had seen first, but the wife is grabbing her purse by now and it's over. My guess is we will never step foot on that lot again. My wife has a long memory.
 

DugT

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When buying a car, I negotiate everything up front via phone or email. If they insist that I go there, I ask to speak with the sales manager....

Here is another way. For example, you want a Chevy Corvette with xyz options. Go to the website of every Chevy dealer within 500 miles and get the email address for sales. Copy all of them in an email and say you are shopping for the best price for Corvette xyz.

The only time I go to dealers is to test drive cars and afterwards I say, "Thanks, bye."
 

Texicaster

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It Varies.....
I know things have changed but in 2019 I shopped online for my Tundra. It was pretty cool as ALL the Toyota dealers in AZ contacted me and I was able to sort through and get the best deal. The one I ended up with was at one dealer and another somehow got it transferred to them at a cheaper price!

Point is ....shop online! Get pre-approved loan and you're in charge! First time I was able to call all the shots before arriving at the dealer.


PLENTY of places to leave reviews. Google and Yelp are often featured on web searches.

The truck before this I had trouble. Struck a deal with the salesman for it to include new tires. I'd call and come back in a week. He dodged my calls for 2 weeks before I finally just went to the service counter and ordered them and said bill "Tony". He wasn't even there when I arrived but quickly ran and found me after they contacted him! I got the tires for free (I think maybe I paid $200 as I upgraded..it was a $1300 set of tires).

Again shopping on line puts you in charge.
 

hnryclay

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I agree with previous posters. I shop online walk in with cash, and walk out with car. Dont have the car, I am done, want to talk finance and warranty I am done. I do always get thw price in an email with tax and all fees added before I leave the house. If they mess with that again I will walk. Lots of dealerships out there.
 

ElJay370

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Bought a new car last summer. Almost the entire negotiation was done online. I got price quotes in writing and played the dealers off on each other. (Although there isn’t much wiggle room these days) Once I found the car I was looking for, a few texts and emails with the internet sales manager, and the deal was done. After that it was only a matter of filling out paperwork. There’s really no reason to spend a whole day going through all the salesperson BS anymore.
 

nojazzhere

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OP here. I had a similar bad experience with another car dealer on Friday. I had talked to a guy about a certain car and what I wanted. Got a call from him a few days later saying the truck had just come in and they had the exact car I wanted. Wife and I head out there. And it's a good 25 mile drive to get there and he shows us the car. I say Bob (not his real name) this car isn't what I told you I was looking for. This car is Orange and has a light grey interior. I don't want that. He gets sort of red faced on me. So the wife says she likes a similar car that is blue with a black interior and we test drive it and decide to purchase it. Half way through the process of filling out the papers and such his manager walks in and says that car is no longer for sale as someone else had put a deposit on it. So apparently someone on the internet bought that car out from under us while I was basically just sitting in the driver's seat. Now I am pissed, but worse is my wife is pissed. Salesman tries to pivot us back to the other car that we had seen first, but the wife is grabbing her purse by now and it's over. My guess is we will never step foot on that lot again. My wife has a long memory.
Back in the seventies, Sears got in MAJOR trouble for their bait and switch practices. ALL retailers got their shorts in a twist (I was at Montgomery Ward) to avoid the slightest appearance of "B&S"........nowadays it seems to have come back with a vengeance.
When I bought my current car in 2020, just before lockdown, it was from one of those dealers that carry one or two year old, super clean used models. I picked it out online (they had two almost identical in price, mileage and colors) and I printed those out and then went to the lot to choose. It turned out one of them had two smart keys.....the other only one. I test drove the "two key" one, liked it, and signed the papers. Biggest hassle was telling them I didn't want an extended warranty.....I had to see two different supervisors before I started to walk out.....and then they ceased pushing.
You got "snookered", and I would contact the BBB and complain, although it won't do any good. Who do you think supports and owns the BBB?
 

Cosmic Cowboy

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I ran sales departments in car dealerships for 18 years. Was a Salesman for 4 years before that. I would not ever, nor allow any salesperson to lie about what we have in stock...or anything else for that matter. Any business should foster a culture of always trying to tell the customer the truth. Or at least never lie.

I don't know what kind of dealers are doing these kinds of business practices. Dealers are not going to last long with a culture like that. People just won't ever come back after being treated sh**ty

If their salespeople are too weak to tell you the truth over the phone and still set an appointment...then they are lousy salespeople, or lazy or both.

BBB won't do anything cause you didn't buy anything Unfortunately.
 

bgmacaw

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I don't know what kind of dealers are doing these kinds of business practices. Dealers are not going to last long with a culture like that. People just won't ever come back after being treated sh**ty

And, even worse, they'll tell the real life friends and, today, their internet friends about it.

For example, I'll always tell people to avoid Heyward Allen in Athens GA because my wife got the "don't pitch the ____" treatment from the salesman and the sales manager there.
 

Milspec

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You just described every new dealership I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with, so no sense in reporting it, we all know them.

My final visit with one happened to be one of the largest dealers in the country. I was thinking about trading in my vehicle towards a new truck at the time. They had a kid take my car to the shop area for inspection while the salesman took me by golf cart across the lot.

I told the salesman exactly which truck I was interested in seeing, but he kept taking me to a SUV that they were pushing. After about the 4th time telling him that I had no interest in the SUV and wanted to go to the trucks parked at the end of the lot, he finally took me. We looked at the options and I found the one that brought me to the dealership in the first place.

Back in the sales office, we ran some numbers. The deal wasn't good. They under-valued my trade by about 50% so I declined and decided to leave, but my car was nowhere to be found. They told me that they would have it brought around and then tried to sell me on the freaking SUV again only this time offered me about $5000 more on my trade-in towards the SUV.

I had enough of the place and asked where my car was again now that 10 minutes had passed. Again, they made a call to have it brought around while continuing to try and sell me the SUV. I stormed out and walked back to the shop to get my car, but the shop manager said that it left 20 minutes ago to be brought around. Nobody seemed to know where it was.

I barged my way into the manager's office and demanded they find my car. He apologized and sent a kid to find the car. Then he started asking me if I had any interest in that SUV. I damn near punched the guy and walked out to the parking lot to meet my car....it never showed.

I finally located it after walking all over the lot, it was parked in the back lot far away from anything with the keys in it. I drove off and never returned to a dealership ever again.

That was 5 years ago, and I will never buy from a dealership ever again. They are all so crooked that you will never get a fair deal.
 

Preacher

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My wife decided to get a job when our youngest was ready to go to day care. She had some applications out and when she told me a day later she had a job I wasn't surprised.
What surprised me was her employer, a car dealership. Well she does accounting, she has been a receptionist, so surely she is doing one of those jobs. Nope, she is a saleswoman.

She was really good at it also, probably made the most money in three months that she ever made. But the stress of upselling people and seeing people come in who could not afford a car and still get qualified and leave with a car and a payment they could not afford finally did her in.

When it came time to buy me a car she went to the same dealership and let me walk around looking at what I liked. I eventually settled on two cars. A two door coupe with a hatch, and a four door sedan which were both in the same price range. I was good with either car at that point after driving them both. She went in then and aske the sales guy whom she had worked with before which one had the most play.
He then started to upsell her on the sedan and she shut him down right away. I felt so out of place as she negotiated with them. At one point she took the paper that the sales guy had that showed total price and payments and she wrote in big numbers what she wanted and told the guy to take it to the sales manager. It came back and he had changed the numbers and she changed them again which then came back with the manager's notes on it.

She then wrote "Final Offer" and sent another offer back. The sales guy came back and said we were good, then my wife said, "OK while you are doing the paperwork, we want to go grab a bite to eat."

The sales guy said, "well we don't have any more money in that car to send you to McDonalds."

We laughed and told him we did not need them to pay but we wanted the car detailed, prepped and the paperwork done so all we had to do was sign and drive when we got back.

We figured we got their best deal if they could not even afford McDonalds.
 

schmee

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Sounds like standard car plot procedure to me.
I once looked quickly at a Subaru iin the 90's.... never had looked at one.
The sales guy convinced me to drive it so I did. I told him once done that I just wasn't ready to buy. He convinced me to come in and "see how low $ it can be". OK, I bit the hook. After a half hour I finally said "That may be a great price, but No, I'm just not ready".
He got pissed off, followed me into the lot as I'm leaving, "you're wasting my time, it's people like you... blah blah blah.."
The rest of the sales staff is hanging around watching it with mouths agape. I thought for a minute we were going to fisticuffs....

So much for buying a Subaru! One sales guy came up to my car as I'm leaving and apologized saying "that guy is an #$%^*#"
 
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bgmacaw

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Back in the sales office, we ran some numbers. The deal wasn't good. They under-valued my trade by about 50% so I declined and decided to leave, but my car was nowhere to be found. They told me that they would have it brought around and then tried to sell me on the freaking SUV again only this time offered me about $5000 more on my trade-in towards the SUV.

I had enough of the place and asked where my car was again now that 10 minutes had passed. Again, they made a call to have it brought around while continuing to try and sell me the SUV. I stormed out and walked back to the shop to get my car, but the shop manager said that it left 20 minutes ago to be brought around. Nobody seemed to know where it was.

This story sounds oddly familiar...

 

Spox

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Sounds like standard car plot procedure to me.
I once looked quickly at a Subaru iin the 90's.... never had looked at one.
The sales guy convinced me to drive it so I did. I told him once done that I just wasn't ready to buy. He convinced me to come in and "see how low $ it can be". OK, I bit the hook. After a half hour I finally said "That may be a great price, but No, I'm just not ready".
He got pissed off, followed me into the lot as I'm leaving, "you're wasting my time, it's people like you... blah blah blah.."
The rest of the sales staff is hanging around watching it. I thought for a minute we were going to fisticuffs....

So much for buying a Subaru! One sales guy came up to my car as I'm leaving and apologized saying "that guy is an #$%^*#"
You should have looked him in the eye and said "U R A Bus".
 




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