Car dealer questionable business practices

boris bubbanov

Tele Axpert
Ad Free Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Posts
56,155
Location
New Orleans, LA + in the
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.
I am sorry you lost precious time like that. Please believe the guys who tell you, just don't inflict pain on yourself right now - in most instances the Inventory just does not exist. You're not in an emergency type of situation. We've just got to sit tight and let the market come back to us.
 

Chud

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Posts
9,320
Location
New York City
Not a good time to buy a new or used car. Supply is still super low for both new and used vehicles due to ABC and XYZ we shall not name, demand is high because people still want/need new and used cars, and of course current inflation adds another DEFG to the equation. We originally went to the Jeep dealer we'd gotten our previous one from, but they didn't have squat in stock that wasn't bare bones options, and we experienced the same sort of bait and switch etc hard sell tactics

We got lucky on a new floor model Jeep at a different Jeep dealer (after going to four or five more dealers) that ticked all of our boxes in a new model, and we somehow walked away with more Jeep than our previous one with a similar payment. The experience was totally different with this dealer from the moment we walked in to the moment we left, so there are some out there who still do it "as right" as they can. You just have to go to five or six to find one. Lol
 

Timbresmith1

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Posts
3,368
Location
Central TX
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.
Same reason I go to the dmv 15 minutes before they close
 

CharlieO

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Posts
3,185
Location
Sarasota, FL
I never buy a car from a local dealer. I am thoroughly disgusted with their typical business model and do not want to deal with salespeople who know less about the product than I do, sales managers and finance people who want me to play their stupid games, and limited local inventory. I shop online, where I can usually find the exact car that I want in about 15 minutes. I can send an offer at 2 AM if that is what works for me, and get a response from the online salesperson within a few hours.

I live in Florida, and my most recent car purchases came from dealers in Michigan, Texas, Missouri and New York. They load 'em on a truck and drop them off outside our gate. On each purchase, even after the cost of shipping I saved between $2000 and $4000 when compared to what I would had to pay if I had bought from a local dealer.
 
Last edited:

Fredhead59

TDPRI Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Posts
72
Age
63
Location
Greer,SC
Worked as a mechanic for years at dealerships. The sales staff would joke about their sales ploys when they were in the garage. I learned a lot which taught me to throw their sales BS back at them when I (rarely) bought a new car.
My wife and I don't buy any vehicles on-line. Like Carvana brings you the vehicle. Okay,great. But there's a chance you're not going to jell with what just got delivered to your house.
I worked at a company that did R&D for major worldwide vehicle/tire companies. One of the advantages was the different new model vehicles we had for testing. Some were prototypes (like the Cadillac Blackwing. Corvette sub-frame,Cadillac CTS body,six speed manual,and a 850 to engine. This was in 2007),some were production. My boss and I were glad when the first run Pacificas came in. After driving one we changed our mind about buying one.
When a trip to the dealer happens it's hilarious how they swarm out like vultures at a roadkill. First thing I tell them is leave me alone to look. If I have questions I'll call you over. If something interests me the fun starts. Right off the salesperson is told I don't want to be here for hours. Give me your best price and then we can haggle. If the price can't be agreed upon I leave. If the salesperson keeps hanging around me I leave. One time I had cash to buy a new car. Salesman wouldn't leave me alone. So I tell him let's go inside. He thinks he getting a sale. I tell the sales manager the dealership just lost a sale because the sales guy wouldn't leave me alone. After telling them I'm taking my cash and going to another dealer they're stammering to get my business. I ignore them and leave.
 

RogerC

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Posts
7,972
Location
Oklamerica
It's for reasons like all of these and the now popular "market adjustment" pricing (taking it upon themselves to increase the price of the new car because of the shortages) that independent new car dealerships aren't much longer for this world. I know Ford, for example, was threatening to pull dealerships for marking up the sticker prices. Tesla and the other electric companies have set a model that the other big companies are taking notice of.
 

CharlieO

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Posts
3,185
Location
Sarasota, FL
Here is another questionable sales tactic that I experienced many years ago. I was a stockbroker in the '80s and early '90s. On weekends I didn't necessarily look like a stockbroker, and I drove a 15 year old Volkswagen Beetle convertible as my "toy" car. I wanted to upgrade my toy and thought that I wanted a Mustang GT convertible. One of the local Ford dealers had a used one advertised for about $18,000, so I drove out on Saturday afternoon to take a look and possibly buy it.

I got to the dealer and the Mustang was on display right in front of the showroom. I parked my VW and walked up to the car to check it out. I inspected the exterior, got inside and adjusted the seat, and did the things that most people do when they are interested in a car. No salesman came out to greet me. I saw a salesman go out to greet someone who had arrived after I did, who was interested in a different car. After at least 10 minutes I flagged down a salesman and told him that no one had helped me, and that I was interested in the car and would like to test drive it. The first thing out of his mouth was "How do you intend to pay for it?" That was it. He was done. He was too stupid to figure that it was possible that I was making well into six figures a year and of course couldn't know that I had just taken 50k+ in options trading profit the day before.

No sale.
 
Last edited:

CharlieO

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Posts
3,185
Location
Sarasota, FL
The Beetle was the better car anyway…😁
True. I owned seven of them. I used to buy Beetle convertibles cheap from young girls who couldn’t maintain them. I’d fix them up and find another young girl to buy it two or three months later. I got the fun of driving them for a while, met a few cute girls, and always made a decent profit.
 
Last edited:

Cpb2020

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Posts
589
Age
49
Location
New York
About 6 years ago I test drove a new car on a Friday eve, struck a decent enough deal (recognizing that the salesman needs to eat too), left a deposit, came back the next day with insurance in hand and a bank check for the balance.

No one could find the car. First they tell me it is just being prepped / washed. Then that maybe the owner took it home for the eve. After an hour, when I’m getting increasingly frustrated and trying to get an answer, another salesman tells me in a hushed tone that they sold it the night before to someone else that would finance through them, and who would pay $500 more, and they were on the phone in the back trying to make a trade with another dealership to get me an equivalent car but we’re having a tough time finding the color (I didn’t care about the color).

I left, after getting my deposit back, not because they sold the car out from underneath me, but because of the lies that they were telling me to try to get me to stick around.
 

Painter644

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 6, 2022
Posts
186
Age
74
Location
Delaware
True. I owned seven of them. I used to buy Beetle convertibles cheap from young girls who couldn’t maintain them. I’d fix them up and find another young girl to buy it two or three months later. I got the fun of driving them for a while, met a few cute girls, and always made a decent profit.
I had 2 Beetles, a Ghia, and a Squareback before moving to water-cooled. I loved how simple they were to maintain and repair - all one needed was John Muir’s paperback book…! Plus, the parts were available everywhere! I want one now but have been priced out of that market😣
 

Painter644

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 6, 2022
Posts
186
Age
74
Location
Delaware
I learned to drive on a 1966 VW Beetle that my mother owned at the time. I even transported equipment we used with the summer band I was in during college in the back...
Fold down the rear seat back, clip the strap on the back seat bottom, and there was quite a bit of space back there. They just made sense.
 

teleplayr

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Posts
2,104
Location
Nicoma Park, Oklahoma
Went to a used lot that was a lot of a major retailer.

I told the salesman what I wanted and they didn't have anything I was interested in. I told him what style, makes and models I was interested in.

Went to another dealer and found a decent program car and bought it. The first salesman calls me and try to sell me a car that was nothing like I described to him that I was looking for.

I explained to him that I told him during my visit what I wanted and what he had was nothing even close. Then I finally told him that I found what I was looking for and thanks for nothing.
 

CharlieO

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Posts
3,185
Location
Sarasota, FL
Went to a used lot that was a lot of a major retailer.

I told the salesman what I wanted and they didn't have anything I was interested in. I told him what style, makes and models I was interested in.

Went to another dealer and found a decent program car and bought it. The first salesman calls me and try to sell me a car that was nothing like I described to him that I was looking for.

I explained to him that I told him during my visit what I wanted and what he had was nothing even close. Then I finally told him that I found what I was looking for and thanks for nothing.
I have had that happen at two different dealers here in the past couple of years. I told the salesman in very specific detail what I wanted, and for the next few days I was hit with numerous phone calls from the salesman, trying to sell me something that wasn't even close to what I wanted. The calls continued even after I told the salesperson to stop. I suppose that these were rookie salespeople who were just following orders from their manager. In both cases I told them that because of the harassment I would never buy from their dealership, even if they had exactly the car that I was looking for.
 

Guitarzan

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 28, 2006
Posts
7,701
Location
Hotlanta, GA
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.
It is in fact really hard to know what they pay and what they earn. None of the pricing, dealer incentive plan, floor plan/trust financing terms are clear and transparent. The dealers and individual sales reps may earn points, spiffs, rebates, and other incentives from the manufacturers on everything they sell.

The other reality is the dealers are not focused on making money on units sales as much as they are on parts, regular repair services, and a body shop.
 

Nightclub Dwight

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Posts
2,630
Location
Pittsburgh
We bought our Honda Fit four and a half years ago when Honda was offering practically free money with miniscule interest rates. I was genuinely worried when they took our trade-in out for a test drive because I limped it in there with virtually no brakes.

In our family my partner makes most of the money, I'm just her eye candy who cooks dinner and cuts the lawn. I was clear that they would have to convince her with the numbers, not me. But none the less, they all talked to me, practically ignoring her. We were getting a good laugh out of it. We had done out homework and knew what we wanted and what we wanted to pay.

We got the numbers down reasonably close to what we wanted to spend. We already knew the Honda special interest rate was better than what our credit union was offering, so they prepared some financing worksheets showing various monthly payments. This is where they shot themselves in the foot. They kept saying that those advertised rates were only for the highest tier of buyers with impeccable credit, so the worksheets they showed us reflected a significantly higher interest rate and monthly payment than we wanted. They kept screwing around and wouldn't listen to us.

We had been saving up for several years, so we had enough cash to just about pay for the car if we wanted to. Since the worksheets all showed higher interest rates and monthly payments than we wanted, my partner told them we'd put a significant amount of cash down in order to get the payments to where we wanted. At that point they ran our credit and saw that we did in fact qualify for the very favorable interest rate.

In the end they made a modest profit on the sales price, but we were very happy with price we paid. They made practically nothing on the financing since we put so much money down. As we were waiting for them to bring the new car around, the GM admitted that our trade-in was going straight to auction since it had practically no value left to it, so the five hundred bucks that they gave us for that was very fair.

If they had just listened to us from the get go we would have financed a lot more of the cost. And if they had aimed their sales pitch at my partner, instead of me, they might have sold a little more car than what I would agree to.
 

CharlieO

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Posts
3,185
Location
Sarasota, FL
We bought our Honda Fit four and a half years ago when Honda was offering practically free money with miniscule interest rates. I was genuinely worried when they took our trade-in out for a test drive because I limped it in there with virtually no brakes.

In our family my partner makes most of the money, I'm just her eye candy who cooks dinner and cuts the lawn. I was clear that they would have to convince her with the numbers, not me. But none the less, they all talked to me, practically ignoring her. We were getting a good laugh out of it. We had done out homework and knew what we wanted and what we wanted to pay.

We got the numbers down reasonably close to what we wanted to spend. We already knew the Honda special interest rate was better than what our credit union was offering, so they prepared some financing worksheets showing various monthly payments. This is where they shot themselves in the foot. They kept saying that those advertised rates were only for the highest tier of buyers with impeccable credit, so the worksheets they showed us reflected a significantly higher interest rate and monthly payment than we wanted. They kept screwing around and wouldn't listen to us.
Dealer finance people really piss me off. For the past 20-plus years I have almost always paid cash for my cars, but when interest rates were ridiculously low it made sense to borrow, especially when buying a more expensive car. I was pretty interested in a $40,000 Corvette and had talked price with the salesman. He took me in to meet with their finance guy, who immediately tossed out a loan with 5.99 percentage rate. No discussion of my credit score, 5.99 percent was the rate. At the time, local banks were offering 2.99 on used cars. I may look stupid, but I am not. If that’s they way they want to play, I’m not buying.

A similar thing happened when I bought my Certified Used Cadillac. GM was advertising 2.99 percent financing on certified vehicles. The dealer‘s finance guy offered something higher than 5 percent, without even checking my credit. I asked him about the GM Certified financing, and he denied that it existed. I said “Are you sure?” And he denied it again. I then pointed him to the dealer‘s own web site, where it was prominently displayed on their home page. I got the rate I wanted.
 

DanglingNutslots

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Posts
210
Location
Canada
Last two new cars I leased took less than ten minutes over the phone. I shop, test drive, etc. locally, give the local first crack as I walk away, leaving my phone number for a best and final price. Don't want to sit in your cubicle, eat your popcorn, do the sales manager walk in dance, nothing.

The local dealerships are a monopoly, mostly owned by one person. They are notoriously high, counting on stupid people as the business model. The guy is stupid rich. After giving the exact model, color, options to a more competitive dealer a hundred miles away, deal is done in 10 minutes. Saved at least two grand each time.
This is surprisingly true. I live in a large city and the 30 or so largest dealerships are owned by two people.
 
Last edited:

SlimGrady

Tele-Meister
Joined
Aug 28, 2021
Posts
116
Age
25
Location
Kentucky
This is a horrifying thread to read. I actually am in car sales myself and feel quite weird to even divulge that information. However, allow me to add I have not been in the business long and only been at one dealership and in just a couple years have worked up to sales manager at said dealership. We are small town and rely solely on repeat business and word of mouth advertising. Our one goal is to always put the customer first and read the situation, there are customers who do know more than our sales people and some that need help knowing which vehicle will include that features they want. All ends of the spectrum but ultimately we are here to serve the customer, not waste time, not jack somebody around, and certainly not to lie and B&S ( we have plenty of dealers around us to handle those things). My point in saying this is not to defend all dealerships but to shed light on the practices of a small town dealership that are still out there and want to sell you cars for the next 30 years, not just one.
 




Top