June 6, 2013

My Horrible Car Dealer Experience and how you can Avoid the Same

Despite the fact that buying a new car is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, this is something the majority of people dread. Regardless of how many cars you have purchased in the past, which dealership you visit, and how much research you complete, there is always the chance for a disaster.

A couple years back, I went through the worst car buying experience of my life. Although I had purchased several vehicles before this (and one after), it was by far the worst time I ever had.

Started with a Strange Test Drive

Do you know how most car salesmen wait for you to get into the dealership showroom, after the test drive, to start with the hard sell? Well, this began when I was driving the car and trying to determine if it was the right one for me.

For some reason, the salesman began to “work me over” from the moment we hit the open road. Isn’t this the best car in its class? Doesn’t it drive better than the one you are trading in? Wait until you see what type of deal I can get you.

Everything he said was strange. Everything he said came out wrong. In fact, it was so strange that I was ready to cut the drive short as a means of getting back to the dealership sooner rather than later.

Since I had my eye on the vehicle for a few weeks and enjoyed the way it drove, I decide to move forward with the negotiation process, despite the strange start.

Hello, I am the Manager Here

It is bad enough to negotiate with a car salesman, especially the one I was stuck with. The only thing worse is when the salesman brings out the manager to “close the deal.”

Just the way you would imagine, the manger strolled out from his office and said, “Hello, I am the manager here. What can we do to put you in this car today?”

I gave him the number I was looking for, which led to a little bit of laughter between the two of them. Kind of like you would expect out of some high school girls.

He explained the deal was not possible at that price, but that I should continue to negotiate with the salesman.

I regret not walking out at this point.

Three Hours Later…

This sounds crazy, but I stuck around for roughly three hours hashing out the details of the deal. From the price of the car to the value of my trade, the salesman and manager contested everything I said.

But guess what? When everything was said and done, I got the deal I asked for three hours prior. I guess this was an attempt to “break me down” in hopes that I would overpay.

Onto the Financing Manager

I thought this was going to be the easy part. Nope. I once again realized why this dealership is one of the worst in my area:

  • The finance manager did his best to add anything possible to the overall cost of the car, from an extended warranty to gap coverage and much more. There is nothing wrong with asking, but he was downright pushy.
  • He blamed paperwork mistakes on the salesman, even going as far as to call him a “moron.” Talk about uncomfortable.

Why did I move Forward?

It has been a couple years, and I still wonder what I was thinking. I could have walked out so many times, but for one reason or the next I stuck around.

There were a couple of reasons for this:

  • I knew I could get the price I wanted, thanks to plenty of research completed upfront
  • The dealer had the exact car I was looking for, from the color to the options

How to Report a Bad Car Dealership

There are a couple things you can do if you want to report a bad car dealership. This may not do anything for you since the deal is complete, but it can save others from a similar experience in the future.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Report the dealership to your state’s attorney general office
  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
  • Contact the manufacturer to find out who is in charge of overseeing dealer’s in your area
  • Do whatever it takes to get in touch with the owner (he or she may be surprised at how you were treated)

Final Thoughts

If you are lucky, you will never have to deal with an experience as bad as this one. However, if you find yourself in this unenviable position, don’t be shy about walking out and going elsewhere to make a deal. Sometimes I still wish I had done so.

And remember, if the experience was beyond horrible you should report the dealership to the appropriate parties.

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