Car shopping experience
Unfortunately, it’s all about the sale, not the customer
My son had recently had a car accident where thank God, he was fine but the car I had co-signed for was a total loss, leaving my son without a car to get to work or school. Therefore, last weekend my husband and I took him to our favorite place to buy fairly new cars with low miles and basically no haggling, Carmax. We found a perfect car, with all the bells and whistles that my son wanted, low miles and great finance options; however, they had to transfer it from another city. So in the meantime in my stubborn head, against my husband’s approval, I wanted to try to see if my son with his financial limitations can get approved for a new car at a local dealer. And that is where I went wrong.
It’s all about the sale
Car shopping can be a frustrating experience for a lot of people and mostly for us women and inexperience young drivers, unless you buy from a company such as Carmax as in my past experience they gave my family and I fair pricing, no haggling required and mostly, who else that I know, gives us 3 days to think about the car we just bought. **Disclaimer, I am not affiliated with Carmax, nor Am I receiving payment or kickbacks from Carmax. This is solely my personal opinion. Unless the sales person and/or the finance manager are friends or family of yours, there is a chance that you might leave the car dealership with regrets.
The Kiss up
Be prepared to find a new friend in your sales person and maybe even the finance manager, well, at least until you sign on the dotted line. When we first walked in to this particular dealership, who I will refrain from mentioning as I will not promote their business, the sales person that greeted us was very outgoing, very nice, offering us drinks and making us feel at home, I know what he was doing but for someone like my son, he probably was already thinking that this guy is great and will help us out. This guy really seemed genuine; he knew exactly what to ask my son in order to connect with him and that was through music. After a little chit chat, we explained my son’s financial obligations and situation which at this time, his answer was that he would not be able to help him. But then, a light bulb went off and he said, “wait, let me go talk to my manager and see what we can do for you, don’t worry, I will help you buddy”. Wait, buddy, he is our friend now.
It’s all a gimmick
The sales person came back after speaking with his sales manager, he came back excited, padded my son on the back and told him, buddy, we have one (1) car that we can get you into which you qualify for. My son happy that he qualified on his own, with no money down and new credit history and only a part time, he took us outside to see the car and to have my son test drive it. Ok, the car was not much, it was the bottom of the line of the particular model, manual windows, manual mirrors, a stereo, seats and that was it. Basically it was a new transportation car, but not what my son was looking for in a car and especially at the sticker price of this car. My son came back from test driving it and we went back into the salesroom, I thought we were going to discuss numbers but instead, we were led to the waiting room. I was not aware that they were already drawing up the paperwork for my son to sign.
After an hour of waiting, we were taken to the finance manager’s office, where, my son is given the paperwork to sign and only is told where to sign, I quickly glanced at the paperwork and saw the price of the car and the annual percentage rate and the monthly payments, not realizing that they had also added up a maintenance plan on a brand new car that supposedly has a warranty of 10 years. While my son is signing the documents, he asks the finance manager, can he upgrade the car as he doesn’t like the manual windows and manual mirrors, the as a red flag that he was not completely satisfied with the car he was buying and was feeling pressure to buy it. But the finance manager instead of picking up on the hesitation, he continued to feed my son papers to sign. And there is my regret, I was there to help my son make a wise purchase and I put him in a deal that he was not happy with. What have I done?
As soon as I got home, I did what I should have done prior to going to the dealer, went online to see what the true value of the car my son had purchased and I was shocked to learn that we overpaid by $3000.00. I didn’t even have the change to negotiate on behalf of my son. I was 51 years old and I allowed my son to make a very bad deal, he might have just gone alone to buy a car as I was apparently no help at all.
Re-negotiate the deal
The following day, I was so upset with myself, that I texted the salesperson and told him how I felt, that they took advantage of my son and I and that we were definitely not happy with the car we bought specially with the price we paid for a car that had nothing. Can you believe that instead of apologizing, our salesperson said, a deal is a deal and you we can’t take back the car, unless you sell back to us at a used price? I was appalled as the car had only increased by 20 miles. I ask anyone who owns a business, isn’t customer satisfaction priority? I was livid! I then proceeded to make a call to the sales manager to explain our situation and disappointment with their dealership. He was more sympathetic and told me to come see him, which we did the following day. Whether he was being real or not, he got my son out of the previous deal and into a car that my son liked with better financing options.
To Sales People….Do the right thing
Unfortunately, this experience made me realize that sometimes salesperson will do anything and everything to get a sale. Sales people will sometimes forget that doing the right thing is 10 times better than doing the wrong thing. Taking advantage of people will not get you repeat customers or will it get you new customers by referrals. Do the right thing, if you see that someone is about to get a bad deal, help them out.