Is it possible to give this auto dealership absolutely ZERO stars? I only wish someone had warned me to stay away before I walked through their doors and got ripped off.
I thought I did my homework; I researched the cars, looked up the values, and ratings on the Edmunds.com and KBB.com sites. Then, decided that my top three choice brands for a minivan were Honda, Toyota and Dodge (distant third). I was able to test drive all three types of vans at various Honda and Toyota dealers (no pressure, got out unscathed within minutes).
The Dodge Caravan I test drove at a Toyota dealer’s was a few years old and had a lot of miles in it. I wanted to test-drive a newer Dodge Grand Caravan to compare with the others. So, one bleak day, I found myself at the Bill Pierre Dodge dealership on Lake City Way.
I know the only way they got me to purchase the car from them is this: I felt intimidated and too tired to argue. I'm sure Bill Pierre Dodge's General Manager Roger Buton feels proud that he makes sales the "old fashioned way".
I only hope other people will learn from my mistakes:
Mistake #1: Didn’t do research on auto dealers. Nope. They are not all the same. Of course, most have “complaints” launched against them at one time or another; that’s the nature of the beast. But some have more complaints than others do and a few go unresolved. Check the Better Business Bureau at www.oregonandwesternwa.bbb.org/search.html
Mistake #2: Didn’t read books or sites dealing with auto dealers. I really thought auto dealers have given up playing the “Jedi” mind-tricks years ago; but, they’re certainly “staying alive” at the Bill Pierre dealership. The sales manager even asked me if I’ve seen the movie “Used Cars” (apparently a classic from the ‘70’s and required viewing at this dealership). Well, I guess it’s too bad I missed it.
Before you go to any auto dealership, check out: Car Buying Tips at www.carbuyingtips.com/scams.htm
Also worth a look: Washington State Department of Licensing, at www.dol.wa.gov/vs/dl-lic.htm
Click on: General Consumer Tips (quick info.); Vehicle Dealer & Manufacturer Manual (interesting reading on a gray, rainy day); Fair Dealer Newsletter (fun stuff about individual dealerships).
Buy from a bookstore or borrow from the library: “Smart Buyer's Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car” by Rik Paul (published by Consumer Reports). I actually borrowed this book, but returned it unread because of time constraints :(
Mistake #3: Didn’t read every piece of paper they literally waved at my face to sign. Duh! They wore me down after six hours. At that point, only Yoda would have had the presence of mind to read the fine print. And yes, they got away with charging me almost $1000 over the agreed-upon total purchase price.
Mistake #4: (see CarBuyingTips.com’s Top 10 Dealer Scams) Fell for the Forced Credit Application Scam, #10 on the list. I had a pre-approved auto loan from our credit union (yes, I did one thing right), but this dealership still REQUIRED a credit application to be filled out. The following day, I returned to the dealership with the check for the full purchase price, but they still got to keep the credit application. By the way, they lied and said they would shred it. Nope! It stays in their (oh for sure, VERY secure) filing system for five years. They also say that the Patriot Act required them to keep it. If your guts tell you the salesman or finance guy cannot be trusted with your personal information (SS#, for instance) then don't be afraid to get up and walk away!
Mistake #5: Initialed the little box on the purchase order that states: I waive my rights to the implied warranty. NEVER do this. Walk away from the dealership if they try to make you sign it.
Mistake #6: Walked through the Bill Pierre dealership doors. Only do so in an emergency, i.e. you need to use the restroom.