Thursday, February 4, 2010

In which every used-car-dealer myth is confirmed

Dear Brent Brown Toyota

I would not say that our most recent car-buying experience was the worst ever. I would not even go so far as to accuse you of being the most dishonest dealer we've ever done business with (that honor still rests with the seller of the Pathfinder, who - among other things - gave us a falsified 'safety' inspection. Totally legal.)

In fact, at the mid-point of the transaction, I actually entertained the notion that we had purchased a vehicle with a minimal amount of hassle. In fact you even agreed to hold our trade-in vehicle so that Joe's mom could purchase/register it from you the next day, at the exact trade-in cost. That seemed like such a nice, human thing to do.

Then the lying began.

I suppose I can't actually accuse you of outright lies. It could be completely possible that someone arrived 2 hours later and fell in love with the Pathfinder and offered to buy it on the spot for MORE than the trade value. They might very well have been able to see past the salt-encrusted exterior to the lovely SUV that lay underneath. They could have been searching high and low for an interior that was equal parts microfiber and orange goldfish crumbs. It could have happened!

But I doubt it.

I understand that in the excitement of such eager buyers, you may have not found the time to return our phone calls. We appreciated the salesman's possibly-sexist refusal to speak to my mother-in-law in a civil manner. Old fashioned manners are so charming. When my husband actually had to drive to the dealership to track down the sales manager, he totally did not resent spending his last day of vacation explaining the importance of verbal agreements. I did appreciate the myriad of excuses you then gave for holding on to the Pathfinder. It gave us so much to choose from!

I do love choices.

When the Mystery Over-Eager Buyer failed to materialize, we were instead told that the car had so many problems that it had to be gotten rid of wholesale. In fact, you went so far as to have a mechanic perform a lengthy and thorough safety inspection after the dealership had closed and without disturbing the salt-crusting! Truly a miracle.

Of course we were interested in hearing the laundry-list of problems that had appeared in our beloved Pathfinder. Especially since my husband had just done a pretty good safety check of his own before we drove it 500 miles to St. George and back 2 days earlier. And especially since your own service manager had test-driven the car and found it worthy of a good trade-in value. Whew! I understand that you may have wished to shield us from any unpleasant news. Therefore your flat refusal to disclose any of the supposed $900 worth of repairs was completely warranted. In fact, this conversation...

"What exactly is wrong with the car?"

"We can't tell you."

"I'd like to know the problems it had."

"It doesn't concern you. But it won't pass safety."

"Who performed the inspection? I'd like his name."

"We can't tell you that. It really doesn't matter. Ummm... he's not even here right now. Yeah that's it..."

...totally didn't make us suspicious at all.

In all fairness, it was nice that you let us spend an entire afternoon taking the Pathfinder on one last trip, to get a different safety inspection at our own expense. Which amazingly turned up not one single problem. And you let my husband sit in the parking lot, not letting the Pathfinder out of his sight until the sales manager grudgingly signed all the papers so that my mother-in-law could finish the purchase of the car.

In conclusion, thank you for re-confirming that all my preconceived notions and gross generalizations of car dealers are completely validated. I will absolutely recommend that if anyone is considering buying a car from you, they should run screaming for the hills.

Yours etc...


Missy said...

DIRTBAGS!!!! I have sympathy steam coming from my ears.
dirt. bags.
Glad your mother-in-law was actually able to get the car though.

Liz said...

Despite all the advertisements and claims, used car dealers are all just the same. Maybe their degree of sleasiness differs a little, but I dread the idea of buying a car at all. At least we so completely destroy our old vehicles that a trade in is never possible. There's always some sucker in the family that wants it.

I'm glad Joe went down and bossed them. There has to be at least some degree of satisfaction there, even if it meant losing vacation time. Then again, maybe not

The Mathews Family said...

Holy cow there are so many things I want to say but am holding back....

Suffice it to say, my FIL is a friend of Brent Browns and I would still never buy a car from his dealership. I have never heard a positive story from someone who has just walked in off the street and used them.

I'm glad Joe didn't let them hassle you further. I'm sure they get away with it 100 times over. Seriously.
PS... One last thing. Did you know that Brent Brown and Keith Barton are brothers-in-law. Explains a lot. :o)

Kiersten said...

Way to stand your ground. So many sleezy companies get away with things because people aren't willing to stand up for themselves. I think that's awesome. Oh, and I have a funny story about Brent Brown Toyota. Back in my BYU days, my roommates and I were stopped at the light in front of Brent Brown, when we saw this lady ahead of us (on the other side of the intersection) whose car was smoking. She tried pulling over, but her car stopped. I jumped out to help her push. I was talking to her, and it turned out that it was a brand new car. As in she was driving off the lot when it broke down. Can you believe that? Well, after your experience, I'll bet you can!

Keith_and_Mary said...

Another lesson learned, right? When discussing "the 100 most respected professionals", guess who is at the bottom? Drum Roll......Car salesman....with a whopping 1% approval rating! It's a bit concerning to see that insurance salesmen, congressmen and paid escorts have a higher approval rating. 2010 may be the year that Congressmen take the bottom rating, but then that would be a whole new blog, wouldn't it?

Megan said...

SO, Very, Familiar! I'm not judging but the fact is... They are all going to hell.

Sarah said...

So what came of this? Those stinker pants. I heard they called you...