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Outraged Consumers: Car Dealer Complaints

Dealer Dissatisfaction


The Web is teeming with reports of (alleged) treacherous car dealership deceit—and when it comes to cars, consumers flip out if they feel misled, deceived, or outright conned. And with good reason: for many families, a car is the single most expensive possession they will buy, aside from perhaps a home.

It becomes a part of your daily routine for years, your life and career depend on it, and a “bad deal” can mean a loss of thousands of dollars. Plus, automobile ownership is a deeply ingrained part of the American dream.

Here we share some truly cringe-worthy stories: offensive sales reps, fresh vomit in the “courtesy” car, and just general incompetence. Hopefully the car dealer you visit will be more honest than these guys. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Deposit dishonesty?


Here’s a complaint posted by user “slk1” about Luxury Motors in Franklin Park, Ill. “I saw a Lexus at Luxury Motors. I even took it to my mechanic to check it out. We agreed on a price (I have the computer print out to prove it). The manager told me he would save me a trip, and I should send a deposit in online. The car would be ready in about 2 or 3 working days. I phoned the next day and left 4 messages for the manager, who never called me back. When I called 3 days later to see if the car was ready for pick up, the manager said he would check, but again never called me back. I finally called the finance department, and they checked and told me they sold the car to someone else. What a bunch of dishonest guys.....The manager couldn't even tell me they sold it....Of course he knew it. He took my deposit as a back up to a better offer.” So be warned: a deposit means nothing to a dishonest dealer. Photo Credit: jiazi

Throwing in “specials” you should get anyway


Here’s a complaint posted by user “vin692” about the Atlantic Hyundai dealership. “I just purchased a Santa Fe last week. This is the second vehicle I purchased at this dealership. I had no problems with the first car, but this time they really gave it to me. We agreed on a price ‘WITH THE TRADE IN’. They threw in the roof rail cross bars, a cargo net, and they were even nice enough to get me a 0% financing. Little did I know, I was supposed to get them anyway. After their expert mathematicians ran the final numbers, with confusing tactics using sticker prices, taxes, trade in, rebate, tags, fees, and more fees you never heard of, I realized that I paid the price of the car, PLUS the trade in. I was too late because I realized this after I left the dealer.”

This complaint reminds me of a story I heard about a Times Square electronics store that was allegedly charging extra for installing wonderful iPhone “special features” like e-mail access, Safari Web browsing—well, you know, the things that every iPhone comes with by default.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

More deposit woes


User “asc” writes this about the Nashua Audi dealership in New Hampshire: “If you deal with this dealer for a car, never put down any deposit. They use a tactic to sell that is not ethical or moral! I selected a pre-used certified car (2007 Audi A6) for purchase and signed the initial agreement with a $1000 deposit. The vehicle was available in the dealership and I did not order any special additions or service to the car. I decided 3 days later that I did not want the car, informed the dealership and requested my refund. They refused to return my deposit - I think they cannot hold my refund as I did not make them spend any money on the car or take the delivery of the vehicle.”

Actually, this situation sounds like the burden is at least somewhat on the buyer. An initial agreement was signed; the car was available—so why do they legally have to return the deposit? (Sure, it’d be nice if they did, though.)

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hideously rude, offensive sales


One customer, Nicole, alleges that she tried to cancel a lease within 72 hours of purchasing a vehicle from Advantage Nissan. The sales representative she spoke with allegedly called her “white trash and a b**ch” before proceeding to threaten her brother.

Interestingly, this dealership has other negative online complaints lodged against it: “This was the MOST UNPROFESSIONAL experience of my life. These folks should be out of business!!” Joseph wrote.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Courtesy car” with vomit and trash included!


If “Last Stand Eddie” is to be believed, then the Ziegler Chrysler dealership in Schaumburg, Ill. is very good at delivering filthy rides. He alleges: “Of the 17 cars I have purchased, the service at this place is the absolute worst. The purchasing process was flawless. The sales team [was] great. I purchased an extended warranty for interior and exterior upkeep (is the fish hook still in my mouth). When I went to pick up the car, they could not find it.

When they did, the car was delivered covered with dirt. I complained and received a free rinse and an apology. I took the car in for the first service. The service desk was more interested in the Bears than checking me in. I stood directly in front of two clerks and did not even get a nod as they talked football. It took them overnight to change the oil; the car was delivered dirty. They took 3 days to install fog lights and gave me a courtesy car with vomit and trash in it (I took a cab home and left it there).”

I love surprises. Like, for example, when a dealership gives you a complimentary cup of espresso—not when the loaner car is filled with vomit and garbage… but that’s just me.

Photo Credit: Dr. Keats

Complimentary nail in the tire!


User “MarCoo” posted about his lovely experience with the Town and Country Ford dealership. He alleges: “I traded with Town and Country Ford for a 2008 F150 Super Crew Cab pick-up. The truck was still under warranty (barely) and had a sticker claiming a 120 point vehicle inspection. I closed late in the evening and went home. The next day the low tire light was on. I went back to the dealer who put it on the rack but only re-inflated the right rear tire. Four days later it was low again (very slow leak) so I took it to my neighborhood garage to have it checked. They not only found a small nail on the inside of this tire but noticed that the right front was a lot wider then the other three. I went back to the dealer and got a promise of four matching ‘proper sized’ tires. Still waiting a month later with no tires in sight. I feel like a man in a tux with muddy work boots. $23,000+ for a miss-matched set of tires.”

Maybe they were just testing your safety instincts with that small nail… for your convenience. You passed the test! Photo Credit: Getty Images

Laughter is not the best medicine


This one’s from the Sunshine State. Barrett alleges that Capitol City Imports in Tallahassee screwed him over: “My fiance and I recently bought a 2001 corvette from the above listed business. David the owner completed the transaction. I asked David during the transaction whether or not the car had been hit and if it had been well cared for. He stated that the car had never been in an accident. We purchased the car based on his word. Several weeks later we decided we might want to trade the corvette at another dealer. At that time the dealer informed us that the car had an accident listed on the CarFax. When we approached Capital City Imports we were treated with disregard, laughed at. The owner admits to selling the car as accident free. He refuses to refund any money or take the car back.”

Always nice to find a businessperson with a sense of humor. Misrepresenting a damaged, potentially unsafe vehicle to a couple? HILARIOUS.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Don’t worry about those frivolous seatbelts…


“Snazzychik” alleges that safety takes a backseat to making the sale at Schererville Auto Center in Indiana: “Went to test drive vehicle at their lot in scheriville. Salesman had to fill up one of the tires before I could test drive vehicle, and also jump start battery. I was told that all cars have leaky tires and there are nothing wrong with these. When I got in the vehicle to test drive it, the seat belt would stay latched into the locking mechanism. The salesman told me that all seatbelts are under warranty from the dealer, and I should take it to the dealer (Cadillac) AFTER I purchased the car. I refused to drive the car without a working seat belt. The salesman told me that he would drive the car, and I could sit in the passengers seat. I refused and left the lot. Very very scary place to buy a car from!!!”

Oh, come on, Snazzychik. When has a seatbelt ever actually helped anybody? Photo Credit: juandesant

Share your story


According to the Better Business Bureau’s stats as posted on Insider Car Secrets, a site dedicated to informing car buyers, “automobile dealers get more complaints than any other type of business.” 23,729 complaints across the nation.

So... If you have come across a dishonest car dealership, you obviously aren’t alone. Share your story with us on our Facebook page or in the comments section.

This is your chance to shame the shameless.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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