Stay. Away. Do not walk into this dealership. Honestly, the whole experience was a nightmare. You cannot make this stuff up. Here’s what happened:
1. Having an Expedition and an F250, my wife and I decided that we would add a fun little convertible to our driveway, and after reading several reviews, we decided on a used Mini Cooper. The vehicle would be for short errands and day road trips, getting around on weekends, and top-down, year-round enjoyment. We live in Texas, after all.
2. We were drawn to an advertisement for a red, 2006 Mini at AutoNation Lewisville. The price was right, and it came with an extended warranty. We called, made an appointment, and set out on the two-hour drive to the dealership. On the way we called to confirm our credit score. It was/is excellent, well over 700.
3. We arrived, filled out a credit application, and proceeded to get the round-robin treatment from the sales staff and sales managers. Literally, they’re all the same. Here’s how it worked/works with these people:
a. I made it clear that I didn’t want a payment over $280, and for no longer than 36 months. By the way, that comes to $10,080, which is not a bad return for the dealership on a car worth, at best, $6,500. My wife and I wanted to maintain cash flow, so we were more than happy to finance and pay the difference.
b. The salesman said he would go “see what he could do” and left to take the offer to his sales manager. We waited over 10 minutes.
c. The salesman returns with a counter-offer of $540 per month, for 48 months. I gently reminded him that I would not, under any circumstances, spend a dime over $280/month, for 36 months. I asked him why the figure was so high, and his response was something along the lines of ‘your credit score isn’t so good, financing isn’t cheap, interest, bank fees, etc.’
d. I suggested that we were in the wrong place and that my credit score was excellent. He then asked if I wanted to make a counter-offer. I said yes. I countered with $279/month for 36 months. He went away and over 10 minutes later a “sales manager” returned and began to lecture us on how the world works and what financing actually entails.
e. At this point I had had enough. I stood up and told him that I would not be taught life-lessons by a used car saleman, I stated that a $3,500+ profit was more than ample reward for his company’s time and, considering our credit score, I would happily go through my bank and purchase elsewhere. Rudely, he said fine and walked away.
f. My wife and I walked to our vehicle and began to drive away. The original salesman came running out, apologized profusely, begged us back in, and promised that we would no longer have to deal with that particular sales manager. Reluctantly we returned.
g. We sat down again, and the salesman said he would take our offer to his boss. Another 10 minutes later he returned, asking if we could put a down payment on the offer of $500. At this point I was outraged. I got up again, but then another sales manager came around the corner. He asked what the problem was, I explained – furiously explained – the situation to him. He asked us to please stay seated and he returned several minutes later saying that they were ready for us in Finance.
h. In finance we had to continue the haggling for what was close to an addition 45 minutes. It was ridiculous. But you know? At some point you no longer want to walk out. It becomes a matter of principal, pride, and determination. After several back and forth shenanigans, we agreed on $284/month – not my original terms, by my wife said “fine” out of irritation, signed the paperwork, and left. We had a shared feeling of bemused resignation, indignation, relief, and exasperation. Again, you cannot make this stuff up. And that’s how they do it. They beat you up until you finally agree to their terms. The relief you feel is something akin to Stockholm Syndrome, I am sure of it.
BUT THIS STORY ISN’T OVER YET.
4. We purchased the extended warranty. It wasn’t cheap, but we felt like the protection would be good to have on an 11 year-old vehicle. It came with a $200 deductible. Fair enough.
5. Two weeks later, the vehicle throws a power steering fan belt. The pump, pulley, and belt need to be replaced. I called AutoNation from the side of the road and asked for a wrecker and additional instructions. Since the vehicle was stalled in Mansfield, I was told a wrecker would be taking it to BMW of Arlington since it was the closest network dealer.
6. After two weeks, we were called and told the vehicle was ready. And to our surprise, we were told that the deductible was $400, not $200, since we went to an out of network dealership for repairs. That’s irritating, yes, but the worst part is yet to come:
Every time we called AutoNation Lewisville to get resolution, we were either A. hung up on, B. put on hold indefinitely, C. placed in a voicemail loop, or, finally, D. told by the finance department that it was our fault for going out of network. And when I reminded them that THEY TOLD ME WHERE THE CAR WAS GOING, THAT I DID NOT CHOOSE ANYTHING, I was told that they could do nothing for me. When I asked to speak to the GM, I was told he was too busy.
Here’s the deal, if you are a member of ISIS, have lousy credit and zero options due to no income and your status on the FBI’s Top Five Most Wanted List, AutoNation Lewisville may actually be your best bet. But I pray that is not the case. No one, and I mean no one, deserves this kind of treatment. I cannot stress this point enough, and I have actually left out about half of the indignities. Honestly, I have faced enemy combatants in the deserts of the Middle East that I wouldn’t subject to these people and the way they treat customers. And that IS NOT hyperbole.