On May 5, we went to Carousel Motors to look at a 2006 Mazda 3 that I found at autotrader.com. On Saturday, May 7, we returned to purchase it if we could work out a deal. We got a deal done with the salesman, and then went to Josh’s (the Finance and Insurance manager) office. Ok, here I let my guard down when Josh told us the salesman had “made a mistake”, and the interest rate had to rise. He got me to sign for a different deal than we’d made with the salesman. Anyway, we drove the car home.
On Wednesday, May 11, while in Des Moines, Iowa on business, I called home to check in with my son. He told me that Carousel Motors called, then played the message for me. It was Josh, the F & I guy, asking me to return his call. I called him from Des Moines Thursday morning (May 12). He asked if we could “do me a little favor” (direct quote) and come back to Iowa City to sign some new paperwork. I told him the soonest that we could drive there was late Friday afternoon. At this point I’m suspicious of the “yo-yo financing” scam.
On Friday, May 13, we headed back to Carousel Motors after work. On the way down I called Josh, telling him that we might be late. This was a problem because he told us we needed to go directly to the University of Iowa Credit Union, who was doing the financing. They were expecting us to come in to sign new loan paperwork. Josh’s response was that if we couldn’t get there on time we would have to write a check for the purchase price of the car, because he had to get this deal closed and funded. I also told Josh that I was uncomfortable with signing new paperwork with the U of I Credit Union when I had already signed an installment purchase agreement with Carousel Motors. His reply was that once we signed the new paperwork that this document became null and void. At this point, not trusting anything that wasn’t in writing, I asked if he was willing to write “null and void” on the installment purchase agreement and to sign off on it. Yes, he would do this. Next, I called the U of I Credit Union. They had never heard of us, didn’t know anything about any paperwork, and that they never had Carousel Motors customers go directly to them to fill out loan paperwork.
When we arrived at Carousel Motors, Josh had great news for us: He had called the U of I Credit Union, and they had someone fill out the paperwork and over to the dealership. (Note that I had talked to the credit union 5 minutes before this, and they didn’t know who I was. I told Josh that I was amazed at this; when did they get it here? His response was “Thirty seconds before you walked in”.
We went to Josh’s office. First, we all signed off declaring the installment purchase agreement to be null and void. Next, he want to finish signing the title over to us. I said no, I want to look at the loan paperwork first. He promised us that once we signed this (a credit union loan application) that we were “locked in to our interest rate”. After looking through this for a bit I asked to talk in private with my wife. When Josh came back into the office, we informed him that we knew he was trying to scam us. I asked him how it was that the U of I Credit Union had delivered the documents for us to sign 30 seconds before we got there when they didn’t know who we were? He responded that of course they didn’t know us; we hadn’t filled out the paperwork yet. (Remember—this was the paperwork that the credit union had just “delivered”.) When we got up to leave, my wife asked for our down payment check back. Josh’s response was “That ain’t gonna happen!” We told him that we had put a stop payment on that check this morning, just in case I was right and they were scamming us. At this point we left.
I wrote out the long version of this so you can compare the facts to the email that Pat Lind, the general manager of Carousel Motors, sent my wife the next week. The following is a cut and paste of his entire email, typos and all:
In thirty years of selling cars I have come across a few rotten apples but you and your husband take the prize. I knew something was wrong when you two avoided us for a week.Your bank told us you stopped payment on your down payment check on the 10th.Funny your husband continued to tell Josh every thing was fine you were just too busy to come in.
I was ready to just write this episode off to experience until I got your nasty note.Please contact the BBB or anybody else you can think of because I am anxious to get all the details out.Check with your Lawyer and ask if stopping payment on titled property is a problem.Ask your Lawyer the legal description of "Conversion" .
To think that people like you have anything to do with education is very concerning.
Patrick Lind, General Manager
Of course, Carousel Motors is NOT a member of the Better Business Bureau. Now I see why.