On November 1st, 2013 I walked into Carport Sales and Leasing in Winter Park, Florida, with the intention of looking at and possibly leasing a Ford Fusion SE 2008 for $6489.00 that I'd seen on Craigslist and Cars.com. Several days later the management at the dealership managed to get me approved for a loan, and we agreed for me to finance the car for $11,764.50 total. I understood that the price of the car, including interest and tax, would be $11,764.50.
The accountant, John, refused to give me copies of the contracts for what ever the reason. I asked him several times for the contract and he stated I would get them later. Feeling uncomfortable about the deal, I called the bank that agreed to finance the car and they stated they'd be willing to pull back as long as the dealership consented, because the loan had not went through yet. I called John and told him what was said and he told me he'd see what he could do. A couple days later the loan went through and John tells me he was unable to get in touch with the bank. However the bank tells me he never attempted to reach them. John also proceeded to say that the people I speak to at the bank are different from the ones he deals with. The woman at the bank told me that's not true, and that she deals with the dealership directly...
About 4 days later they had the car detailed and supposedly inspected by their mechanic. Once I started driving the car I realize that there was a lot of play in the steering wheel and as I tried to do a u-turn, I almost drove into a pole. I took the car back to the dealership and told them there was a bit of play in the steering wheel and that I'd had an issue when I performed a u-turn. Both Mr.Bridwell and John told me I wasn't making any sense, and that the car was "completely safe to drive". Mr.Bridwell then proceeds to tell me "you're a girl so you don't know anything about mechanics". Then follows up and says I can take it to a mechanic and I will see that there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.
So I take the car to see a mechanic, who tells me the play in the wheel is due to leaking in both the right and left axles; the pinion is also damaged and needs to be replaced. He said the car had to have been in a severe accident, and the owner never had it properly fixed. He also showed me that my tires are starting to lean inward, which is dangerous. In all the car needs to be repaired because the chances of me losing control is high, hens my trouble in making a u-turn. Therefore the vehicle is unsafe to drive.
After hearing this I take my car back to the dealership, estimate in hand, and tell them my issues with the car. John threw his hands up and said said he didn't want to see the estimate and that it wasn't his problem. He later stated that the mechanic was lying and just wanted to take advantage of me.
Now, several of my visits back to the dealership were with a male friend who was more experienced with cars than myself. However after my frustrations, John left me a voicemail offering to help only if I came back to the dealership by myself, which made me very uncomfortable.
John and Mr. Bridwell did a good job of keeping me at bay. I didn't receive the car nor the copies of the contract, until Nov. 13, 2013. Once I'd realized what was wrong with the car, my 30 days on contract were nearly up and although I didn't have the vehicle for a full 30 days, the contract stated that I'd signed off on it on the 1st. John had told me to put the Nov. 1st down the day that I signed, and now I understand why. It was because he knew that after 30 days, legally his dealership would no longer be obligated to the car nor to dealing with me.
Carport Sales and Leasing took advantage of the fact that I was a first time car buyer unfamiliar with the way things work when closing a sale. I'm now paying 4 times what the car is worth, as now that I have copies of the contract I see that they got me for $21,678.55, with an interest of about 23.4%, with $2500.00 down, cash. I also have $1396.70 in damages that need to be repaired in order for the car to be safe for me to drive.
They were very manipulative and spoke to me as if I was just some dumb girl that needed a car. Although they say they've tried their best to help me and that they stand behind their cars, that clearly isn't true or else they would have had the car fixed, especially considering they'd supposedly "had it inspected". They were all clearly aware of the condition of the car and that's why they worked so hard to finalize the sale.
I'm a full time student working part-time, and just moved to Florida. I'd only been here about 2 days when I first approached the dealership. If you are a first time car buyer or even an experienced car buyer, I wouldn't recommend buying a car from this dealership. They will take advantage of your need to purchase a vehicle, and use that to their advantage. John said to me several times, "well I know you need a car and with your credit, no one else is going to give you one."
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