My Review Of Freeman Toyota Scion:
If you're like me and if you don't buy a car every day, you expect some amount of help from your dealer. Of course, you can still consult some documentation, reviews, websites, blogs, etc; sometimes, your questions are not answered by manuals, websites, reviews or blogs. This is why you probably won't buy a car on Amazon like any other commodity, but will speak to a dealer and try to figure out whether the car you dreamt about is really going to suit you.
In that instance, buying a car becomes a "trust" relationship between you and the dealer you are speaking to. The level of trust you will place in a dealer depends on his ability to answer clearly and correctly to questions you know the answers and then to its assurance when he's giving you the details of matters you don't know. At that point, all legal rules, directives and requirements become almost secondary and you feel satisfied that your questions have found a reasonable outcome. This is also the experience I had when I bought my Toyota RAV4 at Freeman's in April 2011; except that:
My wife and I came from Switzerland last year and needed to buy a car. Our intention's always been to stay in the US for a max of two years. At the time we bought our RAV4, we knew we would bring it back with us; I had already checked with the Swiss "DMV" that this would not be a too difficult task to have the car registered in Switzerland.
Before we inquired Freeman, we spent numerous hours on the internet trying to figure out what car was the best for us and then decided that we would go for a RAV4. As a matter of convenience, we wanted to have the satellite navigation installed. We went to the dealership and had a chat with the salesman. We exposed clearly our situation and the fact that we would be going back to Switzerland after 2 years and that we were concern if any part of the vehicle or its devices would be compatible with the European standards; he did not make any comments regarding these questions and confirmed that we would just need to buy a GPS DVD for Europe. We came back home that evening with our opinion almost made. The week after, we phoned the salesman and confirmed that we would be happy to buy that car.
Now, it's time to pack; my car is going to be shipped in less than 2 weeks. Candidly, I consulted the internet to find the way to buy that GPS DVD and found on the Toyota Europe website the list of DVDs that are available; however, I noticed also a disclaimer that advised me that European DVDs aren't compatible with cars sold in the US. It sounds like someone did not inform me correctly. On top of that, this limitation is never/nowhere mentioned in the car manuals or on the Toyota US website.
My first reaction was to phone Freeman; I got in contact with the General sales manager who took the time to answer my call and listen to my concern. As a matter of fact, this was the first time he was reported such a situation and wanted some time a) to make some research and b) to have a discussion with the salesman. We agreed he would call back. 2 business days and a weekend later, I took the phone to hear from him. He reported: "I discussed with the salesman who remembered you had a discussion about the Bluetooth, but nothing about the sat nav; based on his records and the time I have been knowing him, I have to trust him. I cannot do anything for you." End of story; in other words, I do not say the truth, i.e. I lie. It sounds like he's just found an easy escape not to face his responsibilities!
As you can imagine, I haven't had a good experience with Freeman. I tried through Toyota US, but their reaction was the same. When I said at the beginning of my story that buying a car was in most cases a "trust" relationship, I feel now like I have been betrayed. I feel utterly betrayed to have been told what it sounded the right thing to tell me in order to sell the car; I feel utterly betrayed to be told now that I lied, when, last year, I placed my trust in a salesman. I feel angry against the Toyota US, which told me that "Toyota does not recommend exporting cars and cannot do anything for you." This is not what you are told when you purchase a car after expressively inquiring about that; this is not what you read in the car manuals. On purpose, or not, I was given some incorrect information that lead me to buy a car that I would have not if I had been better informed. This cannot be considered as "fair business".
Now, I do not know how I am going to modify the car, to the extent it's possible and how much it will cost me. I do nevertheless feel that it would have probably been peanuts for Freeman, surely nothing for Toyota US.
I hope the above will help anybody purchasing a car at Freeman (or elsewhere) to avoid being caught in such a situation. Maybe the key is to take minutes or records of the discussions/negotiations in order to have the dealerships face their responsibilities.
There is one thing rather sure today: it was my first Toyota, and the last one!
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