We were within a few weeks of paying off our 2007 Nissan Quest and decided to drop by our local Honda dealership in San Marcos to take a look at the new Pilot. Their staff was friendly enough, but after having repeatedly told them we were not looking to buy, just trying to get an idea of a Pilot was right for us. What started as "just taking a look" turned into the stereotypical new car sales pitch, complete with "what number do we have to meet to get you in this car" and several rounds of "let me talk to my manager."
By the end of it all, we'd asked them to transport in a blue EL-X with rear entertainment (not in stock) and paid the $500 deposit. We didn't sleep well on the idea of jumping into another new car payment literally as soon as we paid off the Quest, though, so first thing the next morning (a Sunday), we emailed our salesperson and told them we wouldn't be purchasing after all, and understood that our deposit may be forfeit, but assuming it was to cover out-of-stock transfer fees, we were hopeful of getting a refund.
After no response back, we called them at their opening on Monday morning to confirm our cancellation and to make sure no one followed up on the transfer of a blue Pilot. We were told the deposit was non-refundable, but perhaps if we decided to purchase in the short-term, our $500 would still be applied to the price of the new car. Not totally unexpected, but still, they had done nothing to earn our money, and we let them know of our change of plans in plenty of time to avoid any cost on their side. We decided ultimately, it was our fault for allowing ourselves to be talked into making a deposit in the first place.
A few months later, we received an email from the salesperson, informing us of a $6000 incentive from the manufacturer off all 2013 Pilots for the purpose of clearing stock to make room for the 2014s. We were on vacation when the email was sent, but there was no mention of a timeframe on the incentive. Once we returned and saw the offer, we acted immediately. I drove there the next day to confirm they could get the model we wanted. Our salesperson was not working that day, so I explained the email to the attending salesman, who claimed no knowledge of any such incentive. After another "let me talk to my manager" I was told the manager had no idea what I was talking about either. They asked if I could show them the email, which I promptly did. "We have no idea what they were talking about, but we're glad to honor the original deal you worked out in April" was their final response.
I told them I would wait to hear what the salesperson who emailed us had to offer in explanation, and went home to research 2013 Pilot prices around other Austin-area dealerships. EVERY Austin dealership (Howdy, First Texas, Round Rock) and EVERY San Antonio Honda dealership delivered email quotations showing manufacturing incentives for 2013 Pilot clearance, all in excess of $5000. San Marcos emailed several days later to suggest the email was in regards to a "weekend only" sale that we missed while we were on vacation.
The Austin area dealerships had limited stock available and we wanted a color that would have to be trucked in from out-of-area. We were told that this would impact the amount of the incentive, to the tune of thousands of dollars, so we decided to shop at a dealership in San Antonio that had our model and color preference in stock. We chose Gunn based largely on our email interactions with internet salesman Al Cantu and their no-haggle approach.
I took a day off work and drove our minivan down to Gunn. The experience couldn't have been more polar-opposite than what we'd endured from San Marcos. There were no shady "back room" visits to talk things over with management. No pressure. No obligations. Pricing was exactly what we'd discussed via email.
At the end of the process, we got exactly the Pilot we wanted (Dark Amber EL-X with RES). In truth, San Marcos offered us $1300 more for our trade-in, but I was satisfied with the explanation we were given about the maintenance and repairs required on the Quest. Astoundingly, even after taking a $1300 loss on the trade vs San Marcos, we added several options (including running boards and the exterior protection plan with window tint) AND maxed out the warranty protection and still came in at $3000 less than the "deal" San Marcos was "willing to honor."
Al Cantu bent over backwards for us. He arranged a demo vehicle for us to drive while our options were being installed on the Pilot, and he even drove 50 miles to San Marcos to deliver the finished Pilot to my wife at her work the next day. He made the process totally painless. (THANKS AL!!!)
To top it all off, we went to the New Owner meeting and my wife ended up winning an emergency roadside kit and a free tank of gas.
I really hope San Marcos Honda spent our $500 well. They'll never see another penny from us, and we still came out well ahead by taking our business to Gunn. I can at least thank them for that.
I Recommend This Dealer:
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