Don't be fooled by the stock and volume that this dealership offers. I wish I could say otherwise, but my experience with Milton Ruben used vehicles is possibly the worst car-buying experience I have ever had. I will attempt to be as precise and complete with my description as possible in order to prevent anyone else from having to be treated as horribly as I was by Milton Ruben's staff.
FIrst, I discovered a 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5x on the company's website. Because i live two hours away in Charlotte, NC, I emailed a sales associate to ask a few simple questions regarding the vehicle. My hope was to get as much information as possible before making the two hour drive and to ensure that the vehicle was, in fact, still available. In response to my email, I received no less than four emails from one sales associate telling me that she was going to email me to respond to my question. Again, this was four emails telling me that I would receive answers to my questions; however, I did not receive any emails that actually answered the questions. So, that evening, I called and spoke with Tay Teeling about the vehicle and verified that it was available. Tay told me that no records showed that it was under contract or negotiation, but that a gentleman in Atlanta was interested and wanted to bring his mechanic up to look at it before he bought it. Nonetheless, she assured me that he was not negotiating on the car, so I arranged a time to test drive it the next morning at 10:30. I then drove the two hours to test drive the car . . . this is where everything started to feel fishy and questionable.
When I arrived at the dealership the next morning, the other prospective buyer had also conveniently shown up to view the vehicle. Call me crazy, but I refuse to believe that this was simply a coincidence on a Tuesday morning at 10:30. Someone, be it another associate or whomever, had contacted the other potential buyer and had informed him that he needed to come look at it quickly because another buyer, me, was coming to drive it. This is what I consider to be the first unethical move performed by the staff at Milton Ruben. To place two customers in a position to pressure one another into buying a car not only creates a tense buying experience for both, but it guarantees that you are wasting the time of one of your customers. Hardly how a business should be run.
Next, upon arriving at the dealership at the prearranged time, I was informed that the sales rep that I spoke with, Tay, was too busy to help me and that another sales rep, Dennis, would be showing me the vehicle. I did not have a problem with this. However, Dennis made it quite clear that we had to hurry and get off of the lot in the vehicle because the other buyer had also driven the two hours from Atlanta to view the Forester. Again, we've already covered how shady that situation is. So, this forced the other buyer to sit and wait while I drove the vehicle. Upon arriving back at the dealership, I asked to see the Carfax report and looked it over for approximately 15 minutes. Then, I went into the buying office and asked if we could discuss the price and the prospect of me buying the vehicle. We discussed several things that were not accounted for on the description of the car - ie. missing items, a couple of scratches, and some minor blemishes in the interior - Dennis was very accommodating and asked me how much I would like to offer on the car. I made my offer based on the retail value listed on both Edmunds.com and Kelly Blue Book.com, and Dennis took my offer to his sales manager, Scott Turnbull. Scott quickly sent him back with orders to decline my offer due to the fact that the other customer was waiting in the next cubicle with a certified check. I accepted that as a reasonable situation, why sell it for less than someone else is willing to pay, and asked if I could speak with Scott Turnbull. When he came to talk with me, I asked him if I could have 15 minutes to call my bank and my wife and then come in and make a decision. He assured me that I could definitely have 15 minutes to do so, so I stepped out to my car to make the calls.
Ten minutes later, 5 less than the requested 15, I returned after seeing the other customer drive off in the Forester I was looking at with another salesman. I told Dennis that I was willing to pay the agreed upon price and that I would like to start doing the paperwork. So, we sat down and started arranging the purchase. A few minutes later, Dennis went to inquire about a question regarding financing, and then he came back and told me that Scott Turnbull needed to discuss something with me first. Scott never came and Dennis then informed me that they had sold the vehicle to the other customer while I was outside on my 10-minute, not even 15-minute, phone call. I assured him that this wasn't possible since his manager, Scott, had personally given me 15 minutes to make the calls. He then took me into Scott's office to ask why the car was no longer available. At this point, Scott Turnbull told me that he had not given me the time to think the decision over and that someone had mistakenly given the keys to the other customer in the 10 minute span of time so that he could also test drive it. I responded by telling him that he needed to get the keys back so that we could finish signing the paperwork, and he refused to do so. This was pretty much the moment when I no longer had any doubts about the trustworthiness of the staff at Milton Ruben. I asked Scott if he had not just told me to step outside for 15 minutes to make a call before signing the paperwork, and he agreed that he had done so. Then, I asked him how that allowed him to sell the car out from under me while I was standing right there waiting to sign the paperwork. He then claimed that he had not meant that I had time to think it over. So, I asked him if it was standard practice to lie to his customers, and in response, I refused to look at me and said that it was an honest mistake. I then asked him if he felt that it was an ethical business process to lie to customers and sell the car that they are trying to buy while they are in the middle of negotiations, and he responded that he did not know. He then told me that he was not concerned by his actions or the lie that he told. So, I asked him what he was going to do to fix the mess he had created, and the answer I received was that he was not really worried about it.
At this point, I walked to the office of Shane Corum, the general manager, and asked if this was standard practice for selling cars. I also asked how he was going to handle the fact that he had a sales manager who was selling one vehicle to two different customers at once. Shane assured me that there must be a mistake and that such a thing wouldn't happen. Meanwhile, the other buyer was sitting at a table a few feet away signing the contracts and presumably arranging financing, despite the claim that he had a certified check. Scott Turnbull never attempted to apologize for either his mistake or for lying to me; in fact, he avoided us for the rest of the time that we were there. We finally ended up just leaving because I could not bear the idea of purchasing any other vehicle from such a dishonest sales team, and I had been assured that they did not care enough about their customers to try to treat them fairly or with any indication of respect. Milton Ruben's main goal is to move as many cars off of their lot as possible. They don't care who buys them or if those customers are treated fairly or even politely.
In short, don't be taken advantage of by these crooks. They don't care about your business, and they are more than willing to treat you like garbage as long as they can weasel some money out of your pocket. Now, to be fair, Dennis Giles, the original salesman who attempted to help us, was very polite and even surprised by the actions of Scott Turnbull. He was not aware that Scott had created such a duplicitous mess and apologized sincerely for the inconvenience. I truly hate to see that an honest guy like Dennis has to fight with liars and crooks to try to make a living. You, however, should not have to, so please save yourself the hassle and the disrespect. Buy a car from a business that wants you as a customer.
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Scott Turnbull, Dennis Giles, Tay Teeling, Shane Corum