I was referred to 5 Star Ford in Lewisville by the USAA car buying service. They had a 2014 Jeep Wrangler I wanted. The initial contact person was Meaghann Caporicci. She was pleasant, but I believe that was just the honey to attract the fly… When the price was reduced the last time, I told Ms. Caporicci, I wanted to buy the vehicle and scheduled a "VIP" sales appoint on the afternoon of Monday 12/14 for the next afternoon, Tuesday 12/15 at 4:45 p.m. All of the USAA "preferred" dealers are in the DFW area far from where I live/work. As a USAA member for almost 25 years, this was my ONLY reason for me to make the trip: the expectation of fair deal based on USAA's recommendation and the USAA customer discount. Ms. Caporicci and the sales staff were aware that I was traveling a good distance. The day of the appointment, I left work early to drive almost 2 hours up there. When the appointment was made, the vehicle was still available. It was reasonable to assume that all necessary preparations for my visit would be made. I didn’t hear anything further until….
I was actually driving to the dealership (I was nearly there, but stuck in traffic), and I got a garbled voicemail message from I think John Gerarde, one of the sales managers, evidently it was made after 3:15 p.m. when I left work. He restated that I had a sales appointment, but that the vehicle had been sold. I attempted to call Ms. Caporicci to sort it out, but could not reach her; her job complete having lured me into the dealership… I tried calling again and was put in touch with someone named Hugo (don't remember the last name). Ms Caporicci nor any of the sales managers I knew about were available… Hugo, apologetically explained the situation and that the vehicle was "sold." Then he offered the possibility that he might be able to get the Jeep back. By that time I was close to the dealership and was going to make my dissatisfaction known in person. When I arrived, Hugo was all handshakes and Mr. Positivity as he told me that he had contacted the buyer of the Jeep and that he was willing to bring it back and accept a "sweet" deal on a truck that he had supposedly wanted instead.
Truthfully, right then the whole thing started to stink. Who brings a car back, especially if you felt like you got a good deal? I decided to give Hugo the benefit of the doubt and since I was already there, and decided to hear him out. The price was set due to the fact that it had been reduced three times and all the "no haggle" garbage. Hugo and his partner Buddy Criswell and another sales trainee set to work appraising my car (2009 Buick). The sale staff, via Ms. Caporicci were provide information in advance about my trade: a craigslist link with photos/info, shown all necessary paperwork about the car, trade-in value comparisons from all of the major auto valuation sites, information about a trade-in offer I received from a Dodge dealer, and an invitation to contact the service manager at Carl White Chevrolet in Corsicana to obtain complete maintenance records from the time the car was new, not to mention actually seeing the very good overall condition of the car considering age and mileage. I was reasonable about my expectations on the trade and was transparent in my representation of the car. During negotiations I stated my expectation of $6500 minimum trade-in value. I was offered a blind trade-in quote of $6000, which made sense because they hadn't actually seen the car. My thinking was with all the documentation I could provide and the outstanding condition of the car, getting the extra $500 should have been a no-brainer; knowing full well that the car today, retails around $11,000.
How did they treat a prepared, well-qualified, well-informed, buyer with pre-arranged financing and a check in his pocket for over 30K? Well, to begin, the appraisal took a very long time in my opinion. When they finally came back, Hugo immediately begins picking apart the car. First it was the tires, which have approximately 30K out 60K on them (I have the records), they are not new, but far from thrashed. Then he tells me the "bearings" on the front struts were making noise. Dude, any mechanic knows that a strut is basically a spring with a shock through the middle with a big nut on top. There are no "bearings." I called him on that and he quickly backed off. This time of year with all the rain we’ve had and gunk that gets splashed up under a car, springs can lose their lubrication and make some noises. Next, he basically accuses me of the trunk lid having been repainted, which is simply BS. A doctor, whom I know in Corsicana, was the first owner of the car. I have records that show that any and ALL service performed on the car was done at Carl White Chevrolet. Car Fax and Auto Check reports are completely clean and in the almost four years that I've had the car the only damage ever, and that was superficial, was from a cart in the Walmart parking lot on one of the rear doors. Lastly, he goes through this big explanation about all the cost involved in making my trade ready for resale based on vague numbers which shouldn’t be confused with anything factual. At the end of it, he states that with those numbers the dealership would stand to make only $1700 on my trade-in. My comment was, “More than you’d get digging ditches.” Consumers, car buyers especially, should revolt against these kind of tactics. In my experience, it seems to have gotten to the point that car dealerships think they ought to make 10 grand at least on every deal and that you should be so grateful that they are willing to take your trade that you’ll accept any meager amount for it.
So there we were, Hugo dickering on the trade-in. It's after 7:00 p.m. I had my 5 year old granddaughter with me. I'd been there since a little after 5 after fighting Dallas traffic. Hugo continued to play with the numbers running to the back several times. By this time my enthusiasm had gone and it became comical watching him do the salesman routine. One of the first times he came back with a sheet showing all these different fees for things that he could not fully explain what they were for. When I pressed him about it, he found “errors” that he’d made when making the quote. I’m not an idiot I know what fees to expect when you buy a car, even at some big city dealership. Bottom line with the way they had it figured, it was going to cost over $1000 more tacked on to the deal in addition to normal fees, and that in conjunction with the crappy trade-in offer, effectively recapping any price reduction or discount. Admittedly, after he messed with the figures a couple times he did get pretty close to where I was at with the offer I originally made. Hmmm, wouldn’t that have saved time to just accept the fair offer I made in the first place for my trade-in? And maybe preserved some kind of good faith and mutual respect? But by this time his credibility was shot and he had demonstrated that I could not trust him/them and therefore I wouldn’t buy anything from 5 Star Ford in Lewisville.
The really hilarious part was that in the middle of all of that, he's trying to sell me a car that I’ve never seen that had been supposedly "sold." Yet, he was going to miraculously somehow use his car salesman super powers to work a deal to get it back to sell it to me. That would mean buying a car sight unseen, which is just stupid. I was under the false impression that the Jeep would be brought back same day, even though it was getting late, again since I made special effort on a weekday evening to come in from so far away. My intention from the start as, I indicated and communicated thus, was that I intended to drive the Jeep home that night. At this point things were getting ridiculous, so I asked Hugo how/when he intended to get the car there to close the deal, so I could actually see, maybe even test drive the car, IF I agreed to the low-ball trade-in. Supposedly, after having spoken to the buyer, Hugo related that it was going to be Thursday earliest before he would have the car back. If I accepted the sketchy deal, that would have meant driving back home empty handed and then turning around and making another trip to pick up the Jeep and surrender my trade-in. More time, more miles, more headache. He did suggest possible having the car driven to Corsicana, but in light of all the other that was not an attractive option. When Hugo indicated that it would be two days before I could take delivery, my question was, “In what condition?” He assured me, with as much sincerity as he could muster, that it was parked in the guy’s garage, although exactly where was awfully vague and would be returned in showroom condition. I asked if they would go through it again to make sure everything was up to par since it has been “sold.” Who knows what they did after they left the car lot. I got no answer, but was redirected back to the issue of the trade-in numbers. My granddaughter had to use the bathroom which provided a great excuse to end the misery. We left without the promised vehicle, but with all my dollar bills where they belong and my pride in tact in the car they tried to get me to give away.
Another strange thing was, I was about the only other person in the dealership, being that it was late. A woman, who I later discovered was Ms. Caporicci, walked past the sales area on her way out. She looked at us and had to know who I was, but only gave a passing glance as she walked through. The look on her face was if she knew what was happening and that were trying to line me up for a screwing. Kudos on the customer service though... After I communicated with this person for the better part of month. But as I said, you draw more flies with honey…
In conclusion, my suspicions are that the Jeep may have never been sold at all. Who knows for sure, they did so much to engender my trust… I never saw any of the other Jeeps that were advertised. Seems like to me if I really wanted to sell a car, even if it wasn’t the one they came to see, it’d be worth a shot to show the customer similar vehicles on your lot work hard to get them a deal on one of those. ABSOLUTELY NO EFFORT was made in that regard, which casts doubt about the one Jeep that was actually “sold.” Of course it is a big place, I could’ve missed them, but then again why would they hide them? The appearance is that they didn’t want to tip their hand on any of the other vehicles, because they knew I had my information together and wasn’t an easy mark. If they ever had any intention of selling me the vehicle I came to buy, I believe it was their intention to pressure me into doing so after giving away my trade-so as to recover money on the Jeep since they were going to have to sell to me at a discount. Instead it appears they chose to scrap the deal, possibly with the hopes of a more cooperative sucker to come along that wasn’t as prepared. In the aftermath, the funny thing was that the Jeep I wanted that was “sold” was still on the dealer website this morning 12/16/15, although it was removed my mid-day. Sounds like a possible case of CYA… When I saw it, it did occur to me to have a friend call anonymously and ask about the Jeep to see what they’d have to say about it. If it was there…..well that’s what law suits for false advertising are made of isn't it. So was it incompetence, bait and switch, or supremely sucky customer service? Pick one. A wise man once said that whether a person is incompetent or dishonest the results are usually about the same. I will vigorously dissuade anyone I come across that is considering buying a vehicle from Sam Pack’s 5 Star Ford in Lewisville. USAA has been notified and should rethink their partnership with and future referrals to this dealership.
HOW THEY COULD HAVE MADE IT RIGHT: HONEST CAR SALES 101
1. If the Jeep indeed sold, I should been called well in advance of my trip. If noone else knew, Ms. Caporicci knew my situation; certainly NOT 20 minutes before arrival. However, that doesn’t really apply now does it, if everything’s on the up and up.
2. Since I had a “VIP” sales appointment (Apparently VIP appointments aren’t worthless) and had verbally agreed to buy the car, it should have been pulled off the sales lot. If there actually were other interested parties following my inquiry, they should have been informed of the situation and their contact information retained in case I did not buy the car.
3. Since I was satisfied with price, they should have honored THEIR $6000 trade-in quote. The car is worth more than that. They know it, I know it, and I have documentation to prove it.
4. TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT and HONOR THE DEALS YOU MAKE and STOP trying to think up ways to screw people; thinking that everybody is stupid, gullible, or easily manipulated, even though many are... just not me. There are enough of those folks for you to prey on the rest of the time. The , the way the whole thing was handled, from not calling, to picking apart my trade, not honoring their own trade quote, and generally wasting my time is an insult plain and simple. This is especially so when the customer had everything together and walked in with the finance check in-hand ready to buy. I guess the car business is so good right now, they can afford to alienate potential customers??? Those tactics and behavior are grossly unprofessional, incompetent, a down right shady.
I Recommend This Dealer:
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