On the morning of Saturday March 21st 2015, I went to Shirlie Slack Mitsubishi to accompany my girlfriend while she had her vehicle serviced. She had purchased the vehicle there new a year prior, and had been experiencing an outgoing problem that her local Mitsubishi dealer had been unsuccessful in diagnosing after several visits. We trekked 40+ miles from Northern Virginia with the hope of a more thorough and comprehensive diagnosis.
While waiting for her vehicle to be serviced, my girlfriend attempted to locate her original salesperson in hopes of having him show me several vehicles. She spoke to and approached Sal Sauceda whom advised her that her salesperson had changed his hours and position due to school. She asked if he could possibly assist with me several vehicles and told her that I had been considering vehicles throughout the US, but recommended Shirlie Slack due to their close proximity and the wonderful service she had received when she purchased her vehicle.
Sal was originally eager to help, and I told him the vehicles I was interested in. He pulled up several options online that I was interested in, we selected one, he grabbed a key and we walked to the vehicle for a test drive. During the test drive he seemed knowledgeable, answered my questions, we discussed how long he had been at the dealership, he told us a bit about his family, and was even kind enough to allow us to stop by Panera and grab breakfast (my girlfriend even picked something up for him even though when asked he said he didn't want anything). My girlfriend was prodding about price and mentioned that I was a cash buyer and would not require any type of financing. He said even being a cash buyer the discount would only be several hundred dollars, and a comparable vehicle that they had sold a weekend prior which had been in their inventory for 8 months, only went for $500 off of asking. He told us that the dealership fully owns all of their used vehicles with no debt and has no need to rush to offload them. We continued to discuss the best cash price that could be offered on our way back to the dealership and I also mentioned what I liked and didn't like about the vehicle. I informed him that I was looking for several vehicles for my companies and was ideally seeking a hybrid vehicle and a truck. Upon arriving back to the dealership I saw another used vehicle parked up front that I was interested in. Sal offered to get the keys and asked if we wanted to eat breakfast prior to heading back out. He brought us to an empty desk, and shortly thereafter brought me to his desk to discuss the vehicle we had just got back from test driving. I told him my cash offer and then he disappeared into the office of his sales manager. Realizing that we were thousands of dollars apart (and I assume at the behest of his manager), he asked where I was getting my pricing from and if I could show him comparable vehicles in the price range that I offered online. He proceeded to turn his computer monitor towards me and slid his keyboard in my direction. I conducted an online vehicle search of comparable vehicles, and in under 5 minutes was able to show him several vehicles (from regional dealerships) being sold and offered for thousands of dollars less than the price he was offering. He said nothing further only acting a bit disappointed and immediately getting up and walking back into his sales manager's office. He came back out with the key to the truck, and my girlfriend and I headed out to take a look.
This is where the interaction unfortunately turned interesting. While inspecting the vehicle, my girlfriend got it and buckled up assuming that Sal would be coming with a dealer tag for a test drive. After several minutes Sal appeared and said that we could not test drive the vehicle as it was a "specialty" vehicle and we would need to be qualified first (I had told him at least 6+ times that I was a potential cash buyer-the vehicle was a 2012 Ford F-150 Raptor w/60k miles), and that if I was not going to pay asking price, it was a waste of his time. He then followed up by saying he could show me some similar trucks that were $15k+ less and would probably be more "ideal" or "better" for me. It was at that point I realized what was transpiring, as both he and management were not happy that I was an intelligent and savvy shopper (previously showing them how their vehicle was thousands more than comparable vehicles offered at several regional dealerships). I was very put off by where the conversation had turned and walked back into the dealership with my girlfriend and Sal speechless. I simply could not believe what was happening and transpiring.
I sit down back at Sal's desk and he disappears to back into his Sales Manager's office, while my girlfriend headed back to service to check on the status of her vehicle. Patty Slack comes out to greet me and shakes my hand , and I immediately tell her how put off I was about not being able to test drive a 3+ year old truck with 60k miles until I was "prequalified". She then proceeds to tell me that some buyers wanted specialty vehicles to have little to no miles on them when they're purchased. I responded by saying that the truck I was looking to test drive was 3+ years old and has 60k+ miles on it and was far from new and definitely did not have a few miles on it. She then proceeds to ask me if Sal told me about the story of the Ford Lightning (a vehicle that hasn't been produced since 2004), and the person that test drove it and blew up the motor. She told me that she was still traumatized by this story, and I told her that the SVT Lightning hadn't been produced in 11+ years, and are presently going for $8k-$15k max today in today's market. I told her that I was fully insured and had no problem providing proof of insurance for a test drive. I repeated to her that I was a potential cash buyer, and it didn't seem to me like she wanted to sell a vehicle to me. She repeated that she did want to sell me a vehicle, however she wanted to show me "how expensive the payments would be on the truck I was looking to test drive before I test drove it." At that point I could not believe that she had said what she had said, and asked her if she was in my shoes and someone said that to her, what she would say. She became speechless realizing the error of her words, and began to blush. I told her how unprofessional she was while customers and sales representatives gawked. I continued to tell her that I would not take a vehicle from her dealership even if it was given to me for free.
It is unbelievable that in 2015 that the supposed and largest Mitsubishi dealership in the state of Virginia would treat a potential customer in this manner. I admit that I look much younger than I am, however I definitely don't feel as though that is an excuse to be treated in the manner in which I was treated. I have owned and purchased 6 luxury vehicles in the past 10 years, none of which have been financed. One of them retailing for approximately $70k, and another going for almost $100k.
I am presently pursuing and exploring additional legal methods/options to ensure this type of treatment doesn't happen in the future.