"Similar car buying experience; truck to be purchased wrecked"
I am skeptical that this letter will find your desk; however, I felt compelled to share my latest experience at one of your dealerships; Cochran Nissan.
I have been in the market for a new/used pick-up truck. After a week or so of research, I located a beautiful 2014 Toyota Tundra at you Nissan dealership on West Liberty Ave. My wife and I purchased a new 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited at your Monroeville location where we had a good experience (however, no trade in). In fact, we still take our Santa Fe there for all subsequent servicing. Since this Tundra was at a Cochran dealership, I thought I would have a similar experience. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
On my first trip to Cochran Nissan, I went there to “inspect” the Tundra and naturally get some details and history on the truck. To be honest, I loved it the minute I saw it. My sales rep Mike Schwarzel seemed to be a competent sales rep. He answered my questions as best he could and “researched” those he couldn’t answer on the spot; as any good sales rep should do. I did discuss a trade (I came down in a different vehicle) and Mike suggested I email him some pictures at first…which I did. I/he knew that I needed to bring the vehicle (2003 Ford F-150) in for better evaluation….which I did a couple days later.
The first trip to your dealership in my potential trade started the process of “old school car buying/trading.” The initial offer was well below what I thought the trade-in value was (I had KBB and Edmunds as my guides). I wasn’t asking for even the lowest trade-in value; I was a few hundred below that. I went thru the “let me ask my manager” routine and they came back firm on their initial offer and wouldn’t budge. We shook hands and they let me walk. The next day I received an email that they WOULD agree to my price…so come back down to Cochran Nissan. This is “typical” car buying period; certainly not a “clearly better buying experience.” I wasted time and money “playing the game” but I guess, regardless of the dealership’s claim, this is how car buying is still done. Let’s see if the customer walks…..
On Friday, 9/8, I returned to Cochran Nissan to finalize the purchase of the 2014 Tundra Crew Max Limited. I gave the Tundra my last “once over.” So, I was now off to the finance department (Scott) to get the ball rolling. Note: I did notice that the description on your website noted some features that the Tundra didn’t possess. Finance manager stated that the features are derived from the VIN, and because there are so many “packages”, Toyota makes some errors. Odd…but not a deal-breaker, just an observation. To continue, I signed about a dozen papers and Scott and I were talking financing, warranty, etc….the meat and potatoes of the deal. In walked the GM of Cochran Nissan (I do not recall his name) and he informed me that the gentleman who has been on the job for "only 2 days," wrecked the Tundra while preparing to take it thru the car wash. They quickly offered me a “loaner” in hopes that I would still sign the papers for the Tundra and drive off the lot in a loaner while my new truck purchase went to the body shop.
I inspected the damaged truck and the left rear quarter panel was scarred with 2 deep gouges (about half the quarter panel was damaged) and the taillight destroyed. Seeing the truck in that condition, the truck I was so excited to purchase; well, it just took all the wind out of my sails. I’m sure it would have had a similar effect to many others in my situation. I also wondered, what would this do to the clean Car-Fax report???? Will this DAMAGE be reported to Car-Fax? I assume it will, not sure why it wouldn't be reported. If so, what will that do to the value of the truck now or down the road if I, or the ultimate purchaser of the truck, tries to resell at some point in the future? It is a fair question to ponder. ****UPDATE....it appears this truck has been sold as of 9/21/2017 (no longer listed on the Cochran website). I've kept close watch on the available CarFax and NO damage had been noted on the report. If this damage should have been reported to CarFax by the dealership, the new owner of this vehicle has been deceived.****
When I returned back inside to the finance office (after about 20 minutes) I sat down and I assumed there would be additional conversation about the truck and the many questions I had in regards. However, as the finance manager was typing away on his keyboard/computer (I assumed he was “looking up additional information”) he simply turned away from his computer, looked at me and said…”so what do you think?” My response was “I think I’m leaving.” We shook hands and I walked out the door…again. For the second time in a week, I drove back home in my personal vehicle, and this time, with my checkbook in hand.
The experience I had at your Monroeville Hyundai location vs. your Nissan location were day and night in comparison. I assume, once this review is read, I will receive the customary "sorry we didn't meet your expectations...please reach out to us if we can be of any service..." That may make "them" feel good, but I have to imagine that their practice of selling vehicles is pretty much set in stone; i.e., this is the way they do business. Also, I don’t know if the truck has been repaired as of yet; I have not been contacted by your dealership since leaving last Friday, 9/8/2017. Not even a “sorry about that” message from the GM, et. al. Again, they seemed surprised (maybe more disappointed) that I didn’t go thru with the deal and drive off in the loaner. I did receive a “thank you for purchasing” email from Cochran but that page was quickly voided; as I was going to fill out the survey about my “car buying experience.” I also understand that accidents happen, but I don’t feel, that in the face of adversity, much effort was made to keep me as a customer…for now or down the road. Yes, I will have second thoughts when it comes to any new vehicle purchases and I will be skeptical with doing any additional business with an affiliated Cochran dealership. I am still in the market for a used, late model truck and have found many alternatives to follow-up. In conclusion, I don’t think your Nissan dealership is practicing what you preach sir.
Employees Worked With
Mike Schwarzel (sales), Scott ? (finance)