"Hidden Check Engine Light, Sneaky Finance Numbers"
The funny thing about this review is that I actually ended up buying the car. I’ve stated some big red flags with this dealership/experience below so please read so you’re aware. To sum it up: not honoring price agreements, trying to be sneaky with finance numbers, and low quality of vehicle condition and service.
I’ll be the first to admit I went against my better judgement and disregarded a bunch of these red flags throughout the process. There are a few factors that led me to the outcome of getting the car and this may seem like a case of buyer’s remorse and it’s not that the vehicle makes me feel that way but the people I dealt with at Adam Auto Group. We live about 4.5 hours from Adam Auto Group. We had been searching high and low for this specific vehicle and color scheme. Priced well on their website, we began communications with AJ. We had a trade in and settled on a good price for that. I spoke to AJ on the phone and asked him directly why he thought the car hasn’t sold. He said that was a great question and had no idea. He even stated the condition of the car being “immaculate”. On the Thursday before the weekend I was planning to make the drive, AJ had a question about our trade in. He said my wife stated that we had it paid off and owned it outright. My wife and I are both well aware we still owed on the car. I thought it was a deal breaker but AJ said he would talk to the owner. He called me back and said they would pay X amount on the amount still owed and we would pay the difference. They would then allow us to purchase the new vehicle at X price. We confirmed these details over the phone and AJ sent an updated bill of sale.
Here’s where the fun begins. I drove 4.5 hours and got to the dealership right when I said I would. AJ said he would have the car in the front, gassed up and ready to go but it wasn’t there. It pulled in a few minutes later and the guy driving said the tire needed air. After he got it filled, I began looking around. Car looked in good shape cosmetically. A small crack in the windshield, a scratch on one of the sides…neither a deal breaker at this point. I asked if I could drive it by myself as I like to take my time, pull into a parking lot, examine it again, do whatever I want and just not feel the pressure. HUGE RED FLAG #1: This is the first time in probably a dozen test drives that I was denied this request. Here’s HUGE RED FLAG #2: There was a loud noise coming from the left side of the engine. Asked what it was and AJ said it was the compressor bringing in air as it needs to do so to level out. The noise came on every now and then for a few seconds. You could easily hear while in the car. I should have just walked away or planned right there to get it to a mechanic. I figured I would do more research over the next hour. HUGE RED FLAG #3: We went into the dealership for something and that’s when I heard a conversation about the vehicle I was looking at. More so about the finance numbers. It did not sound to be in my favor so I went into the room. The finance manager was talking to AJ and saying the numbers in the bill of sale in combination with my trade in would not work. The FM didn't even introduce himself right away or greet me, something so little that could have helped alleviate the stress in this situation. I wonder if he knew how far I had traveled to do business with them. Making an already long story a bit shorter, they were not going to honor the deal and bill of sale that AJ and I agreed to. Even after he had talked with his manager/owner the day before. This is not a big dealership, it’s not like the numbers had to go through all these levels. AJ should have just taken it to the finance manager 10 feet away and made sure the numbers worked. AJ admitted we had the conversation and knew we owed on the trade in but was not stepping up to the plate and owning the mistake. What was overall upsetting was how aggressive they were in the situation and the lack of sympathy they showed. I just drove 4.5 hours based on a bill of sale and number of conversations with AJ. I went to my car in the parking lot and thought about my options. I decided to go in and see what their new offer would be. The FM gave me the internet price. No discount for the misunderstanding, the driving, trying to sell a car, etc. Annoyed, I went back to my car to figure out my counteroffer. I came back with X amount and they came back with X + $500. Here again I should have just cut my losses based on a matter of principle and got out of there but had went that far and was tired of the used car buying process. I said X +$250, out the door. They agreed. RED FLAG #4: While on the phone with my bank to get pre-approved at the new loan amount, the FM (I think Ryan) sent me the new bill of sale. I was in such a time crunch with the bank closing at 2pm that I just passed it along figuring everything should be the same, as it would just be adjusted to show the lowered amount that we agreed to. After 45 minutes with the bank, I could take the next step. I reviewed the bill of sale and here’s what he did. To get it to our agreed price the finance manager just took out the taxes! I would still have to pay those at some point and the previous bill of sales had sales tax in them so we weren’t talking apples-to-apples offers here. I told him I knew what he did but at this point I was just tired of it all. RED FLAG #5: This one is bad…I hadn’t even test drove this vehicle fully at this point. It wouldn’t matter if the numbers didn't make sense but I should have looked at it the other way around. Make sure I’m negotiating over a vehicle that I am familiar with, not just assuming all is well…plus, I had already heard the loud noise! Like I said… embarrassing. Let me try and wrap this review up…I test drove it, the noise continued, AJ kept saying it was the compressor pulling in air. Just for fun I asked the guy who cleans the cars what he thought and basically repeated what AJ said. I know they’re all trying to sell this troubled car and they got the sucker right there. It was just so loud, I should have walked away, had it factored into the final price, and/or checked out by a mechanic. I had been through too much at this point. Driving around with AJ was pretty funny though as you could tell he was just so nervous every time that noise came on. He then said he would give me his “service spiel”. With AJ not backing our initial deal, he had zero credibility at this point…and heck, the car wasn’t even gassed up like he said. After the bank, I went to the dealership and the FM again tried to adjust the numbers so that it looked like I actually paid more for the price on the vehicle which I think would screw me over more when it came time to paying taxes at the DMV. He had tried to match the bank’s check amount, which I had the taxes included, to the bill of sales car price. I refused to sign the new bill of sale. I was paranoid as can be at this point and needed to just get out of there. I also had to ask the FM twice for a receipt for my cash amount I paid off on the trade in. I was trying to get everything documented and be weary of what I signed from there on. Ryan even came out before I was pulling out to have me sign another paper and I said he could mail it to me if I needed to sign it…again, just wanted out of there.
RED FLAG #6…TOO LATE…seriously once I pulled out of the lot…SERVICE ENGINE LIGHT POPPED ON for “Immediate suspension repair required”. Talk about a “kick me while I’m down” moment. I texted AJ, who had been texting me in this process…wasn’t surprised to never get a response. There was not a second in my mind where I thought to go back in that dealership to see what they could do. The way everything had went down to this point, with more than a handful of employees just sitting in the 2-room dealership, I would have been very uncomfortable. I really just wanted to get home as a fast as I could. I lost quite a bit of sleep with the whole situation, just the feeling of getting worked over in so many ways. It was exhausting, maybe I was already tired, too invested in the car by driving so long and wanting that specific one. In the end, the experience and the people I dealt with at the Adam Auto Group was disgusting. I can’t believe I actually purchased the vehicle. I like to think I save a vehicle’s life by getting it out of there. I haven’t shared this experience with many as it makes me feel sick and I’m disappointed in the way I handled it and actually stuck around.
We got the vehicle checked out. The dealership we took it to said some aftermarket compressor had been installed very poorly. No way to tell who did it but either way should raise RED FLAG #6 for any future potential customers that this isn’t an OEM dealership so don’t be naive and think they are actually servicing and checking out these vehicles prior to sale.
Be extremely weary of this dealership. If you do go, take someone with you for a few reasons. Be on high alert at every point and just be ready to walk away. And for pete’s sake have a mechanic take a look or Pep Boys run the scanner on the engine for any check engine codes that may have been recently cleared! I’d highly encourage you to just pay the extra money for better quality and experience somewhere else.
Employees Worked With