I may represent a minority: I travelled over an hour to purchase a specific car at a good deal from Balise Nissan. As for that, I'm pleased with the purchase -- the car, the price, the trade-in, etc. Minimum amount of haggling drama.
But...when it came to the actual process, they seemed like a bunch of amateurs. First, after agreeing to buy, the salesman let me walk away w/o signing important papers -- like a purchase agreement, trade-in paperwork, etc. [this is supposed to be what they do for a living, so they should know what has to be done at each stage of the process -- no?] So I had to drive back there (RT = 2 hours) to sign paperwork and get official. Irritatingly, I could not do that just anytime, but on a specific day and a specific time, because they "didn't have anyone there at the dealership authorized to sign THEIR paperwork at any other time". Huh??? I asked how many people were authorized to deal with paperwork. Answer -- two. For the whole dealership. Period. And on the day I wanted to come, neither one was present. [does that mean the dealership couldn't sell cars that day????]
When I did arrive to sign the paperwork, there was a long discussion about my address (I get mail at a PO Box) No one seemed to know which address (physical or mail) was necessary on the title, so I ended up signing two versions of every piece of paperwork with an address. After this was worked out, I needed to supplement the final bank check with a small amount b/c they had underestimated the DMV fees by $45. When I looked at the receipt, they had charged me $4500!!! So this had to be corrected. After this visit, I had to drive back a third time to actually pick up the car. But…. This trip was also a waste because they hadn’t registered the car. At first, they wanted to blame backups at DMV. But when I noted that I could see DMV wait times online, they confessed they had been rejected twice because of errors in their paperwork. By the time I finally got my car (they ended up driving it to me), I was wondering if my bargain was worth it. The salesmen were friendly but seemed clueless about paperwork, and the business guy seemed over his head.
I understand that perhaps I shouldn’t have gone so far for a deal, but really.... I did this kind of long-distance purchase about three years ago and only had two visits to the dealer -- one to negotiate the purchase and sign paperwork and the second to drop off the final check and pick up the car. That dealer seemed much more knowledgeable and organized about paperwork and the process and really assisted me in the purchase. These guys seemed like they were doing this for the maybe the first time ever and had no real clue.