I went to Suzuki in the Bronx this past weekend because I saw an add on autotrader.com that was advertising an 2009 Audi Q5 for $24,000. I called two times before making the trek from Connecticut to New York to make sure that that was the definite advertised price and there were no catches or gimmicks. Both receptionists assured me that that car was available for that low price with no catches whatsoever.
Excited, I drove down there with my husband thinking that I was going to get a quality car from a reputable dealership (Suzuki). Upon our arrival, we told the receptionist about our inquiry and she told us that the car was at their “sister lot” around the corner at Victory Auto Group even though the add stated that the car was being sold at Suzuki. We walked down the street and entered a sketchy dealership that was blasting rap music.
We were approached by Tony, our salesman who showed us the car. When it was time to sit down and talk prices, that’s when things got shady. Not only were employees drinking beer out of a plastic bag, but Tony proceeded to read us the “fine print” on the autotrader advertisement which read: finance the balance shown after only 10% of retail price down. The “retail” value was a huge sticker ($35,000) on the car in the showroom (that price was not listed anywhere on the website). I asked Tony where the number $24,000 came from and he said “I really don’t know.” He could not articulate what the “fine print” meant.
Meanwhile, as we are talking numbers, my car was being appraised. I said that I would not take less than $7,500 on the trade in. I was also very clear as to what I wanted my monthly payments to be as well as the duration of the loan (60 months). Tony came back after talking to some guy in the corner and said that my payments would be below what we agreed upon and that my car appraised at the “number I told him earlier.” After four hours of being at the dealership, Tony proceeded to rush me to his finance lady, Mona, back at the Suzuki dealership. There, Mona had me sign all of the papers without explaining any of the terms. In retrospect, I should have been more vigilant about reading the fine print, but I was under the assumption that what Tony and I agreed upon would be in writing. SHAME ON ME.
As we were about to get into my new car, we overheard other patrons that were interested in purchasing high end cars as well. Two men left incensed when they found out what the real price was versus the price that was advertised.
On my car ride home, I was looking at the fine print on all the receipts I had been given, and they DID not give me the $7500 that they said they were going to give me for my trade in, and my payments would be for 72 months, not the 60 that we had agreed upon. The entire experience was traumatizing and an act of utter deceit. Looking at the receipts they manipulated all the numbers, none of which made any sense.
The next day I called the manager at Suzuki. The man said that he did not deal with me and I would have to call back when the “other manager” was available. He dismissed my complaints because he wasn’t there the day I purchased the car. I called back hours later and reached the manager that was there the day I purchased my car. I asked him about the advertised price and what exactly that number meant, and again, he was not able to articulate the “fine print” in the advertisement either. He insisted that come down so he can explain it to me in person but I asked him 3 times to explain it to me on the phone, but he was unable to do so.
Looking back at my awful experience and reading about the other complaints, my hope is that people are forewarned and do not support this disingenuous establishment. I hope that their license to sell cars gets revoked. I plan on filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, and The Attorney General of the State of New York.