We went to Durant Toyota in Weatherford Texas on 5/27/17 to buy out the lease on my 2014 Toyota Corolla, which is where we originally leased the car from. We went in with a pre-approved loan from USAA and a blank check from USAA to purchase the car from Toyota. The amount owed to Toyota on the car was 11,870.06. Durant Toyota was trying to add a $500 "Dealership fee" onto the price before TT&L, Documentation fee and Vehicle inspection was added. This extra $500 was not necessary because the car had not been in their possession before coming there that day. They were citing, per an employee named Steve Bova, that the fee was for a car wash and vehicle inspection. When we refused, they proceeded to try and go on with the deal, but now they wanted us to sign an Ally credit application so they could run our name through the OFAC list of name to make sure we “weren’t Terrorist” under the guise of it being a requirement of the Patriot Act. Scare tactic. All they need is a drivers license or other form of ID to check your name against the list. Look it up. We did not want to sign the credit application for fear that they would run our credit when it wasn’t necessary since we brought our own financing. That would have been 2 hard hits on the credit report. They would not go on without us signing the credit application and basically told us there was nothing more they could do with us and we could go to another dealership. Come to find out after the fact that this is a common dealership tactic/scam to get you to sign a credit app so they can run it in an attempt to get you “better” financing. I reached out to the dealership’s Sales manager Andrew Searce and left a message and got no answer. I then reached out to the Customer Relations Manager Donna Dickensen, whom was very nice, and she was concerned about my complaint and said she would look into it. I haven’t heard anything else.
Here’s an article from Edmunds dot com on “Car dealerships Credit Report Scams and the Patriot Act”. www dot edmunds dot com/car-buying/car-dealership-credit-report-scams-and-the-patriot-act dot html
Durant Toyota lost out on 2 deals that week because we also went in to buy a van. Both deals seemed to get stonewalled once we got to finance. They would never reveal an interest rate, they just want to talk price, term and payment amount. We knew we would be $4-5K in negative equity on our trade-in, which we were fine with, but they quoted our trade-in so low it would be more like $7K. When we got the denial letter from a lender the next week it turns out they were trying to get us a loan at $10K more than the price of the car!? No wonder it was denied! I really don’t know what they were trying to pull.
Just a fair warning to fellow consumers. Read and question everything they try to get you to sign. Dictate how you want them to run your credit. I have already reported all of this to the TX DMV Dealer Complaint System. DMV Complaint #17-0176577
Needless to say. We ended up buying out the lease on the Carolla from Toyota with the help of Freeman Toyota in Hurst (guess what, they didn't add a $500 "dealership fee", and we ended up buying a mini-van from Southwest Nissan in Weatherford and got a fair trade-in valuation with no hidden fees or scare tactics.
Also, I reached out to the GM Mr. Scearce (I called more than once) and left him a voice message. The phone number I was provided was not his direct number. Mrs. Dickensen has my information as she answered my call. No one has made an attempt to reach out to me other than the response to my google review from a MONTH ago.