I am actively shopping for a 2018 Honda Accord for my daughter in college. We didn't want or need a new car, but the 2018 base Accord LX has the collision mitigation system and other safety features that we want for our daughter. We found 4 vehicles through an internet search that met our needs and budget, all of them at Gillman Honda Fort Bend. All four vehicles were 2018 Accord LX models with between 2,700 and 4,000 miles. I confirmed that the vehicles were also included in the pre-owned inventory on the dealer's own web site.
I live about 30 minutes away from this dealership, so I called to confirm that the vehicles were available before driving there. The sales rep said he would confirm and call back, but I actually arrived before he returned my call. It was 7 pm when I arrived and the dealership closes at 9 pm. When I got there, I was first told that all of the advertised vehicles had been sold. The sales rep then tried to sell me an 2017 EX model for thousands more. This was their first attempt at a bait and switch. I quickly explained that the 2017 did not have the safety features I wanted, and I asked him to verify that there were no Certified/Used 2018 vehicles in inventory. It seemed odd that all would be sold, especially since one of the advertised vehicles did not even include a picture on the website. Instead, the site said the picture was coming soon, seemingly indicating that the vehicle was brand new to their inventory.
The sales rep then checked with his manager and returned with the surprising news that they indeed had three of the used 2018 Accords at the advertised price, but all of them were in the Service department being readied for sale. He said he couldn't show me the vehicles because the Service department was already closed, but he offered to make an appointment the next day when I could see them and complete the purchase if I was interested. He gave me the three colors of the vehicles and said he would reserve my color of choice until our appointment the next day at 10 am. I reserved the silver vehicle, and all was good.
The next morning, my daughter and I made the drive down to the dealership again, arriving at exactly 10 am. As soon as we walked in, the salesman stated that there had been a mistake in the way they coded the vehicles into their inventory system and in fact all three of the vehicles had already been sold. However, he assured me that they would 'make it right' and sell me a new Accord LX at the same price since it was their error. I didn’t come in for a new car, nor was I in the market for a new car, but the manager even went so far to state that they would basically take a loss on a new car to correct their mistake.
Unfortunately, this was just another lie and another attempt at a bait and switch. As you might guess, the price for the new car was thousands more than the advertised price that brought me to the store on two separate trips. During this 'negotiation', there were various attempts by the sales rep and the New Car Sales Manager to explain away the difference in price, including a higher MSRP as well as two additional and separate charges, one for approximately $1,500 for a protection package and another charge for something else in the range of $950 for which I don't recall the excuse.
During the discussion, it also came out that their advertised price of $20,990 for the slightly used vehicles did not include a hidden charge of $1,000 that called the Certified charge. This upcharge to the phantom used cars was never discussed prior to that point, nor was it included as a footnote to the advertised prices on the internet.
Basically, everyone I dealt with at this dealership either attempted to deceive me or outright lied to me. The only possible alternative to the purposeful deception is that, from top to bottom, an entire Honda dealership is staffed with people too stupid to perform even the most basic tasks necessary to operate an ethical business. I have had my fair share of shady sales people in more than 30 years of buying cars, but this is the first time I have encountered such purposeful deception. It’s a shame that a fine product like Honda automobiles is represented by a dealer like Gillman Honda of Fort Bend.