First, the positives: Nicole was very helpful and diligent in answering all my questions via email and text.
Now, the negatives: 1) When quoting me the out-the-door price on the vehicle, Heritage figured in a $499 “dealer fee.” But that fee was already included in the base price in the online listing. When I pointed out that the fine print explicitly stated this, I was given a lower out-the-door price.
2) The new price still seemed too high, and I realized that Heritage was figuring the TVAT tax based on the listed price, rather than the state of Georgia’s fair market valuation, as it should be. After I pointed this out, I got a third out-the-door price and we agreed on the deal.
3) When I showed up to close the deal, Josh made a point of telling me, multiple times, that Heritage was losing money on the vehicle, and he made a comment about how I had “talked us out of the dealer fee.” That was an outright lie, and when I said I had merely pointed out what the fine print already said,” he then said, “Well that’s good to know. I didn’t know that.” If he really didn’t know that, then he needs to learn his business better. If he did know, then he was intentionally trying to sneak that fee past me when it was already built into the list price. It made me wonder if Heritage is double-charging other buyers this “dealer fee” in such a way.
4) Josh initially offered to have the vehicle delivered to me (I live in Columbus), then came into the finance office just as I was about to sign the papers and rescinded the offer because, he said, “We’re already losing money on this deal and we can’t pay a driver to deliver it.” When I suggested that I could meet halfway, in Atlanta, the following day, he said it would cost $500 to deliver to me there. At that point, I was feeling exhausted and beat up, so I just said, “Fine, I’ll figure something out.” I ended up renting a car and dropping it off in Rome so I could pick up my new car there. After I got home, I discovered Heritage’s “Why Buy Here?” webpage says, “We will deliver your new vehicle to you for FREE, up to 500 miles!”. So I called Kevin and asked to be reimbursed for the rental. After initially resisting, he called back later in the day and agreed that this was the right thing to do, and I did get a check in the mail a few days later.
Josh’s demeanor was unfriendly and borderline hostile throughout much of the time I was on site. That, plus all the other BS I’ve described above, made the whole experience very uncomfortable and unpleasant, and only served to reinforce my perception of car dealerships as places to be avoided.