My fiance and I are NH residents. We had a vehicle we were both registered for with a current NH registration good until November 2019. In April 2019 we saw Mitchell Volvo had a vehicle we had been searching for at a below KBB price, so we started collecting information. I called the dealership to get their out the door price. They weren't immediately willing to give me numbers. Via email, the salesperson came off as uninterested, even bothered. He eventually provided me numbers, and said it included a registration cost. Apparently they offer a registration service. So I called my town clerk, as we live in a small NH town(<300 residents) and our clerk only has hours once a week. I was told by the clerk that typically these third party registration outfits ship to town clerks via fedex, and if so, she would need to be alerted to the tracking information so she could know when to be at the office to sign.
Next I used the towns online vehicle registration website to estimate the registration costs. They came out to be about $380(Prorated from April-March). Mitchell Volvo was telling us that their third party was in contact with our DMV systems and knew the exact cost, which they insisted was $551. For kicks, I checked on the E-reg site for a full 12 month estimate, and that came out to $580. So I'm still not sure how they came to the number they reported.
I told our salesperson contact that we'd like to transfer our registration(I can't seem to estimate that online) to which he said it'd be the same registration cost. I had checked with our lender and they had no issues with my name on the title for the vehicle even if we only financed in my fiance's name. The dealer wasn't sure about this, but they didn't press us prior to coming down in person. We even asked if they could beat our credit union's rate, and their best rate was 0.5% higher.
Fast forward to the day we had scheduled to come down, April 8th at 10:30am. We left at 7am. At about 9am, the salesperson sends me a text asking me when we were coming down because every time slot outside of 11-12 is booked. This just speaks to the disorganization. I responded "We agreed on 10:30am when we spoke on Friday". His response was simply "Ok see you then". Maybe the first red flag?
When we arrived the person we'd been in contact with had very little of the information we'd already provided via email over the past week. He wasn't even sure of the process, and sent us off to get our check from a cooperative credit union before we had details finalized. We had to drive back to the dealership to get some information.
When we arrived we were pushed to a finance manager whom, in an accusitory tone asked "so why do you guys want to use your own credit union?" and we proceeded to tell him about our interest in transferring our registration that we still had 7 months on and would potentially save us a few hundred dollars. He said "Well, the state of CT is going to have problems with that because we're going to give them a copy of the title for the temp plate, but only one name will be on the registration, so we could get fined". After we pushed he said "if you're comfortable signing a statement that indicates you two will cover the fine if there is one, then I'm ok with it." So, he scares us into tossing out our current registration in favor of registering the vehicle as new. They claim it'll be $551, when the e-reg says it'll be under $400. I asked how that will be addressed and the finance manager states "I have nothing to do with that, you'll get your plates in the mail and a check for the difference if there was any, but they know what they're doing and they have access to your DMV"...we had to pry to find out "they" is RegUSA, a third party that does this for dealers. We weren't convinced it would be this easy.
He proceeds to push us to go with their financing, which saved us a whopping 0.01%, interesting because over the phone they couldn't come near the rates I was getting. Because they were unwilling to check, and were certain the bank wouldn't go for it, we couldn't add my name to the title, so we were forfeiting the balance of the registration we had told them we wanted to transfer.
Then we came to the add-ons...extended warranty time! Well, we already had discussed this because they listed the vehicle as a Volvo CPO sale, which means it comes with a 5yr/unlimited mile warranty from the in-service date. I also knew I could buy an extension to that through another dealer that lists the warranty term 'upgrades' online. When I told the finance manager of this, and he proceeded to look into it, he was surprised and told me he'd do it for $100 under the other dealer's cost, which he says was practically his cost. I said I wasn't going to do it today, and asked if that was ok...to which he got a bit confused. After a long explanation, he was basically telling me that he could do it so long as it was before the CPO cert went out to Volvo...Essentially, there's a gap in time between our purchase and their notifying Volvo. If I never purchase the extension through Mitchell, then Mitchell has to pay for the CPO cert...if they upgrade me, I'm the one paying. Anyway...he said he'd call me and we'd do it over the phone...but that never happened.
So, we wait and wait and finally we're on our way out and the salesman we initially dealt with brings out the temp plate. I should note, we arrived at 10:30, and didn't leave until 1:30 for a vehicle we'd provided all info for, had financing and insurance prepped prior to our trip down.. So, the temp plate, it was a piece of paper. A piece of paper scotch taped to the inside of a tinted window. Fortunately we were only ever pulled over once because of it.
Now the fun part. We knew registration with our small town wouldn't be easy. I called once to ask for an update...probably shouldn't have because that made me look like a difficult customer. Finance manager calls me one day and tells me the paperwork would arrive at the Clerk by some date, and proceeds to give me the address to the office. He tells me the wrong town. I inform him that my town and the town he mentioned have the same zip code, but different town clerks, so that wasn't going to work. He said he'd pass that on and told me he'd update me.
Four days later after hearing nothing, I called him. He was incredibly short with me, audibly doing something else while trying to shoo me off the phone. He lazily assured me the third party knew what they were doing. Well, I wanted more concrete info, so I called the third party. The first rep I spoke with was incredibly helpful. He saw that they had sent it to the wrong office, and that it hadn't yet returned. At this point we only had two weeks left before the temp plate expired, and in those two weeks, and limited time for the clerk to receive the package because she'd be on vacation(I learned after calling her prior to driving down). I learned that they do indeed send via FedEx and it would require a signature. The rep said he'd contact the dealer and alert them and get back to me. No one did.
I called RegUSA again, was connected to a women with zero patience for me and she said the packet of info hadn't yet returned from the neighboring towns office. I then called the dealer one more time to speak with the GM. He immediately took a tone with me that implied he was sick of this before we even spoke. He told me to "stop trying to do our job for us, we know what to do with registrations, we've done hundreds and we know the process". When I pointed out "why then did you send it to the wrong office?", his reply was "you're not listening, we have experience here and it will get done, we still have 2 weeks". I let him know the clerk wouldn't be in the office to receive anything unless it was sent out today, and he immediately rolled with that info as if he'd known it all along, and ended the conversation with me. This was Saturday April 29.
The GM called me Monday, tells me they contacted my town clerk after I provided her number and they're going to send everything USPS to the town PO box so that someone can sign for it in her absence. The information would get to her when she returned and we'd have the 1 office day to register the vehicle, because as it happens, that's also the day the temp reg expires. I asked him what happens when the check is for more than the cost of the registration, and he assured me their numbers were perfect and that such a thing never happens.
Had we just been allowed to register the car ourselves, it would have been done 2 days after the purchase. The GM told me in one of our conversations that it's due to preventing "tax fraud", which I don't quite understand how someone who's financing a vehicle could perform, and also doesn't apply to us anyway as we have no sales tax to avoid in NH.
Finally we're registering the car, and the bill is what I'd estimated online, $340.20 for a May-Nov registration, not the $551 they charged us as the dealer. They had sent with the registration info and title, a blank check. So the GM and finance manager don't even know the details of the process, despite their claims. I've called twice to the dealer asking about a check for the difference and have had no return calls in 3 days.
I love the vehicle, but I would never do business with this dealer again. The slimy way in which we were pushed to do things we did not want to do, and lack of actually listening to our concerns should have been red flags for us. They confused us by implying the state of CT could legally fine us for certain documentation, which, when we checked, was simply untrue and was used as a scare tactic to get us to finance with their partner banks. This was the worst experience that myself or my fiance have had with a dealer, primarily for the registration fiasco and how we were treated during the extended process. I have left two messages with the dealer, and in 3 days I have not had a return call. I update this if the dealership decides to reimburse us the difference in registration costs. The saving grace was the receptionists who actually made me feel like I was being listened to.