My fiancé and I were interested in a car for $12.6K before fees and tax. We live 225 miles away (4 hour drive each way), so we wanted to get pricing information and an estimation of the value for a trade-in to determine if it would be worth the trip. We called and explained our situation to a sales rep, Mason. We asked whether we would be able to get the car for $10,000 out the door with a trade-in. He got the year, make, model, mileage, and VIN number from us and said he would check with his manager. We got a call back from Mason, where he said he spoke to his manager and based on the information we provided, he should be able to get us the car for $10,000 out the door. We went to our appointment, provided our car for inspection and test drove the car. To our surprise, the pricing sheet had our car valued at $1,000 for a trade-in for a total of roughly $12.6K. I noted the price difference, and Mason said that it was a different person inspecting the car and that was what they valued the car at. Mason left and returned shortly after with a manager. The manager apologized to us, and said he was not the one present when the phone offer was made. He said he would not be able to give us that previously agreed upon price based on the CarFax history and a previous accident, which we were unaware of. I replied that we previously provided Mason with made, model, mileage, and VIN number to run the vehicle history, and that I was upset that no one contacted us prior to our appointment to notify use that there would be a difference in the price based solely on the CarFAX. It became apparent that no one actually ran the CarFAx before our appointment, and that they misquoted us over the phone. Had we known this, we would not have wasted the time and money to go.
A second manager stepped in. He went on about how his car is priced very aggressively, and that most of his customers drive an hour or so from the nearby bigger cities due to their prices, minimizing our 8-hour roundtrip drive. He said he still must make a profit on the sale, and he could provide us with his cost of the vehicle, but that we would not believe him even if his did. He said it would be impossible for him to give us the car for $10,000 out the door as previously mentioned. He appeared to be more concerned about his profit margins than rectifying the situation to make our experience less negative. We repeated our concerns and what we were told over the phone. He asked us who told us that price, and referred him to Mason. Mason stated that he did check with Don, the manager present that day, and he told Mason that he should be able to get us that price. This manager then stated that he did not believe that the part-time manager Don would have given that price if he had reviewed the car. He stated that he did not want us to feel like we were lied to, and that we must have misunderstood what he meant. He made follow up statements of how Don must have meant that he could match or better any deal that we were offered for our car. He essentially blamed us for misunderstanding the situation and chalked it all up to a miscommunication. He then noted that the sales tax was on the price sheet. He then stated that to make it right, he took off the sales tax (which is a moot point since we still pay it in Florida) and would give an additional $500 for our trade in. We took several minutes to discuss the interaction amongst ourselves, and when we returned the manager was gone.
Our experience with Serra Honda of Sylacauga was highly unprofessional and there were several disconcerting and negative points of the interaction. The second manager we dealt with treated us so discourteously that we would never consider doing business with them.