You expect car dealers to be smarmy, but the pre-owned manager at South Pointe Honda has managed to surprise us.
My partner and I came into SPH for a 1998 Rav4. Given the fact that this car is 23 years old, we expected upcoming maintenance. We were also aware that we are negotiating in low numbers where a few hundred dollars make a difference. We didn’t come to buy a luxury vehicle. The car was advertised on their website for a NET price, suggesting, through this sales rhetoric, an “out the door” price -- all in, so to speak. And with negotiation as a custom in the car sales business, we expected to make - even if minimal - a deal on the car.
During the sales conversation we got to know R. as a self-proclaimed civil servant - who just aims to put people into affordable and reliable cars in this harsh market. He made a point about treating each other as humans and how important his work with used cars is for the community. He is here to help. We started to negotiate with this good samaritan and it quickly became clear that he wasn’t gonna diverge from the advertised price, even by $50 - “though he would, if he could.” I was touched.
We were biting the bullet and thinking of buying at the original price, when the manager informed us that we will also have to pay a $500 Doc fee. At this point, the car was 40% over our price and 20% over the advertised price. The doc fee is entirely up to the manager’s/ dealer’s discretion, and it is, in fact, more than common to take these out as a sign of reasonable compromise. Not our good samaritan, our community friend and helper - he wouldn’t move $50. After all, “this comes out of his bottom line.” Where does he think my money comes out of? He then moved on to explain how this is in the fine print (despite the commonly acknowledged meaning of NET in economics and finance) and he wished he “could indicate this on their website,” AS IF this was not in his power, AS IF transparency is not an ethical philosophy that can be adopted by dealerships. You may not make the system, but you sure are reinforcing it.
SPH’s manager relies on deceptive sales techniques masqueraded by pseudo Christian narratives to ruthlessly exploit the community he vouches to work for. If he didn’t make this grant speech about helping people, we probably wouldn’t have been this offended. He truly did not want to help us.
The salesman Paul (?) seemed nice enough, so that doesn't really matter at this point.