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Readers Respond: Car dealership horror stories

Responses: 89


Rides Unlimited will hide it to sell it

I bought a '02 Subaru Forester thru EBAY from *************. 2 days after I got the car, I called (seller) & told him that it had a check eng. light on, & the car was running badly. A diagnostic showed the front O2 sensor was bad & the computer was cleared a few days prior to my receipt of the vehicle. Adam admitted the Check eng. light had come on & had it forcibly cleared by his mechanic. The seller was aware of this problem & didn't disclose it. He also said I have no case because the car was listed "ASIS" & that he wouldn't reimburse me for the diag. & rep. The car WASN'T listed "ASIS" on the auction page. I also pointed out to him, at that time, that the rt rear wheel bearing was shot & the Lt front CV joint has to be replaced. All I wanted was the cost of the diag. and rep. of the O2 sensor. He said he'd call me & never did. Also power/ heated mirrors broken, htd seats broken, clock broken, all fixed by me, so I won't even recoup that.
—Guest SteveM

The customer isn't always right!!!

I've heard lots of stories about being hosed by dealers but having worked for a dealership in the service dept for 30+ years, I've seen a lot of crap from the customers. I remember getting a truck in for a major transmission failure and he was on the phone every half hour wanting to know if it was done yet. He finally told me the following morning that it had better be ready by 3:00 that afternoon and he was coming to get it. I told him that he'd better bring a scoop shovel and a tow truck because the parts were still in transit. So many customers don't realize what it takes to keep a dealership running. I've seen people try squeezing the price of a new car below cost and it gives me great pleasure to see our salesman show the pompous ass the door and tell him not to let it hit him in the backside on his way out. We've got customers we've had for more than those 30 years and they all ask for a deal that makes everyone happy.

Too Greedy

I have worked for a used car dealer for about a year (detailing/minor repairs) and he seemed like a good (christian) type of person. He would even offer to fix a few problems with the cars after purchase. But after later observations I feel very differently. He buys most his cars from auction and sells them for 3 to 4 times what he had paid. The trade in value he gives to buyers is dirt cheap and the repairs that he does offer are only offered if they buy it at his unreasonable high price. The "mechanic" that fixes it does it on his lot (illegally) and he pays him less than a 5th of what a real mechanic makes. What lost my respect for this person was when he purchased a nice AWD luxury model for only only 6k. My sister was looking to get into a similar car so I asked him to see if he could work out real good deal with her for me. She has a nice 5 y/o coupe very low miles, xlnt condition. He offers her 3k < value for her trade in and wants $13k for his $6k 8 y/o car.

Dealers, gotta love them

The worst Dealer visit Huh? Maybe the time when I showed up at a dealership near me looking for a car fo my daughter., i was in my work clothes and driving my old work car. Most salespeople pretended not to see me but the one that did wanted a $100.00 deposit to show me some cars. By the time I finished screaming the showroom was empty. Or maybe the time when i bought a car from a large dealer just over the state line and when I took the car in for some work that was promised to be done before I bought it(and not done correctly) for the third time (a window winder cable replacement)I got a call from the Service Dept that the drivers side window had broken and it was not their fault. They said" Sometimes those things Hoppen' I argued but they would not budge. By the time the lawyer got through with them the Dealer himself was calling me to apologize. Apparently my Attorney had just finished suing them for a car sold with a defective title and had gotten a new car for someone.

Making the Deal

After looking at all the differnt models available I was ready. Prior to going in I priced it out on the internet and set my goal at $100 dollars above dealer's cost. Once I identified the van with the options I wanted and was told by the salesman that there was a $2400 instant rebate we began to haggle. Back and forth he went to the Sales Manager. Soon the Sales Manager was the one going back and forth to the Owner. We had a 5k difference in the beginning. At about half of the difference the Owner comes out and says he can't go lower and why couldn't he convince me. I showed him the readout. I explained that I was aware of the mark-up on dealer's cost and that they received rebates from the manufacture. I got him down to 2k above the price I wanted and he told me that if I didn't like it buy it from the internet, but then I wouldn't be able to get it serviced. I laughed and said that his service dept would do it. $400 under my price was the deal, they forgot to figure my rebate
—Guest wheelnut54


YEars ago, I bought a brand new Riviera. I noticed the drivers door wasn't aligned. The service manager said "Okay, we'll fix it. Go wait in the waiting room" We all know what they looked like! I went to the restroom. When I was on my way to the "waiting room'. I heard the service manager tell a worker. "Put that new Riv in the corner and call her in an hour." I took my car to a different dealer. Last year, I was at the refreshment counter at my Lexus dealer when the salesman came over to chat. He was on a roll with, "You don't need two cars, you need one new one, it's two years old, time for a new one." I told him I was tired of calling AAA to recharge the battery. Remove the theft thingy and return my money. Of course, he refused. I went over to Acura and bought an MDX. A Ford dealer told me to bring my husband if I wanted to see a new car. It is interesting being a woman.
—Guest Catherine Smith

No trade

I was told by dealership to have my current car repoed since by the time the car they were selling me was paid off it would not affect my credit.

April Fools? NOT.

After buying a new Mazda GLC at the dealership I agreed to pick it up the following day so they would have time to prep and apply Rusty Jones rust proofing. When I arrived to pick up my new car I was greeted outside the dealership by my salesman who said "I've got some bad news for you...your Mazda fell off the lift while the techs. were undercoating it and it's lying on it's roof. Well, it was April Fools Day and I replied to the salesman "Funny, "April Fools" ...nice try!" I followed him to the service garages and there was my little GLC laying upside down in a sea of broken glass. The attending tech. came to me and appologized explaining that the car had actually slid off the lift from a height of 6'. The lift pads had not been properly positioned under the car...thank goodness nobody was injured. The salesman offered me a new replacement with a better options package for the same price as the Fatality. I agreed and told him to skip the Rusty Jones...I left that day with my new car.
—Guest ramyota

Indimidating dealer

So I go to the local Ford dealer in Trenton because I just had to have this truck. It was 1992 and the Ford F-150 Flareside was calling me. So, I test drive the thing and kick the tires or whatever I did and it was so very clear to everyone that I was buying the truck. The salesman offered me the truck at $18,500 (roughly) and I tried something like $16,250. So, we went back and forth for a while (the salesman was a kid, like me) and he disappeared to talk to manager and he returns with the owner of the dealership. The owner was so mad that the deal hadn't closed yet. He took the keys, slammed them on the table and said, quite loudly and firmly, "Take the truck to any other Ford dealer and if you get a better deal buy it from them." and then he stormed out. I said to the salesman "Do I really take the truck and go?" And he said, "I don't know." So I bought it from the same guy because I just had to have it.
—Guest Bob

Parent's Nightmare

This happened at a Dodge dealership several years ago to my parents. They were interested in purchasing a Dodge pick-up. They picked out a vehicle and requested a trade in for their used vehicle. During the haggling my parents determined the deal was not any good and wanted to walk away. The salesman and sales manager continued pressure them. my mom told them she was a diabetic and need to get something to eat. The salesman brought her a orange juice and a sandwich. Still convinced the deal was not for them they got up to leave and went to get in their car. The salesman took the keys to their vehicle and threw them on the roof of the dealership. Unfortunately my parent's gave up and bought the truck paying way to much for it.
—Guest Kevin

Swiss Fenders

I recently purchased my first GM vehicle. A fully-loaded GMC Sierra All Terrain. I returned the vehicle to the service department to have splash guards installed. Rather than remove the screws inside the front wheel well and use those same screws to install the guard, the "GM Certified Technician" put the guard over those screws and proceeded to drill new pilot holes into the fender for additional screws. When the guards didn't fit flush with the outside of the fender, he proceeded to drill more holes (including into the paint) to attempt to pull the guard closer to the body. Needless to say, that didn't work either so after one week of ownership I had a truck with fenders that wouldn't last through one upstate NY winter. After several offers at solutions, calls to GM (who would do nothing about it) and several lawyers the dealer replaced my fenders with the fenders of another truck of the same color on their lot. Good luck to the person that got that truck!!
—Guest Justin

Long Term Customer Lost

My brother in law is a salesperson who spends a lot of time on the road. (As an aside, he's always bought Caddys, and from the same salesperson that his father bought all his Caddys from). Last year while travelling he took his car into the main Caddilac dealership in the city for an oil change. When he got the car back he was heading off to his next appointment and the engine failed! The delaer (surprisingly) admitted that they had not put enough oil in the engine. The mechanic didn't realize it was a manual trans and that requires more oil. So they were going to replace his engine and give him a loaner. Don't forget he travels for work... Three days later they call to say even though his car is not ready, they need the loaner back or they will charge him extra per day! Rather than give them any more profit for their mistake, he drove three hours back to the dealer that night and returned the loaner. A year later that car is still for sale in the drieway beside his new Infiniti.
—Guest Brian

Mocked by a BMW dealer

A friend of mine told me this story about visiting a BMW dealer a couple of years after getting out of college, looking for his first new (or used) car. The salesman took one look at him and said, "Let me guess. You just got your first job and now you want a BMW. You can stop looking; you can't afford anything here." So he went across the street and bought a new Mercedes C280.
—Guest Bryan

left town to buy car

My wife and I bought a Hyundai Elantra Touring a few months back and we actually drove over a mountain 50 kms away from our city rather than buy if from the dealership just down the street. We originally went in, got a price "all in", went back three times to look at the car and each time confirmed the price was $20,000 "all in". When we went to buy it we were told that it wasn't $20,000 “all in” but $23,000. The sales manager said we were wasting their time because we'd been in 3 or 4 times to look at the car. Each time I went in I told them I didn't need any help I just wanted to look at the car. Since the car was new there wasn't any other place to see it. Before that I didn’t know that Hyundai had a limit to the amount of times you could look at one of their cars. I called Hyundai to complain but they said dealers could act however they wanted. The dealership we bought the car from told us that every week they had a parade of people driving way out of their way to buy a Hyundai.
—Guest Victoria Mark

Bad VW "Specialist" dealer

Bought a used VW Golf TDi from a so called VW TDi "Specialist". It was "fully inspected" before it was sold and had a 1 year "warranty". Yeah. Within 3 weeks it blew the turbo out, had a glow plug harness go bad, bad horn, trans problem, bad brakes, a rebuilt head, wrong vacuum lines, wrong (non diesel) coolant, non functional headlights that were flopping around loose, no turbo heat shield, a clutch fixed with hair spray (it works...temporarily), an undisclosed accident, and a bad rear shock and bushings. A pull to the right during the test drive was "fixed" via 15 psi in the left. $5K in repairs which they wouldn't cover except the $60 harness and the horn. Owner cursed at me when I confronted him. I said forget it, reported them, took it to a REAL TDi specialist, told them to fix it and turn it into a fire breathing TDi with 2X the Horsepower. As a well known business owner, I've now stopped at least 20 people from buying cars from them. They lost more than they gained. Big Mistake
—Guest Kevin From Bellingham

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