Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Car Shopping...Grrrrrr

So, my third daughter is 15 1/2. She's ready to get her driving permit. You'd think since I've been through this twice already I'd be ready for the whole study the driver's handbook, practice driving, and shopping for a car routine. You'd think. Personally, I'm having a harder time not an easier one. Not sure why.

But in the spirit of teaching our children to fly...er, drive, I'm a team player.

Which is why hubby and I were at a local car lot looking at cars this afternoon. Now, I won't mention the lot by name (just think King Arthur and a certain magical sword!), but it was the first time we'd ever visited this particular business. An ad ran in Saturday's paper and enticed us, I must admit.

We stopped by the lot last night on the way home from hubby's birthday dinner. It was dark, cold, and late. Hubby looked at the car, spoke to the "Sales Manager." He tried to immediately interest my hubby in a different car. Hubby told him he was inerested in this specific car. Then spoke to a different salesman, made an offer, and shook hands on the price. We made plans to come down today to drive the car. If it drove as well as it looked, we'd buy it.

Imagine our surprise when we showed up, after calling our salesman "Ted" to meet us at the lot (on his day off I might add!), and the car was gone. No, it hadn't been sold. The car had been sent to auction!!! WTH?

"Ted" apologized profusely. Apparently there was a miscommunication about which car we were interested in. It was sent to auction by mistake. Huh. We began to wonder. The "helpful" sales manager tried to deflect our interest in the original car by suggesting a couple of others. One was an absolute no. Older with more miles...right, like I'd want that car for my daughter. I'm trying to help her get through high school and college without having a car payment or huge mechanic bills.

The other car was a decent deal. It had possibilities. Unfortunately, the sales manager wouldn't meet our counter offer (a difference of only 50-100 bucks). That was surprising considering the error they'd already made in dealing with us.

It also was telling in regard to the dealership and its "customer relations" practices. After we turned down their offer, the sales manager rudely yelled, "That's what you wanted." My husband responded, "No, what I wanted was the car you sent to auction." The owner stepped toward us and said, "That car's not coming back from auction. It's already been sold to the guy running the auction. I'll bring it back if it doesn't sell, but it's going to sell."

No frickin' kidding it's gonna sell. It was a great deal.

Interesting that a guy running an auction bought the car less than 72 hours after the ad came out. Then considering the "Sales Manager" was immediately trying to pitch us another car the night before made us wonder. We figured the owner ran the ad to get people in, knowing it was already sold. Shady and unethical business practices. Unbelievably crappy customer relations.

Consequently, we're still looking for a car. That's okay. We're patient.

As for the "King Arthur's magic sword" dealership, we'll never go back.

Business transactions require trust.

Never trust a liar.

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