October 15, 2010

Fact is Better: Used Car Sales Men Who Live Up to Their Stereotype

My car was dying and Uncle Mechanic suggested that I retire her and get a new car. Unfortunately, getting a new (to me) car wasn't easy. I still owed $3600 on my Taurus, had no money to put down, and didn't want to pay more than $250 a month for payments. As a result, the banks only approved me for a $10,000 - and because of equity and book value and tax and a whole bunch of other factors I don't really understand, my options were extremely limited.

As in, only one car in the state of Maine seemed to fit the criteria: a 2008 Ford Fusion that I wasn't particularly fond of, but I did the paperwork and everything came back to really work in my favor.

However, unsatisfied with my options, I looked around and came across another car that fit my very strict parameters - a 2007 Hyundai Elantra at a different dealer. So, I called this other dealership up and told some guy Mike my predicament. He had me come in to test drive the car.

I ended up having one of the worst customer service experiences of my life.

*I park the 2007 Hyundai Elantra in front of the office after test driving it and walk back into the lobby where a young mechanic is sitting behind the desk*
Punk Mechanic Kid: “What?”
Me: *looks strangely at him* “Um, I just test drove that car and I wanted to . . ."
Mike the Sleezy Used Car Sales Man: *tilts his head around the corner - he’s on the phone* “Yo, yeah, come on back.”
Me: *walks back to his office and takes a seat in front of his desk, he’s still on the phone not saying anything.* “So . . .” *he holds up the “one minute sign”*

Nine or ten minutes later of silence. . .

Me: *becoming extremely annoyed* “Listen, are we gonna do paperwork or . . .”
Mike the Sleezy UCSM: *still on the phone – still not talking – sighs heavily and gets up. He walks back to a different office and pokes around in some files. A younger salesman comes around the corner.*
Patronizing UCSM: “Hey, did you like the Elantra?”
Me: “Yeah, it was a beautiful ride. My only concern was the inspection sticker. It seems to be up this month?”
Patronizing UCSM: “Was it blue?”
Me: *I instantly realize that I hadn't noticed it was the correct year* “Oh! Yes! It was! Duh – sorry, I was only looking at the mo . . .”
Patronizing UCSM: *clasps his hands and looks down at me* “An inspection sticker is something the car gets after a mechanic has approved it’s safety. Every year, the sticker’s are different colors, and in big . . . boooollllllllld . . . letters it says the year its good for. The little cut out around the sticker is the month it was inspected in."
Me: *stares at him in disbelief* “Are you kidding me right now? I know what an inspection sticker is.”
Patronizing UCSM: “Mmhmm, okay . . .” *goes back into his office*
*Five minutes later Mike the Sleezy UCSM walks back and collapses in his chair with the credit application. STILL ON THE PHONE. STILL NOT TALKING. Looks up at me annoyed.* “Your name?”
Me: “Are you . . . on the phone, or . . .?”
Mike the Sleezy UCSM: *sighs heavily again and slams the receiver down.* “NAME?”
*we go through the application together, he grows more irritated with every question. When the application is filled, he gets up and hands it off the younger, patronizing salesman.* “Here, run this.” *He sits back down in front of me.*
Me: “Like I had mentioned on the phone, I’ve already done a credit application at a different dealership and several banks have approved me, but for only $10,000. So . ..”
*Mike the Sleezy UCSM suddenly gets up, goes into the lobby where a new customer has showed up, takes them past me to another office, and shuts the door.*

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

*Completely confused I just sit there. After about twenty-seven minutes of just sitting there wondering what the heck just happened and being completely and intentionally ignored, I get up and storm into the younger, patronizing salesman’s office.*
Me: “Um, is he coming back, or . . .?”
Patronizing UCSM: “Should be. Why don’t you just have a seat . . .”
Me: “Yeah, I'm not gonna do that. I’ve just sat there for nearly a half hour waiting. He got up and got a new customer. I basically feel like I’ve just been hung out to dry.”
Patronizing UCSM: “I don't think you've been hung out to dry.”
Me: “I'm being IGNORED. And I’ve been treated rudely and ignorantly since I’ve been here. MY UNCLE’S A FRIGGEN MECHANIC. I know a thing or two about cars. I'm here to GIVE YOU MY BUSINESS, but not if you’re going to be douchebags.”
Patronizing UCSM: *sighs heavily* “Well, I ran your credit report, and it’s pretty good. I’m sure we could get you into that 2009 Hyundai Elantra.”
Me: “2007. It's the 2007 Hyundai Elantra. As I mentioned in an email, and on the phone, and several times while you people tried to force me to test drive a 2006 Hyundai Accent. I need something under $10,000 - something I also mentioned multiple times."
Patronizing UCSM: “Well, I think the 2009 would be a great option.”
Me: “How much is the 2009?”
Patronizing UCSM: “$13,000”
Me: “Now, is that more than $10,000?”
Patronizing UCSM: *rolls his eyes* “We can apply to banks and see what they say.”
Me: “I’ve already done this with the other car dealership! Like I’ve already said. But let me repeat it AGAIN for you: I still owe $3600 on the car I have now, the banks will only approve me for $10,000. So, I need to find a car that’s under $10,000 and newer than a 2006 – the 2007 Hyundai Elantra fits those parameters.”
Patronizing UCSM: “I think you might be wrong. I really think we can get you in toe 2009. Let us send the application to the banks. It doesn’t happen instantly, but we should get a quote soon.”
Me: “You’re not listening, and that’s fine. I’m going to test drive the Ford Fusion at the other car dealership where we’ve already done this paperwork crap, and I know I can get the car for $236 a month.”
Patronizing UCSM: “The car is $9999?”
Me: “Yes.”
Patronizing UCSM: “No money down?”
Me: “Yes.”
Patronizing UCSM: “And you’re trading in your car that you owe $3,600 on?”
Me: “YES.”
Patronizing UCSM: *starts laughing meanly* “They’re swindling you. There’s absolutely no way they can work out a deal like that.”
Me: *I pull out the information they gave me and quote it verbatim to the guy.*
Patronizing UCSM: “Oh . .. so do you want to test drive our Fusion?”
Me: “Nope. I want to test drive their Fusion.”
Patronizing UCSM: “You know what, why don't you just go buy their Fusion.”
Me: "That's exactly what I'm gonna do."

True story.

Further proof that fact is better (and more frustrating) than fiction.