Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Car Dealers Suck - Part I

I am in the process of trying to replace my 1997 Geo Prizm. Much has been written in this blog about the adventures of my wreck of a car, but it's time to move on. I have done my research and decided to buy a new  Hyundai Sonata 2011. For the past 3 months I have been trying to put this decision into practice, but to no avail. I have been doing my shopping and price comparisons primarily online, but that did not help me to avoid the antics, stupidity and plain ugly practices of Hyundai car dealers of Northern California. Below is the first of two posts on the topic.

My first incident happened about 3 months ago, and involved a quote I received from a Bay Area dealer. It looked good on paper and after comparing prices I was ready to do the deal. When the time came to close, the dealer tried to get me to pay significantly more than the price he quoted me by pretending taxes, registration and fees were higher than they were in reality. I'm not that stupid, I came prepared. I brought with me a complete list of all government taxes and fees, which I got from the California DMV website. When I confronted the dealer, he "explained" that the car he was selling me had more features and options than the one I wanted to buy and which he originally quoted to me in writing. I left, but that wasn't the end of it.

A couple of days after I walked out, one of the workers at the dealership left a voicemail on my cell phone, asking me to call back to do the deal. Thinking he hung up on the call, he continued talking to his boss, while my voicemail was still recording. In the recording the two are clearly heard discussing how it's a great strategy to give a low quote in email correspondence, only to change it later on. They called it "a hook".

Needless to say, I never called the idiots back. Incidentally, the name of that dealership is Magnussen's Hyundai, and it is located in Fremont California. I would strongly advise my readers to avoid those would be con-artists.

Now, if you can believe it, today I had an even more outrageous incident at Steven's Creek Hyundai. I would advise you right now to stay the hell away from those dishonest peddlers, but I'll tell you the details in part 2 of the story. Stay tuned.

Enjoyed this post? Please consider subscribing to Money and Such by free RSS Feed or by email. You can also follow me on Twitter.


Kim Stiens said...

Question: I've heard that its simply not a good deal to buy a new car, given how fast they depreciate (that you could get a 2010 Hyundai for so much less, etc). But you're a smart guy whose advice I often follow. What made it attractive to you?

Shadox said...

Kim - let me start by saying that when (if) I end up buying this car, it would be the first new car I ever owned. Alpaca and I typically buy a 2 or 3 year old car and drive for as long as it lasts.

However, the Hyundai's have been changing a lot in recent years. In a previous comment I think you mentioned that they used to be considered nothing more than jokes. Well - the newest models have been getting great reviews, but if you go back a few years, the reviews aren't that awesome.

The 2011 offers some significant safety rating improvements over older models (incl. the 2010 model), and since the price difference is pretty small, I decided to go for it.

It's not typically my buying behavior. I still believe that it would be more cost effective to buy a late model used vehicle, but we decided to go for it in this case.

Money Beagle said...

A couple of the local news channels here will run stories about stuff like that. You might want to contact some of the news stations if you still have the voicemail. It could definitely make things interesting for that dealer and maybe get them to change their ways. Just a thought.

Shadox said...

Yes - I thought about it too late, I already deleted the VM... that would have made a nice segment on the 10 o'clock news...

Frances said...

Instead of talking to Fremont car dealers, you might wish to talk to car owners.