Buying a car would sure be a lot easier if it weren’t for the nonsense at the dealership. These potential buyers share the weird thing a car salesman did that made them say, “No deal.”
“The Golden Palmetto Plan”
“My wife wanted a new car about 30 years ago and saw the ‘perfect’ new car for her. It was the right color, style, etc. She had stopped by and talked to the dealership salesman and had worked out an unbelievable deal for trade on the new car with a very low payment. It was one of those almost ‘too good to be true’ deals.
I went with her to the dealership and sure enough, the deal sounded great, too great. I asked several times, ‘So we trade our car in, pay blah blah each month for three years and the car is ours.’ Each time the salesman agreed. When the dealership went to arrange the monthly payment plan, my wife said she’d rather use her own bank. The salesman, ‘Sure, there’s a phone in the other office and you can use it (pre-cell phone days).
While she was making the arrangements, I asked the salesman one more time about the deal. He said, ‘Sure, you give us your car as trade, and your payments will be ‘blah blah’ for 36 months and then we’ll put you in a new car.’ This was the first time I had heard the last part of his statement. So I asked what do you mean? He said, ‘ It’s your car for 36 months, you turn it in and we’ll put you in a new car, it’s called our Golden Palmetto Plan.’
Since this last part had never been mentioned before, I said, ‘This sounds like a lease.’ He kind of stuttered and stammered around a bit and said, ‘Well, yeah some dealerships call it that but we call it our Golden Palmetto Plan.’
About that time my wife came back into the room to get the vehicle VIN. I told the salesman to tell her what he had just told me. He told her the same story about the Golden Palmetto Plan. She then asked, ‘Well what if I want to keep the car at the end of the three years?’ He said, ‘Oh well, then we’ll make arrangements to sell the car to you’.
I told my wife he’s talking about leasing the car. It was beautiful. I’ve seen my wife mad before and been on the receiving end of her wrath over the last 40 years a few times, but I had never seen her that mad. She tore into that salesman and shredded him like cheese on a grater. I sat there smiling as she blasted him. Finally, I ushered her towards the door and away from the dealership before they had to call the police for the protection of their salesman (LOL).
So yeah, you might say we walked away… briskly.”
Playing The Smooth Talker
“2010 my wife and I went down with the intent to come home with a new Ford Fusion hybrid. We ‘negotiated’ with the sales rep. Not much movement on the car price sort of ticked me off. Financing? He was quoting us ‘probably between 12 and 16%.’ That is with a $10k down. I told him that was asinine. At the time our credit score was around 740, pretty good, not spectacular but well above average. Mr. Smooth’s sales rep asked what I wanted. I told him 0% would be good, that was what we had on our last car at the dealership but figured we would settle for 3%. ‘OH, if I had known you were a previous customer here I wouldn’t have quoted so high. Let me see what the manager says.’
He leaves the little office we are in. I notice the phone is on speaker and probably he is listening from another office. I give my wife the quiet sign and point to the phone. Then I see OUR credit report sitting there and pick it up. The first listing is our home mortgage. The second is our paid-off car loan with Ford.
I say to my wife, with the intent of being heard, ‘It could take another 20 minutes, let’s just relax. We will have to take what they give us.’ Once again I grab OUR credit report and we quietly walk out and drive the five minutes to our home.
We are home about five minutes and my cell phone rings.
‘I think we can reach a deal,’ Mr. Smooth says.
‘Here is the deal,’ I told him. ‘We will never deal with you. I believe you are either incompetent or a liar. You said you had no idea we had previously bought and financed at the dealership. Odd, look at the 2nd item on the credit report.’ I then hung up. I wonder if he was looking on his desk for OUR credit report.
By the way, my wife decided on another make and model and in a few days she had her new car.”
At Least They Got What They Wanted!
“It was 2007. I had a Ford Explorer Sport – not a bad car. My ex-wife decided that she would total the car on her way home from work to entertain herself. The insurance company was actually quite quick and fair with the settlement. I had a check in my hand for more than I thought the car would have brought me. I looked on Craigslist and found a year old Ford Five Hundred listed at a dealer about 30 miles away. I called down to see if the car was still available – I drove down and took it out – it was fine and still under warranty.
We sat down to negotiate price, he named a figure that was $2000 more than advertised on Craigslist. He told me that it was a ‘really sweet deal’.
I said ‘I think that I will pay .. . ‘ and I named the price that was on Craigslist.
He said ‘Oh, we can’t possibly go that low’
I replied ‘I think you will.’
‘Why is that?’ he asked me.
‘Because that is what you advertised it for on Craigslist,’ I told him.
He paused and ask ‘Do you have a copy of the listing?’.
‘I do.’ I told him and pulled the printout out of my pocket.
Not much more was said but I got the car at that price.
Used car salesmen … yuck.”
He Turned Down The Deal Then Immediately Phoned The Police
“I was around 25-years-old, had a great, high paying career, and walked into a Ford dealership in Elkton MD. It was going to be my second brand new car (a new 1985 Mustang) and I was 98% done with the deal. I was led into the sales manager’s office to sign the final paperwork after my brother had dropped me off.
Halfway through our initial conversation the manager opens up his side desk drawer and pulls out a shiny Colt .45 and placed it on his desk. He then said, ‘If I ever have to come looking for our money, I won’t be happy’
I was freaking the heck out. For one thing, I was smart enough to have financed the car through my credit union and had two checks in hand for full payment. (My deposit and the remaining balance.) I wouldn’t owe the dealership a dime when I drove away.
I told him that I was paying for it in full right then and there and he seemed satisfied and his smile came back as the weapon went back into the drawer. But then…
I excused myself.
I quickly left the car lot and walked across the 4 lane highway and walked further on until I found a payphone. I had my brother pick me up and I went home. Called the Maryland State Police and told them what happened. After I explained in detail the situation, they told me that they weren’t sure if a crime was committed, and if I wanted to follow up to contact the State attorney’s office. By then I was over it. The salesman called me and asked me what was going on, and tried to push me to finish the deal saying that I had made a legal commitment and was obligated to purchase the car.
I told him what happened and that there was no way I was going through with the deal and if he needed to take me to court, then go ahead, I’d explain things to a judge. That was the end of it.”
Climbed Into Her Nissan And Drove Away
“One day my wife and I decided to visit the local Kia and Nissan showrooms.
My wife wanted a compact SUV so we went into Kia because they were offering a seven year, 100,000-mile warranty on the (at the time) new Sportage.
She had owned the previous model and liked it.
After lots of discussions and finally informing the salesman we would be paying cash he refused to come down in price and refused to include any freebies such as carpets, or anything like that.
Throughout our discussions, he insisted on telling us what a good deal it was and how we would be crazy not to take it.
His final comment was ‘Surely you cannot be so dumb that you would walk away from this deal over carpets’. I sighed and looked at my wife.
My wife got right in his face and said ‘You just made a mistake. You just will not believe how dumb my husband can be he can be, when he’s ticked off.’
We went straight next door to Nissan and for the same price bought a Nissan Juke with a year’s insurance, carpets, trunk cover, and an upgraded sound system.
A couple of hours later we parked our new Juke right outside the Kia showroom and my wife went off in search of the salesman.
He came out of the back office and said ‘OK, we will throw in the extra carpets but that’s all’
My wife cut him off and said, ‘No, I just came in to show you how dumb my husband is (she pointed to the Juke), and to tell you you are a prick’.
She then climbed into her Nissan and drove away.”
He Finally Got What He Wanted
“Back in 2014, I ordered a 2015 Mazda3 Hatchback. What I wanted, they didn’t have – anywhere in the United States. I wanted a hatchback with all the luxury goodies and a *manual* transmission. It was possible to build such a spec on the Mazda website, but they didn’t have anything available anywhere in the country; it was going to be a special order, and I’d have to wait for it to be built and shipped from Japan. They kept insisting that nobody in this country wanted such a vehicle, and I kept insisting that I was somebody in this country.
I sat down with the salesman, we worked out all the details, I put down a $5000.00 deposit check with them after negotiating a final sale price and every single detail – car color, interior color, options, wheel size and color, and design, engine size, trim color, the whole shebang. Everything was exactly the way I wanted it. This was going to be my very first time buying a brand new car to my specifications, and I was excited to see it finally arrive.
So the day finally came, after four long months of waiting; my car had finally arrived at the dealership (Roger Beasley Mazda South in Austin, Texas). All they had to do was some basic cleanup (it was still wrapped in plastic from the overseas trip!) and final prep, and I’d be ready to pick it up.
And then came the ignorance. They decided that *NOW* they wanted to renegotiate the price. Suddenly they decided they wanted more for the car than we’d agreed on, and they decided the wheels I’d spec’d wouldn’t fit (they would, and they do). I told them I had a deal that everyone had agreed to, and they claimed that the salesman who worked with me was no longer with them, and they weren’t going to honor the deal. So I walked out. One thing they apparently didn’t know about me is that once I negotiate a price, I do not renegotiate.
I drove straight to my bank and put a stop-payment on the deposit check I’d written the dealership; they had never bothered to cash it, and now they would never get the chance. Then I went home and wrote them an email letting them know that they were in breach of contract, and as such I would not be buying this car, or any car, from them, ever. They came back with a lower price, and I informed them that I had already negotiated a fair price that they had decided not to honor, I was not willing to renegotiate since they had broken their word, and good luck selling a car that they claimed nobody in the United States wanted.
The car sat there for a good four months in their showroom, and dang, it was pretty. They even put it on display at the Austin Auto Show at the convention center. I’ve since seen it on the road around Austin a couple times. It still looks great, but so does my 2008 Mazda3 manual hatchback, which I was planning on replacing with this new model. That car is now sitting at 235,000 miles on the odometer, and I’ve decided to keep it and run it until it dies.
Oh, and it never goes anywhere near the dealership. I’ve bought two other Mazda3 models since then, but not from any Roger Beasley stealership.”
Now That’s Just Insulting
“I had a 16-year-old Mercedes 500 SLC that I loved; I bought it from a widow who had had it garaged most of its life. It only had 30,000 miles on it. But it was expensive to keep on the road (think: $400–$500 a pop for routine maintenance), and I wanted a ragtop (lived in Miami).
So I went to the Chrysler dealer with my 6-year-old son to buy a new Le Baron. Everything was going well; paperwork was done and I was just about to pull the trigger. Then the sales manager came by and said, ‘Tell me about your trade. Of course, we have to evaluate it.’
I said, ‘It’s in phenomenal condition; it only has 30,000 miles on it.’ He gave me a conspiratorial, ‘just between us guys’ wink and said, ‘You mean 130,000 miles, right?’
I stood up and told my son, ‘C’mon, we’re outta here.’
He said, ‘Aren’t we gonna buy the convertible?’
I said, ‘Yes, but not here. That man just called me a liar.’
I’d like to have seen the conversation between the salesman and his manager after we left.”
“Here is what happened to my husband and me. This happened in the evening.
Went to a dealership, and a young salesman helped us. We found a car and the three of us went for a test drive.
Back in the office area the salesman and my husband were discussing the price. My husband would write down an amount, the salesman would say let me talk to the Manager.
If our offer was too low they would discuss it. The salesman would look at me as if to plead ‘ come on lady, this is where the wife tells her husband she wants the car’
I knew we were getting a new car. That day, week, or a few months later. There was one in my very near future. So I didn’t chime in.
After my husband made another offer ( and to be honest I think he was getting a kick out of this) the salesman got up saying he needed to speak to his manager.
Our backs were to them so we didn’t see or hear anything. After about two minutes all the lights were shut off leaving us completely in the dark with a freaked-out look on our faces!
So we took the hint, got up, and walked out the door.
There were a few salespeople standing near the door smoking and talking watching us as we left
We did buy the same car we test drove at another dealership and got a great deal on it. Went earlier in the day this time.”
Better To Give It Away Then Sell It For Cheap
“We didn’t even get to the negotiation. I called a local dealer who sold used cars, with an emphasis on specialty (like classic Mercedes), restored, and muscle cars, and asked if they accepted consignments. They said, ‘sure, come in.’
This is important. This was not me wanting to sell to them, but a consignment sale, which I have done successfully twice before. I have even bought consignment vehicles. Consignment usually means an ‘as is’ sale.
Any ignorance involved would be by them making assertions so obviously wrong that I would be a fool to accept and me thinking a consignment deal could be mutually beneficial. It was clear they were interested in a ridiculous low-ball sale and not a consignment.
Here is a summary; after I explained the condition of the 1995 Jeep (having recently put almost $4,000 into it).
The salesman yelled out to another salesman who was watching some distance away.
‘Bob, it has 31′ tires. People don’t want those big tires, right?’
‘Hey, Bob, it’s only a 4 cylinder- nobody wants a 4 right? They want a six.’
‘Also, Bob it’s a white Jeep – that’s not gonna sell right?’
And a few more similar statements like this.
Ok. I got the idea. I left with my Jeep that had mag wheels with new tires, header, custom seats, top new suspension components, replaced engine parts, new performance radiator, rhino lined inside, and more.
I wasn’t going to accept their assertions and let it go for $2,000 (or less). I should have known better, right? They assured me nobody would pay for improvements and restoration like I have no idea what clean and low mileage Jeeps go for.
I gave it to a grandson for free – his first car.
I want to add I bought this vehicle when it was two years old. Both my children learned to drive in this car. Later, I gave it to my son, then bought it back from him, then I fixed it up.
There is another detail that explains why I gave it to a grandson. When I was in the process of trying to sell it, he was too young to drive. After the games with the dealer. I did sell it for a low price of $3,000 to a private party. Check Jeep prices, that is a very low price. After a week, the woman complained about a minor problem (it needed a new relay – very inexpensive). So, I took it back and refunded her money. Somehow, the Jeep came back with some very mild damage, that I repaired – and the jack was missing. So, all in all, I just was tired of the hassle of it all. I gave him the Jeep and he had to wait for him when he got his permit.
I should note, it is not seriously modded like many Jeeps, just more restored and I guess changed (no carpets but rhino liner) and upgraded replacement parts here and there, seats, and engine parts like intake, header, plugs, and injectors – and, of course, 31” tires!”
“Don’t Treat Me Like A Chump.”
“It was what the sales manager said to me that rubbed me the wrong way.
Years ago I had my eyes on a new car. It was a specific model that I wanted. It was a sport-utility crossover vehicle. Something that had enough pickup and cargo room so I did my research, figured out how much it was worth and how much I could get it for.
I march down to the dealership, go through the process of doing a test drive and liked how it felt so I went through with the song and dance. The young slickster I was dealing with I didn’t particularly like. He’s being too friendly, a little too ‘used car salesmen’ if you catch my drift but a lot of salesmen are like that so I ignore it.
He says that he needs to speak to his sales manager which is always a red flag, The manager comes in, scribbles a number down on the paper and hands it to me and says, as he’s doing this, ‘I have so many numbers running through my head that I don’t know if this is a good deal for you or me, ‘ and followed it up with a laugh.
I looked at the number and it was about $2000 more than what I was willing to spend. Not that I cared at that point because seriously what he said was insulting.
I looked him in the eye and said, ‘Does that line ever work?’ He looked confused. I continued, ‘You’re the sales manager of a dealership. You should know, more or less, the exact price of every single car on the premises to at least the closest $1000. ‘
I crumpled the paper, threw it in the trash, and walked out. They tried to follow me, apologizing and saying they could give me a better deal but I was having none of it.
Don’t treat me like a chump. Be honest and I’ll happily do business with you.”
Five Points. No More, No Less.
“I was co-signing a loan for my son who had been to the dealer alone. They offered the manufacturer’s 1.9% financing and $1,000 for his old car during his prior visit.
We went in to sign the paperwork, provide a check, etc.
As I was reviewing the paperwork the trade-in was $250 and the finance rate was 6.9%. We were told the trade-in was a mess and due to my son’s score dictated the higher rate. That was the last straw for me.
I stated to the dealer that we agreed to these terms and I was co-signing the loan to qualify for the manufacturer’s rate. I asked for a pen as they believed we were ready to sign.
I got up and ripped the contract into pieces and dropped them in the trash and headed to the door. Four people blocked us at the door.
‘Where are you going?’ they asked.
‘I’m going to call the other local Toyota dealer and tell them you have the car we want in your inventory and I’m sure they’ll have the paperwork ready when we get there,’ I replied.
As they followed us into the parking lot they asked what they did wrong.
Fools! I smiled and listed off my issues:
‘One, $1,250 for the trade-in. Two, the 1.9% financing. Three, a reduction in the price of the car. Four, I’ll only speak to a decision-maker (i.e. owner or general manager). And five, the new contract ready in five minutes.’
Long story short, we got what we wanted as they met our terms.
Here’s an observation if I have to go into a dealership and all the salespeople are very new and don’t yet have business cards – beware. It could mean a lack of commitment by ownership and/or unrealistic starting goals.”