By on December 2, 2021

No one reading this will assert the current environment is anything but a seller’s market. Numerous vehicles are being hawked for many thousands (in some cases, tens of thousands) over sticker and a vast amount of machines are pre-sold before they arrive at dealerships on the back of a hauler. And all that assumes there are any rigs to be had at all.

One customer north of the border is alleging they have been denied the opportunity to buy a vehicle unless they also agreed to take roughly $3,000 worth of warranties and rustproofing. The dealer, of course, denies it all.

According to Global News in Ontario, customer Joo-Young Kim alleges he was told he’d have to pop for those items after agreeing, via telephone, to a $57,000 transaction price for a 2021 Toyota Highlander. After arriving at the dealer, Toyota on the Park which is located in North York just outside of Toronto, Kim says he asked for a set of floor mats to be thrown in with the deal. We’ll note here that, in our current bizzarro world of vehicle economics, the answer from The Tower is likely to be a hard ‘no’.

Nevertheless, ask he did. And when the sales rep returned to Kim after a quick discussion with someone who’s actually able to make a decision, the asking price had apparently risen by over $3,000 to “$60,000 and change”. In what we can imagine was a conversation with plenty of sputtering, Kim says he learned he’d “have to purchase extended warranty and rust-proofing or they won’t sell me the car”.

Kim further claims he asked the salesperson to revisit the business manager’s desk for clarity. “One minute later he came back and said, ‘No, the business manager is firm: we’re not going to sell you the car unless you purchase extended warranty and rust-proofing,’” said Kim. He refused.

When contacted by Global, Matt Treacy – the GM for the place – refused to be interviewed on camera (there’s a surprise) but denied the whole thing. “I’ve not been able to confirm that same story at my end,” he told the Canadian news outlet, presumably while printing up fresh batches of TruCoat brochures and neatly arranging his golf trophies. He did say the situation was likely “poorly handled” in some respects, which is a damning statement to make in reference to either the business manager or sales rep. Since sh*t tends to run downhill, you can bet the profitable business office won’t take the flack for this at tomorrow’s morning sales meeting.

Look, there’s no doubt that dealers are currently very much in the driver’s seat and are free to charge whatever the hell they want for what few machines they have on their lot (or showing up on next week’s truck). Allegations abound of customers ordering a particular vehicle only to find the asking price has been jacked skyward once the paperwork has been drawn up, a phenomenon affecting popular rigs like the new Bronco.

But your author has toiled in the front end of a new-car store for too many years to disbelieve that, in a fit of profit-seeking, a business manager wouldn’t at least think about trying to pencil a leg or hold a few points. In the current climate, that temptation is surely greater. Absent any hard proof, of course, we will not say with certainty this happened at Toyota on the Park. We’ll leave you, the B&B, to draw your own conclusions.

[Image: Toyota]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

54 Comments on “You Gotta Take the TruCoat: Toyota Customer Alleges Dealer Bad Behavior...”


  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Though not a rip-off, the dealership where my youngest daughter is currently employed just sold a new Jeep Grand Wagoneer with a dealer added $30k markup. She told me that the customer didn’t even blink at the price and closed the deal fairly quickly. She also said that her co-worker who made the sale, still, days later, cannot wipe the smile off his face.

  • avatar
    mcs

    My son’s Toyota salesman was definitely a crook. In addition to trying to screw him on the paint protection, the salesman was wanted by the FBI for bank robbery. My son lost out on $10k. He should have followed the rule that prior to going to a car dealership, always study the FBI’s most wanted list first. If he had done that, he could have collected the $10k reward.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/theodore-john-conrad-thomas-randele-bank-robber-most-wanted-fugitives-identified/

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “the rule that prior to going to a car dealership, always study the FBI’s most wanted list first.”

      Good wisdom to go by in all situations TBH.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Is it typical practice for car dealerships to not drug test or background check job applicants?

      Not checking to see if that new hire is on a terrorist watch list or if they’ve been convicted of fraud, embezzlement or a violent crime and did time seems the height of stupidity.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Dealerships don’t care. Some of the best car salesmen are felons.

      • 0 avatar
        JRED

        That guy had changed his identity after the seemingly successful bank robbery scheme.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @jk:

        Funny story – WAY back in the day, when I was selling cars, I interviewed with a Chevrolet store. The first and only thing the sales manager asked me was whether I was on drugs. He said something to this effect: “I don’t care whether you shoot heroin into your c*ck after work – just don’t do it here.” Needless to say, I didn’t go to work there.

        The place I did go to work for had more than its’ share of creeps, drunks, and child support dodgers. My office-mate was a cokehead. He’d come in first thing in the morning looking like Nikki Sixx right after the paramedics kickstarted his heart. Then he’d excuse himself to the bathroom, and would come back in a couple of minutes ready to run a triathlon.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Why should any employee have to submit to a drug test to sell cars? Pilots, sure. An employer does not have the right to invade a person’s private life for no reason.

        Dealers are, for the most part, scum. Period. There are certainly exceptions to that rule – I found one when I bought my C7 when they were hot – but not after interacting with several scum stealerships along the way.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenn

        When I walked by the open door of the GM’s office at a SoCal Toyota dealer, the day I took delivery of my 4Runner, there was a group of dark-haired men in black suits standing around the GM sitting at his desk. It looked like a meeting of people who make deals you can’t refuse.

    • 0 avatar

      That FBJ thing is a baloney. In this new woke culture bank robbery is a respected profession. FBI is busy with fighting global warming and arresting Drump supporters.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        Please post any example of ‘Woke’ leaders who condone bank robbery. Oh, you just made sh!t up because facts don’t support your feelings? Just say that, then.

        And, yeah, Drumpf supporters (over 600?) have been arrested for illegally breaking into the Capitol in order to stop the electoral process. They tried to stop Democracy, which some of us still value, even if you don’t. Sure, many were too stupid to be part of an organized plot, and that’s why they’re charged with misdemeanors. Now, if the parties had been reversed, and brown folks had stormed the capitol to keep any Republican from being elected… well, I’m sure you’d be just as dismissive… I am completely certain. Absolutely. For sure. Because you sound fair. Completely.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ILO – you have worn out the woke bit…try something new.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      They’re all bank robbers. Some just haven’t gotten around to actually robbing their first bank. Give them time.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Shady dealings in the F&I office? The hell you say!

    Shenanigans like this are probably even more common now than they have been, with the current supply chain issues.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “via telephone”
    “Kim says he asked for a set of floor mats to be thrown in with the deal.”
    “we’re not going to sell you the car unless you purchase extended warranty and rust-proofing”

    So it is apparently 1993 in Canada?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    But, did the guy get his floor mats?

    This is a rather mild case of dealer gouging which has been going on since the first dealer up-charged a guy $5 for VIN etching on his Model T. There is no deal until it’s in writing and your only recourse is to never do business with that dealer again

    Unless you absolutely have to buy a car or walk to work now is not the time to buy any car. I’ve been trying to talk my 94 year old dad into selling his 2011 Impala, Carmax will give him $7700 for it, but even though he no longer drives he will not give up that Chevy

  • avatar
    KOKing

    The first dealer I saw for my CTR told me ‘no ADM’ via email, but when I went, sure, there was no ADM, but there was $20k or mandatory addons. About half the others were the same, but that first one was the most egregious.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Am looking to buy a car now. Shift is selling a car I’m interested in, and when you click on the hot link for taxes and fees, I found a line item on all of their cars labeled “Shift Service Fee”. It’s $1200 on this car.

    https://shift.com/car/2018-gray-lexus-is/c115595

    Tempted to call the FTC, as this seems pressing the lines of legality. Definitely in the same ethical camp as resort fees at hotels not being included in the room rate.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    I could swear the “shortage” is the car market has fueled buying. Almost like what happened with toilet paper.

    I tell anyone in the market for a car, just wait, it’s usually not as “urgent” as you think it is to get a new car. You’re going to get taken to the cleaners if you buy right now.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Know it going in, all dealers are criminals and it’s the easiest place in the world for felons to find work, above digging ditches.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    My car has developed a minor oil leak somewhere. Sure hope it’s nothing b/c I was hoping to hang on to it at least another year.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @spookiness,

      For a minor oil leak, put a quart of Lucas Oil 10278 in the crankcase today.

      (Set the unopened container in a bucket of warm water to thin it out a little, and shake the bottle to the extent possible. Pour it into the engine when the engine is already at operating temperature, and go for a little drive right after that.)

      [If you have something against Lucas, use STP 15604B.]

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The best plan of action is to have it checked out by someone who knows what they are looking for. Depending on the car it might be something simple and inexpensive thing to fix like a bad drain plug gasket, or a leaking valve cover that is easy to access.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The more expensive and complicated the product, the more opportunities there are for people who spend every day working with the product to take advantage of people who might buy the product a few times in their lifetimes.

    Then add a ridiculous seller’s market and even the sophisticated buyer may not be able to resist sharp practices if he or she actually needs the product.

    Right now all the incentives are lined up in favor of car dealers doing this stuff, and there won’t really be a way to deal with it until the market comes back into balance.

    (And if you think this is bad, try to get underwritten for a mortgage right now. I just yesterday closed on a massive refi + renovation loan and, despite being a pretty knowledgeable borrower with a near-perfect credit score, I had virtually zero leverage on any of the conditions on it.)

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    My local Ram-Jeep dealer won’t sell any vehicle without their $4k package diamond coat plus GPS with subscription fees. Every vehicle starts at $4k over MSRP. I just ordered from out of state.

  • avatar
    jmo

    How real is this situation in terms of all models? I just looked and Genesis is offering 0% for 72 months and cash back on a G90. It looks like Toyota has some 2021 Avalons aging on dealer lots. I bet you can get a deal on a Arteon.

    Sure the Karens need their SUVs and the Kevins need Brodozers – but if all you need is transportation?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Manufacturers can offer lots of things but that doesn’t mean dealers can’t still put a $5000 ADM on top of it.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Right, but if you look at TrueCar you have vehicles like the Arteon with transaction prices $4k below MSRP. The issue seems somewhat confined to the Karen/Kevin Crossover/Brodozer end of the market. Even more popular sedans like the ES, IS, 3 Series, Avalon etc. don’t seem to have any markups.

        Take a quick look the current markup on an Avalon is 0.4% vs. 7% on a RAV4.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I don’t think you’re necessarily paying a markup over MSRP on everything, but I do think you’ll be getting a much lower discount on virtually everything compared to 2019. And, in some cases (like trucks) a common $7K-$10k off MSRP has become “lucky” to pay sticker price.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Another way to look at this: even the vehicles in the category everyone hates most these days are going for MSRP, except for the one that is widely acknowledged to be way overpriced and sells four figures annually.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Sounds like a dealership to avoid with extreme prejudice.

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    Maybe it’s finally time to kill the new car dealer franchise system for good…

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I can believe this happened, but I can’t believe it happened in Canada. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      I’m a Canadian…Back in 2015 I traded in my 2008 Mustang for a new 2015 … To finish the deal the Ford dealer demanded I talk to the F&I Girl ..I mentioned” I didn’t need or want extended warranty ,or finance .” My wife and I waited… while the girl stepped out for a smoke..? !!! She returns reeking of smoke , something my late wife could not stand ..

      This girl had no concept of the word “no”.. Finally I take my wife’s hand , walk out of the F&I office . The sales manger is standing in the showroom… With my now very upset wife (Early Onset A.D ) I told the sales manager in no uncertain terms “Back off with the F&I.. B.S…. or I take my old Mustang and go home ..”

      I drove that 15 Mustang for nearly 4 years …When I traded it in on a new 2019 Impala, i never even saw the the inside of the F&I office !!!!

      I’ve bought, sold, traded, more vehicles that I can count ..I’m now 68 years old ..If I never see a new car showroom again !!! It will be too soon!!

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    I have a ‘deposit’ on a 2022 Golf R set to be delivered in April or May. I say ‘deposit’ in quotation marks because there is nothing but a verbal contract at this point and the money is more a refundable fee for the right of first refusal. The dealer is fine with that because they won’t have an issue finding a buyer if I back out.

    For me, this will be a test. This is a small community (70K population) and I have been a customer there since 1997. I have a good relationship with the salesman I’ve been dealing with all these years. The last F+I guy I dealt with in 2019 was the nephew of a friend. I get along great with the parts and service people. I tend to trade in every three years so the dealer has sold me a lot of cars, and they make profit off the low mileage trade-ins.

    This will be a bit of a test. Will loyalty and customer relations mean anything or will they throw it away for a $10K ADM? I’ll know soon enough…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @mcs–Doesn’t surprise me that a bank robber would go into car sales. Unfortunate for your son.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      No, we got out of it just fine! I’m still kidding him about not getting the reward money! That’s why he was out $10K. It could have been a $4k new car! It was funny, they told us the paint protectant had already been applied. I said we don’t care, we’re not paying for it. Then, we played the manual transmission card. I reminded the salesman/bank robber that it was a manual and he’d be cleaning snow off of it all winter because my son was the last person he was going to see for a while that actually wanted a manual. Then, the bank robber went back to his boss and they agreed to the deal. We then asked if we could take the car that night. Uh no, it’s still in transit. So, obviously, no paint protectant had been applied.

      In the end, it was a funny experience and he’ll never forget buying his first new car from a bank robber. Priceless.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Toyota’s hard sought image for quality and integrity just crashed in flames.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    If ever any human denies the effect of seemingly small measures on history, they will only need to study the retail automobile business. In my lifetime it has gone from owner operators on a handshake basis to the current “amass all franchises at all costs” with the legacy of system sales thrown in like eye of newt. I spent most of my career trying to instill some sense of fairness into many dealer principals that felt as abused as their customers. This standoff was rooted in the management companies of the 1950’s combined with a customer base who initially took all quotes from their local guy as gospel. When they learned through experience that Joe Local was following the Wayne playbook they felt betrayed. The ensuing hostility continues today sixty some years later. Old habits are hard to break and I fear it won’t be resolved until the manufacturers take back their franchises and direct market at sticker price with some Bozo like AutoZam buying the trades. At that point the customer will decide that maybe it wasn’t so bad. Or not.

  • avatar
    desmo21

    The Southeast Toyota Cartel has been doing these tricks since their creation in the 70’s…………. They run a very powerfull CARtel………

  • avatar
    j lu

    As PT Barnum once said..”There’s ‘one’ born every minute” is so apt here.
    Consumers are like sheep, follow along, do the same thing, sheep.
    If consumers would wake up and say no to these extortions, they could control every single company and if necessary, bring a company to their knees if they are doing something wrong…BUT consumers are sheep and behave like sheep and thus they are extorted for whatever the market will bear and they gladly whip out their checkbook and pay the going rate.
    Just say no and walk out like the gentleman did when forced to buy unwanted services and options.
    Imagine your $45K MSRP vehicle that you paid $75k for, is involved in an accident and totaled. How much do you think your insurance company is going to pay? Take your time here….it is called ACV, actual cash value of the vehicle, so unless you find an insurance company that will offered stated value, good luck. GAP coverage won’t work here.
    Just say no. $30k would purchase a lot of uber or lyft or even a decent used car.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Kruser: We had a Colt wagon it was… meh. But, perhaps it didn’t have a chance in comparison to the other...
  • Bike: You throw a lot of “facts” around old mate.
  • Bike: You throw a lot of “facts” around old mate.
  • dal20402: “Wages for most white collar jobs have been the same” This is emphatically not true in either...
  • slavuta: I feel he will not get to enjoy his new $$

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber