QOTD: Have You Any Dealership Stories?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

You've likely heard about the craziness that's happening at car dealerships right now. We've reported on insane markups, for example. And I've heard whispers, anecdotally, that so-and-so's friend's co-worker's cousin who's going with this girl who works at 31 Flavors got screwed when trying to buy a new car.

Our friendly rivals down the blog way at Jalopnik have linked to an NPR story about car-dealer horror stories today. The NPR story is a deep dive into so-called "stealerships" and I am curious if you folks have experience with these less-than-scrupulous dealers.

That said, I am also curious if even stores that normally have a reputation for being honest and ethical, as well as stores that are sort of in the muddled middle (neither known for being particularly honest or dishonest), are behaving in unusual ways due to the unusual times we live in.

I have not set foot in a dealership in a long time, and it was related to a project I was working on for my bosses, so I don't have personal experience recently, but you guys might.

Positive experiences are also welcome here.

If so, let's hear it. How bad (or good) is it out there?

[Image: Shutterstock.com user Mikbiz]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 38 comments
  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Sep 01, 2022

    My worst dealership experiences were back in the last century. A VW dealership in the east end of Toronto (which no longer exists) and a Chev/Olds dealership in the same part of town, which no longer exists, and a Dodge/Chrsyler dealership in York Region which no longer exists.

    Recently had an excellent customer experience with a Kia dealership in the north-west part of Toronto. Also with a long time Nissan sales rep in York Region. Previously had some good experiences with Pontiac/Buick dealership in York Region which no longer exists. And purchased/leased multiple vehicles for myself, family and business from a long term but now retired sales rep at a Buick/Cadillac dealership in central Toronto. Only dealt with them due to the sales rep.

    Seems to be a trend?

    Most of the 'bad' experiences are with the service departments.

    As for the sales experience, I have too much experience to be 'screwed over'. Yes they may take some liberties with 'trade in values' but I am not going to go down the private sale route.

  • Spamvw Spamvw on Sep 01, 2022

    Nice Movie Reference

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  • DungBeetle62 DungBeetle62 on Sep 01, 2022

    Its predecessor came from Hiley Arlington, but they had no RF's available. Funny that they were in the process of the remodel to the orange and lime green dealership motif and I bought that one in a temporary trailer; and likewise at Hiley Hurst as they're just about done with their remodel FROM the orange and lime green style.

    I can't trust a dog this little not to make a break for it or not to wander loose without a travel bag. Still need to do a similar photo of me with "Stitch" - if "Bailey" were still with us he'd be about 22 years old.

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  • WillyC3 WillyC3 on Sep 04, 2022

    1972, I'm in the Navy and just transferred from San Diego to New London, CT. Had a hot late model Plymouth Duster 340 with manual transmission and a racing clutch. It was hard to handle in snow and ice, and we needed something my wife could drive to work. Settled on a Plymouth Valiant Scamp (my wife's choice), got a great trade in offer from the local Chrysler Plymouth dealer, left a deposit after signing all the paperwork, and was told to come back the next morning to pick it up.

    Arrived the next morning and the salesman had a look on his face like his dog died and said we needed to talk to the sales manager. They claimed they gave me a bad quote on my trade in that overvalued my Duster by $500 and would have to redo the pricing/paperwork. They put us through the ringer trying to sway us for almost four hours, but I held firm and threatened to take the signed paperwork to the legal office on base. Businesses often tried to pull shenanigans with young, enlisted military personnel back in those days and could get blacklisted.

    Finally, after icing us for a while we get called in to the dealer owner's office along with the sales manager and are sworn to secrecy. The Connecticut area dealer association was having a promotion where new car buyers got to pop a balloon and win $25 up to a grand prize of $500 toward the purchase of a new vehicle (this was back when mass market models cost under $3,000). The dealer said he was calling in a favor with the association and could arrange for us to win the $500 grand prize if we signed it over to the dealership. Guess whose picture was in the local paper the following week holding a big $500 check and a bunch of balloons!