Rephrase that, New Car Dealers suck. Actually lets rephrase that more, New Dodge Canada Car Dealers in Eastern Ontario suck. There. That works.
Preface: My wife and I are faced with either keeping our current eight year old van and sinking more money into it, or buy a new van. We owe more on the van than it’s worth, and it has high kilometers so that knocks down the value even more.
Let me add, I have no plans on going with anything but a Dodge Caravan. Mainly because Toyota and Hondas are way too pricy and I’ve had my share of issues with Toyota Dealers as well. Ford doesn’t make vans anymore, neither does GM, Kia’s are crap and I wouldn’t pay for a Hyundai with Canadian Tire Money. Since our current van is a Dodge, we decided we’ll stick with it.
Now sit down everyone and I will tell you a story of three dealers, two from Ottawa and one from Eastern Ontario who have turned me off dealing dealerships in general.
Dealership #1, located in a city of 46,000 people on the St. Lawrence River. Offered us $500 for our van, offered to finance the rest of the old van into a new van. Said that it’s the best deal we’ll find anywhere, and we should just take it. Cue the buzzer.
Dealership #2, located in Ottawa, flashy commercials on all the major radio stations. “NOBODY deals, like… ” etc. Sounds like a Lastman’s Bad Boy commercial for Cars. Went there, dealt with a guy who didn’t seem interested in earning our business. Offered more for our trade, $1900. Ah but there was a catch. Dodge, for whatever reason, offers some dealers a certain amount of “no freight” vehicles, meaning promotional cars which don’t have the 1400 freight charge. This is suppose to be an incentive. What this dealer did was use the 1400 with the 500 they were going to pay, and that was how we were getting 1900 for our van, by burying the 1400 extra into our loan where we didn’t see it. Good thing we read the fine print. At that point we walked, but not without another several days of phone calls asking us to come back in (Ottawa is an hour drive in, with four kids) to talk more. Cue the buzzer.
Dealership #3, also located in Ottawa. More conservative commercials on the air, well connected name to the dealership. Pillar of the community type. “Some people, just know where to go,” says the commercial. Well we did go, and I tried to go as in leave… but couldn’t. They still had my license and ownership for the van. WTF. This incident really boiled my blood. We went in, wife and kids in the car watching a movie. I deal with a sales-guy. Nope, don’t want to test drive, this is what I want for a car. Nope don’t want you to bring it out front, just give me a price. They do a trade assessment, which required my ownership for the VIN number. Also my license. I unwittingly gave them the ability to keep me hostage (so I felt). Got the first price, way over budget. I say “thank you, can I have my license back now please”. Sales guy says the sales manager has it and while he was there he was going to yell at him to get me more what I wanted. Comes back 10 minutes later, lowered the payments by $25/mo. Where’s my license? Oh, it’s at the sales manager’s office. He’ll go get it, and try to lower the payments more. “Can you put more money down he asks?” I say “nope… this is it”. Back in a few he says. Five minutes go buy… then ten. Meanwhile my wife is messaging me on the cell phone asking what’s taking so long as the kids want to go somewhere. Guy comes back, with the sales manager. Nice guy, seems personable. Lowered the payments to $10/mo over my absolute highest amount. I say no go, need my license back. This goes on until finally, he goes to the top of what I was willing to pay. Still no license. I’ve asked at this point 12 times for my stuff. Still nothing. Wants to shake my hand as he came to what my original highest end price was. Like a good puppy who just fetched your paper for you, after shitting on the carpet. I say no deal, give me my stuff. He does grudgingly. I think he senses that I am going to leave, throws out one last-ditch offer… At this point, if he hadn’t held me hostage, I would have likely said “Yes, I’ll take it”. However I’ve been at the dealership for almost two hours and I am mad. I said, I’ll go out to the van and talk it over with my wife. I go out, we talk, she says “get in the car, we’re leaving”. I, as a good husband who promised to love, honour and obey, say “ok”; And we leave. As we’re driving past the Scotiabank Place, I tell my wife that I feel like a bit of an asshole for not going back and giving the guy a final answer. She patted my hand and said “yes dear, just keep driving”.
I have never been so frustrated buying anything as I was after this adventure, and I’ve dealt with sales support specialists from India. With this experience under my belt, the local mechanic is about to get some business from me, and we’re keeping the old van for now. My opinion of car dealerships is now even lower than that of politicians and some lawyers.