Do not buy a car from Honda Cars of Hickory if at all possible. We recently saw a direct example of bait and switch at this dealership. I am going to withhold the names of individuals at this dealership, but if you have any doubt to the validity of my post, email me and I will tell you all about it. Over the course of these intensely stressful dealings with Honda Cars of Hickory I collected a mountain of business cards that I would share with anyone that wants to know rather than sharing them to the whole of the Internets.
Here is where it all started my wife went to the dealership to get a problem fixed on my existing Honda at their service department. Several weeks I had my breaks replaced and shortly thereafter (less than a week) a warning light came on which they told me was due to failing brake sensors. I scheduled an appointment to have these sensors replaced and my wife took the car up there to get it done while I was out of the country. While she was waiting a salesman came and offered to buy my car for a more than fair price. She called me and I told her to start the negotiation for a newer model of the same car that I currently had.
Over the next several hours or so she sent me several text messages concerning prices and options and I told her what options I wanted, the main thing being the satellite navigation system that Honda offers on the EX-L model. This brings in satellite radio as well as navigation and a nice touch screen. In looking at the models online I did not like the control layout of the model without the upgraded entertainment system. At this point I called her on the phone and heard her ask the salesmen about all of my concerns to which I personally heard him reply, “yes it has all of those options, it has everything you can possibly get on a Civic.” I asked her about the price and the one she told me they had arrived at was within 200$ of the price on Honda’s own website for that car with all of those options.
At this point I should be able to tell you that the next day, as agreed upon, she was able to go to the dealership and pickup the car as promised. However, when she arrived she was told the car had been delayed and it would be a day or two. She came back at the next prescribed time and was told of another delay. This continued on with several trips and phone calls saying the car had arrived only to have her drive down there (which takes half an hour) and be informed that this or that person had mistakenly called her. During this week of back and forth trips I had arrived back home from my trip abroad and I was unhappy. I did not appreciate her bring dragged back and forth on four separate occasions with no result. Finally the car arrived and I met Jamie to look at it. Guess what was missing… of course it was the only option that I had specifically mentioned that I wanted. The navigation/entertainment system was not there and Jamie had not known exactly where to look so she had taken delivery of the car. To say that I was unhappy was an understatement. I really felt like they were trying to take advantage of Jamie because she was a woman.
Here we are eight days after ordering this car and it is the wrong one. I double-checked myself, looked on Honda’s website and looked over the paperwork that I have in-hand. According to Honda’s website we paid the exact amount that the car I wanted was supposed to be priced. I went back over to the dealership and told the salesperson that I had received the wrong car by mistake and I would like it corrected. He got instantly defensive which tipped me off that he was expecting all of this. The salesmen started talking loudly and telling me that I was mistaken and that he will get a book and the calculator and explain it to me. Through all of this I unlike the sales staff from the dealership never raised my voice or showed the slightest bit of hostility. Anyone that knows me understands that I will get into a physical altercation long before I ever raise my voice. These car sales guys however did not know this about me, and I think that because I was not speaking angrily, raising my hands, and flapping my arms in the same manner they where that I did not communicate to them how angry I was. I told him that he could go right to Honda’s website, build the car I had just agreed to purchase with the options I desired, and the price would match. He told me that Honda’s pricing was different than their pricing because they had added $1200.00 dollars worth of options that were not on the car from the website. I was also informed that the satellite system I wanted was at least another $2000 option so it would push up the cost of the car significantly. This was all very interesting to me because I had added all of the options he listing out that had added. Then as he got busy on his calculator I noticed much to his dismay that he was pricing all of the optional equipment much higher than what Honda’s website said they cost. When I called him on this, he told me of that is because we have to pay someone to install all of these options. In looking at the price discrepancy between his math and my math there was over $700.00 dollars difference. I told him if he was paying someone $700 to install wheel locks, mud-flaps, and a silly plastic spoiler that he was getting ripped off and I would be happy to save him some cash and do it for $600.
At this point he knew he was not going to dazzle me with his math skills because apparently I am better with a calculator than he first thought. So he did what all car salesmen would do in his position. He called for his boss. During my time as a driver of cars I have seen this phenomenon over and over again. As you the customer start to loose interest in whatever lie you are being told the “manager” is fetched in an effort to smooth things over and get the lie back on track. My theory is that you only get to be the “manager” of the salesmen by being a better liar than the salesmen and so on and so forth right up to the General Manager who at that dealership has proven himself to be King of the liars in that particular car buying kingdom. Anyway, back to the story…. So the salesmen gets his manager to come and try to show me how good his math skills are and dazzle me with this supposed great deal that Jamie has just gotten from his salesmen. I stopped him before the button pushing could even commence. He put the book down and got on the computer and told me within about 30 seconds that he had miraculously found that car I was supposed to get and it was only $500 difference between it and the one I had just purchased. Now, with my stellar math skills I noticed that was between $1500 and $2700 cheaper than his salesmen had just quoted me, depending on your level of fuzzy logic. I bought this up to which he said I don’t worry about that we will get this problem fixed. His salesmen knowing he has just been caught in a lie took to trying to call our original salesmen on the telephone at home, which he made a huge production while doing with lots of arm waving and exasperated facial expressions. I watched all of this through the glass office walls with a great sense of amazement. This man missed his calling as a dramatic actor. This entire production was wildly entertaining to watch, at least for me. At this point in the conversation I was still fully prepared to take delivery of the correct car where they to get it to me.
Suddenly, everything changed. The dramatic salesmen returned to the glass box where we were sitting and told me the biggest lie that I had heard at this point of the dealings which changed the whole dynamic for the rest of this complete disaster. He told me he had just bothered the original salesmen at home and in talking to this salesmen he was sure that my wife had not mentioned the navigation system at any time during their dealings. At this point I am done…. I know this is a long blog post but previously I mentioned that I called Jamie on the phone and I physically heard the salesmen say what options it had.
My first suspicion was now confirmed. I knew my wife had fallen prey to a bait and switch operation. Up to this point I had been holding this trump card, that I had also heard the original salesmen on the phone, and now I laid it on the table. Their faces went pale. It was one of those scenarios where they knew, that I knew, that they were all lying right from the moment I entered the building. My granddad taught me a very important principle very early in my life, don’t tell anyone everything that you know. All along I had known everything my wife had been told and had heard much of it for myself. I was suddenly being treated very differently. The “Manager” told me he would have the correct car the next morning. I told him it was amazing that it took eight days to get the wrong car, but the right one could be found in less than 24 hours… Now I told him what my conditions were. The next day my wife would be there at 12, he could either have my old car ready for her to pickup or he could have the car that we had originally ordered. It did not matter to me to which one option they choose because I was done dealing with them. So I said my goodbyes and went to eat my dinner.
The next morning Jamie went down to the dealership and got my old car back. After being called a liar she had soured on the even the possibility of doing business with Honda Cars of Hickory. The General Manager tried to spin everything this way and that to make everything better but she stuck to her guns. I was really proud of her. Now it all comes down to this after my longest blog post ever… don’t ever buy a car from these people ever. I told them in our dealings that I would tell everyone I knew about their shady operations. This whole situation was just beyond my comprehension. Where do they find these people with no conscience for how they treat people? Do they hang out by the door at sociopaths anonymous meetings and say “Hey, you, wanna make some quick cash?”. My faith in car salesmen was jaded at best before this experience, and I don’t know that it is going to take to restore it at this point.
Hopefully I can write about my experiences in Canada soon… unfortunately I had to get this finished first before I could even think about Canada.