My husband and I were in the market for a second family vehicle. He works two full time jobs, and we have two small children, so a second car would be a major help. We had been debating whether or not to take advantage of the Employee Pricing Specials that have been going on in our area, and one day we heard an ad for Bill Heard on the radio. The ad stated that this month was credit amnesty month, and no matter what your credit is like, $29 down would get you a used car on their lot. Since both of us HAD decent credit ratings and enough income to qualify, we went to see if they had something in our price range.
When we got to the lot, we were immediately approached by sales people. We told them that we had heard the ad on the radio and wanted to see if we could get a decent used car for me. The saleswoman shrugged off all our questions about the ad, and started to show us 2005 model cars. After walking us all over the lot and showing us five different cars, I told her that I didn't think any of them would be in our price range. We then told her that we were looking for something made between 2000-2003, around $10,000. She then insisted that we test drive an Impala and insisted that after dealer incintives that the car would be in our price range. We then test drove the car, and upon returing to the lot found out that she had already run our credit and started paper work on that car.
Being new to buying a car, I assumed that was how it worked. We sat in her cubicle for close to 3 hours waiting on a finance manager to look over our "case". Finally, we were taken back to his cubicle and he started shoving papers at us to sign. After looking them over, they were trying to finance that car for $14,500 and trying to use our first car as a trade in. When I started to protest, the finance manager stated that our first car had been inspected and that they had already contacted a bank to try and get us financed for the Impala. They also wanted $3000 down.
My husband and I looked at each other, and then got up to walk out. The saleswoman stopped us and asked what the problem was. We told her that not only was the car out of our price range, but that we had not consented to have a credit application applied for on that car. I then told her that the whole reason we came to Bill Heard instead of somewhere else was their $29 down deal. She took us to the side and said that maybe we should look at a smaller, cheaper car and see if we could work something out on it. We agreed to have a look at what else they had to offer. She then went and pulled a 2004 Cavalier to have us test drive. I told her that we were looking for something a little older, and she said that they do not finance anything older than a 2003 and that they didn't have any on the lot. She then assured us that the price difference would be minimal and that the 2004 was in our range.
We test drove it, and decided that it would be worth trying to get. When we returned to the lot, we couldn't find the saleswoman or the financial manager who was working on our "case". After being seated for close to an hour, the saleswoman came over and asked us if we would like to try to get the Cavalier. We said we would, and she said that they had already started "running the numbers" to try to get us in it. After waiting for about 2 more hours, they finally called us back to the finance manager's cubicle.
He said that he had "run the numbers" through and had found a bank who would approve us on the car for 72 months at $247 a month. The APR would be 18.5%. We talked and agreed that since we didn't have much credit history, it would be a good deal. We signed the paperwork and they told us to get insurance on it and bring a copy back to the dealership. We went down the street and got that done, and upon returning to get the car, the saleswoman was once again gone. We were seated and waited about 45 minutes for her to return, at which point she showed up and said she couldn't find the keys. She told us to wait a few minutes, and she would get the keys and then give us the paperwork. After waiting another hour, she finally brought us the car.
We got in it, and it was setting dead on empty... yet when we had taken it for a test drive it had almost a half a tank of gas. We had to go straight to the gas station to fill it up. There were also about 40 miles on it that hadn't been there before.
Deciding that it wasn't very important, we took it home and showed it to our family. The next day, the salewoman called us and told us that there had been a problem with the bank. She said that because we had been "shopped out" and because we didn't have a strong car buying history, that they would need $2000 down. When I aksed her what "shopped out" meant, she said that our credit had been run with 12 different financial institutions and because of that we looked like a liability. She then stated that we must have been shopping at other places. That much was true... we had applied at our bank and through our credit card to get one of the blank check loans for a car. We didn't wait to hear back from them when we heard the ad and went to Bill Heard. She said that they must have run our credit numerous times to get us a good deal, but then cancelled it when we signed for the Cavalier.
After telling her that we couldn't come up with a $2000 down payment, she then insisted that we try to borrow the money from family members or friends. After refusing to do that, she said that she would see if she could work something out. She called back the next day and said that we would either need $1500 down or a stronger co-signer. We told her that we wouldn't be able to get $1500 but we might be able to get a co-signer. She asked us to meet her at the lot in an hour. We found a friend who has a strong credit score and credit history, and he agreed to co-sign. We went to the lot, and had to wait about an hour for her to get there. After running our friend's credit, she then came back and told us we would still need the $1500 for a down payment. She then told us to apply for a loan through our bank, and referred us to a friend she had who worked there.
After coming home and discussing it, we decided that it wouldn't be in our best interest to apply for a loan through the bank and then another for the car. When I called to tell the salewoman that, she said that she might be able to get us into a 2006 Cavalier with instant rebates, if we would sign the rebate check over as a down payment. After telling her that a 2006 was not what we wanted, she insisted that I bring the car back.
After taking the car back to the lot, we went to another dealership with a better reputation and found out that Bill Heard had run our credit with 12 different financial institutions... some of them more than once. Now we are red flagged and may not be able to get another car.
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