I heard an ad on your station yesterday for Car Smart on North Oak, KCMO. The ad got me curious about buying a newer used car for a low monthly payment so I called and they quoted me as being qualified for a Dodge Charger for $160/month. The salesman I talked with is named Ben. He was so sure that I could buy the car that when I asked if I could test drive the car he said: 'we are going to put you in the car tomorrow'. Made appointment to meet with Ben approx 3pm today. Showed up about 4pm but Ben was not available. Worked with their top salesman 'Mike Baker' who never even showed me any cars. He just took my employment, income information, etc, pulled my credit report and turned in the results to the front desk people there and asked me to wait at one of the many tables where many others were obviously doing the same.
While talking with Mike at his desk near the front of the building I overheard a salesman at the desk north of Mike's telling a family sitting there their payment would be over $300/month. He explained that it is higher than they were told over the phone since their credit score is lower.
After I sat down at one of the tables in the waiting area a couple asked if they could share the table with me. We talked a little about each of our car deals and specifically the man asked me: 'would you pay $400/month for a car?'. I said: 'no, not for any car'. He asked why and I explained that being a truck driver I would not be driving my car much except on weekends while home from being over the road as a regional owner/operator truck driver. I told the gentleman that I drive so much for a living that I don't want to drive much when I am off, at home. I told them that I had been quoted $160/month for a Dodge Charger over the phone and was waiting for the results of my deal. The couple revealed to me that their payment for a 2009 Camry with approx 29k miles would be $400/month. More than double what I was quoted over the phone and almost double what they were quoted over the phone: 'no more than $250/month'.
Mike Baker called me aside to tell me that even after they had 'pre-qualified' me over the phone that they could not get me a loan. I shook his hand and left.
When I called back to the main office there the lady told me that the $160 quote was 'only on select models of Dodge Chargers'. I asked her if the one and only Dodge Charger they had on the lot was one of the 'select models' (that Mike did not even show me or give me a price on', and suddenly the call dropped, or she hung up. I called back and the lady answering told me they were closed for the day.
I am 53 years old. Been in every state in this country many, many times, seven foreign countries, lived alot and learned alot. Evidently, Car Smart, even though they tout all kinds of 'ethical/legal' car sales are very likely running one of the oldest scams in business: 'bait and switch'. To make it even more disgusting, they are obviously and very effectively targeting people that cannot afford a 'newer, nicer car', at least they cannot afford the cars being sold at Car Smart.
I plan to share this experience with the Kansas City Chamber of Commmerce, BBB and the Missouri State Attorney General's Office as well as a bad report on RipOffReport.com.