September 2007 I purchased a used 2007 Chevy Monte Carlo LS with 4000 miles from Courtesy Chevrolet on Camelback Road in Phoenix, AZ. I had never purchased a vehicle from a dealership before and admit total ignorance to the process and blind trust that the finance officer, Jeff Sokal, was a trustworthy professional with my best interest at heart. Yes, I'm a single female who was in dire need of a trade-in for a dependable vehicle so I was a sitting duck for being manipulated - an "EASY MARK."
September 16, 2007 I signed a GMAC loan contract for the vehicle as instructed by Sokal and drove away with the car and loan documents, NOT having read them (ALWAYS READ BEFORE YOU SIGN - DUH). The following day Sokal called me and said it was urgent I return to the dealership to sign a new contract. He'd reportedly gotten me a lower interest rate that would lower my monthly payment over $100 (the lure). All I needed to do was stop in on the way to work and sign the new papers. I did so, actually thanking Sokal for helping me lower the interest rate and payments.
Sidebar: Less than a week after driving the car off the lot, I found the front brakes needed to be replaced. The service agreement I paid for did not cover this and I was told I was simply out of luck as far as getting Courtesy Chevrolet to repair them at their expense.
Back to the loan: A financial setback around April 2008 led me to examine my car loan documents (I now had/have two sets - 09/16/07 and 09/17/07). To my astonishment, while Sokal did, indeed, get my interest rate and monthly loan payment lowered, he raised the price on the second set of documents for everything extra I had taken out on the car - the service contract, life and disability insurance, GAP insurance and LoJack. Of course, he failed to mention this when he urgently called me in to his office to sign the second set of documents - and I"m sure the 'number exchange' increased his commission.
What to do? I talked to two finance officers at totally separate car companies for advice - one who was a friend of the family and one who had just sold my father a Hyundai. Their advice was the same - cancel all of the extras on the car as 'Step One'.
May 19,2008 Courtesy Chevrolet signed for certified mail from me with a return receipt that requested cancellation of the service agreement, GAP insurance, disability insurance and LoJack. I carbon copied my lender, GMAC, and the insurance companies for the GAP, disability and life insurance. Two weeks later, the life insurance company sent a check for over $1100 to GMAC for the balance of the money I had financed for life insurance and not used. I have made NUMEROUS calls to Courtesy Chevrolet and Jeff Sokal - the balance of the canceled services is close to $7,000. No avail. Yesterday morning a sweet sounding customer service gal told me she'd 'hand deliver' my message to Finance Director Joe Conig (I don't know the spelling of his last name). I don't expect a response.
A single parent, I work 8-5 and have to drop-off and pick-up my child before and after work. The finance department hours are 9-5, so physically camping out at the dealership to demand attention has not been possible.
My father tells me the loan was PREDATORY and I will file with the BBB, Consumer Protection Agency and Department of Financial Institutions by the end of the week if this remains unresolved. In the meantime, BUYER BEWARE. I'm not the first (read the other rip-off reports) to get suckered. Hard lesson learned - I will never sign a contract I haven't read again, nor will I trust a salesman!