I went to buy a new Toyota Foreruner Limited here, assuming we could negotiate a good price. I found one I liked and began to talk numbers with the salesman. I was going to finance 100% of the actually price of the car, but pay cash for all taxes, fees, registration (about $2500).
I had run numbers at home at different lease rates, and knew what the monthly payment should be (around $410 per month). They came back with a monthly payment of close to $450 per month. It just didn't add up. We had agreed on all the underlying numbers. Somehow they were inserting extra money in their somewhere. Oh, they really try to get you to sign a form that ONLY states the monthly payment to start with. I insisted there was a mistake.
They said, "go watch our salesman enter the numbers on our computer's lease calculator." So I did. They entered the agreed price of the car, the lease rate, the lease term. They entered the taxes, fees and registration, but on a line that they said would not be counted into the lease calculations since I was paying it cash. THEN they added the amount I was paying cash as a credit.
At this point, I said, "Wait, won't that double credit me? If you put the registration, licensing, etc., on a line that is NOT going to be counted, then adding the amount I pay as a credit would seem to reduce the price too much...?" The guy insisted he knew the program and I was wrong. He hit calculate: $403 per month.
Note this was $50LESS per month than they had said before, supposedly using the exact same numbers. I got no explanation for how they had previously thought these numbers worked out to $450 per month. So they prepare a new form for $403 per month and I am happy to sign it.
Now they leave me waiting for about 30 minutes. Finally, who comes over? John Barr. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry," he says, "but we made a mistake. We double credited the cash you are paying for registration and fees when we ran the numbers." I pointed out we had a signed agreement...would they let a buyer out of his agreement if he had made a mistake in agreeing to pay too much for a car?
John Barr got huffy and talked about his team of lawyers. I did not really care about getting a steal, just a fair deal, so I told them fine, take out the double credit and run the numbers again. They did, and it came to $412 per month. They crossed out the monthly rate on the form I had signed and wrote in the new one. Then I waited an hour to see their finance person.
On the finance sheet, the numbers were all different from what I had agreed. The price of the car was higher, they were giving me some weird credit, etc. I told the guy I needed to make sure the numbers added up. He was like, "Well the monthly payment is the same, so why do you care?" I said, no, I would add up the numbers myself. I did so, and it came out they were charging me $250 more than I had agreed.
I went out and complained to the salesman that the numbers came out $250 too high. At that point, he said he could not let the car go for my price and refused to sell unless I paid the extra $250. Note, that $250 is why their monthly payment came out to $412 instead of $410, the correct figure.
Here's what really gets me: In order to work the extra $250 into their lease calculator, this means after I GRACIOUSLY agreed to ignore their error, John Barr went over to the computer, told the salesman to take out my double credit, AND THEN KNOWINGLY AND INTENTIONALLY ADDED IN A $250 FEE WITHOUT TELLING ME! They thought they could sneak it by if they fudged the price of the car and gave me a weird credit.
Another thing that gripes me -- when I refused to sign the finance papers, the finance guy held up the monthly payment form I had signed, which had originally said $403 per month, crossed out and changed to $412 per month, and THREATENED that I was contractually bound to that deal and could be sued if I tried to back out!! What a jerk! Of course, he was bluffing.
Oh, and if you think about it, this means that the original salesman with whom I struck the original deal was LYING because they never were willing to sell the car to me for that price. They TOLD me that was an agreeable price, but with the secret intention of sneaking in extra fees. When I uncovered all their tricks, the bottom line is they refused to sell me the car for the price and fees we had orally agreed to.
They dragged out the whole process, too. I was there FOUR HOURS before finally leaving with nothing but anger at those lying jerks. It is one thing for a salesman to lie about his invoice costs, his overhead, his sick and starving children, to try to make a sale. It is another to lie to your face, over and over.
Oh, and as to time when they double credited me the cash I was putting toward fees and charges, I do not think that was an error at all. They run that lease calculator many times a day. It is their job. If I saw the error the first time I looked at it, they must have known they were double crediting it. I think their strategy was, "get the customer to sign ANYTHING, even if the deal is one we are not willing to make. As long as he sticks around long enough, we wear him down and we can plead mistake and jack up the price later." I think it was all part of their completely immoral and unethical sales practices.
Note, it is not just the salesman. John Barr is as big a jerk as any of them.
Sherman Oaks, California