I purchased a 2007 Pontiac G5 from Freedom Chevrolet. The vehicle was advertised as "GM Certified" with a sales price of 12,968.00. The sales staff claimed they wanted to "see what they could do to make me happy" and get me a deal to purchase the car. The whole process of negotiation was a facade. Eventually the sales manager, Ray Perez became personally involved and explained their Used Car prices were designed to draw business and there would be no negotiation. In fact, he threw in a $399.00 GM certification fee on top of the advertised price. I should have walked on the deal when I realized they were advertising a "GM" certified vehicle without the inclusion of that $399 price for certification. But, I figured I was getting a quality vehicle with a frame rail that wasn't being held together with Bondo and an Airbag deployment system that was TOTALLY DEFECTIVE. Wishful thinking I guess.
A month after the purchase I hydroplaned the vehicle and bumped into a pole head-on. While distraught over being in a wreck with my "new" car, I was relieved when the Insurance adjuster explained the damage was mostly "cosmetic". The new bumper and hood assembly would put the repair estimate at about $4000.
Freedom Chevrolet doesn't repair body work on their "GM Certified" vehicles so I had the vehicle taken to the Ewing Pontiac Body Shop in Plano, Tx. About a week after the accident I stopped by the Ewing Body Shop to check on my car. The car was out in the parking lot with the front end of the body completely stripped off. While inspecting the car, my "Body Shop Adviser", Vincent Belmares came out to the lot and immediately asked me "Who repaired this car the first time?" I was shocked, as this was a vehicle with a supposedly clean CarFax report(CarFax deserves a RipOff report on this deal as well). He went on to tell me that the frame had collapsed in a way that was a result of the Bondo Band-Aid that had been used to hold it together on a previous repair job. He was also quite stunned that the AirBags did not employ, considering I ran into a pole directly proportional to the location of AirBag sensors at 20 mph.
Vincent, the Body Shop Adviser, told me it was a joke that this vehicle was GM Certified and he did not want to take liability for repairing something that had the previous damage that this vehicle had. When it comes to Body Shops, I figured this was a legit concern considering Ewing advertises their body shop as "Ewing Automotive Body Shop Our State-of-the-Art body shop employs the best technology and people in the industry. Our staff includes ASE Master Technicians and I-Car PLATINUM Technicians. As a result, we provide our customers a Limited Lifetime Guarantee on our work. In addition to Mercedes and GM vehicles, we work on all makes and models. For your convenience, we have two
drop off points for your vehicle and on-site rentals available."
Due to being sold a salvaged vehicle by Freedom Chevrolet, the repair estimate on my vehicle topped out at over $10,000.00 and was totalled out. Several legally conscious friends of mine told me I had serious legal recourse against Freedom Chevrolet. I'm not so sure I would gain anything by suing but I did think I was due for a refund on the $399.00 "GM Certified" fee.
I called Ray Perez, Sales Manager, at Freedom Chevrolet and explained to him what happened with the car. He acted like he would refund it no problem. He asked me to come in the following morning. I went in the following morning and Ray Perez was conveniently off that day. So, the next day my Father(who was helping me on the negotiation aspect of my first vehicle) and I went in to see if Ray was available. Ray passed the problem on first to another one of his sales staff, while hiding in his Sales Tower. The Sales guy brought out the Service Director who explained the shoddy details of their GM Certification process. I eventually realized that when they slap that "GM Certified" stamp on a vehicle, they can claim whatever they want on the shape the vehicle is in and once you drive off the lot they are not liable. Ray Perez finally met with us face-to-face after the Service Director explained the program. With my Father, the ultimate negotiator and career businessman pin pointing out the flaws of their business to no avail, I realized it would take an Act of God for anyone to get a refund on a GM Certification.
I tried to purchase and finance my first vehicle and came away with the conviction to never finance or purchase a vehicle from Freedom Chevrolet again or any General Motors backed dealership again. The most frustrating thing is Ray Perez, acted like a $399.00 refund was no problem over the phone--which I have recorded, and then used the 'ol "bait-and-switch" on me when he realized I was serious about the refund on the bogus certification. I guess he thought I'd give up after sending me up there on his day off. I think most Car Salesmen would make excellent politicians in this day and time.
Cedar Hill, Texas