I am writing this to the rip off report.com to let people know about the business practices of Tempe Dodge (located in Tempe, Arizona). In the first 2 weeks of November 2003 (11/09/03 to be exact) my husband contacted Tempe Dodge about financing and purchasing a car.
My husband spoke with the salesmen in special finance. The salesmen (Rick Price) then talked to me also. I stated exactly our credit situation and that I was positive that he would not be able to do anything for us. He then replied "Oh we have a department that does nothing but special finance and that is all they do. I think we can help you."
So I reluctantly agreed to see what he could do for us. My husband went down to the dealership to fill out paper work to start this whole process started. We in no way lied or tried to cover up in any way shape or fashion to these people about our credit. We currently had a 1997 Izuzu Rodeo (purchased through Drive Time) that had some major repair work to be done to it and we could not afford any more repairs on this SUV. It was becoming this incredible money pit. To make matters worse we were flipped on it.
My husband calls me later that day to inform me we are getting a 2003 Dodge Neon. I was truly shocked. They had financed us for this car as saying it was a second vehicle and to let the bank come and repossess the Rodeo. Not exactly stellar advice but we saw no alternative. I had explained to them that we had a situation with a dealer before telling us that they had financing and then to only have them take the car back a week later after we refused to put anymore money down. Rick Price assured me that they do not do that.
So I went down to the dealership so my husband and I could sign the paper work. We did that and gave them the down payment of $1000.00 in the form of two posted dated checks. Included in that paperwork was the form for the institution that we had financing through. I asked Rick Price several times "Now, you are not going to call and want this car back are you?" He firmly told me time after time that they would not. We then very happy with the dealership and our purchase so we went home to go on about our lives.
We began to notice that the checks we had made for the down payment were not going through our bank account. I began to worry and after a solid week of calling to find out the problem and sitting and waiting for messages that were not returned finally got an answer. I was told by our salesman that the financing had fallen through. He said they were still trying to salvage the deal. I was shocked because he had been so convincing. I had asked time after time after time about this very same situation. We had signed paperwork with them that stated we were financed through a credit union so we were under the impression that all was well and good. All we could do now was wait, so after hanging in agony for a whole weekend they told us they were able to find financing. Would we please come down and sign the new paperwork. We came down and signed the paper work for financing through a place called Mission Financial. We we got there we found out not only did they want $1700.00 more dollars but our APR had gone up almost 9% and our payments nearly doubled in size. I was shocked. We had explained to them with the first batch of financing that $1000.00 was going to be a stretch for us. Now they expected us to come up with $1700.00 more dollars. I explained that we were having to forget Christmas totally and we are really shifting the bills but we will give you the extra down payment. We were also told by the salesman and the head of the special finance department that we could give them posted dated checks for the remaining down payment of $1700.00 and then when the time came around just call and stop payment on the final check. So it looked like to the finance company that we were giving them $2700.00. In all reality we were giving them only $2000.00 , The car was something we really desperately needed. It had low miles, was a fairly new car and still covered on warranty. My husband worked full time a hour drive from home and was a full time criminal justice major at the local community college. He was and is the only income. I am a stay at home mom of 2 year old twin girls. So you can see how we needed that car for work, school, dr. appt, etc. So we really had no choice buy this car or keep pouring money into the Rodeo that was constantly teetering on the brink of major repairs.
Mission Financial calls our home and starts asking these questions to verify what we had put on the application or so I thought. I asked the lady on the phone "Is there a problem?" She said "No, I am just seeing if you qualify for the loan". I then asked "What??!?!?" I was under the impression from Tempe Dodge that since they have started depositing the checks for our down payments that we were okay. I blurted out "You mean we are not qualified already?" The answer was no. She said that we did not make enough money. Then I asked her about my husbands GI Bill and if that would help us qualify for the loan and she said yes. She needed proof of that, insurance and the phone bill. So I agreed to fax all of these to her but explained it my take a bit to get all this info. We then hung up and I continued on about my day. Needless to say as time passed and the $2000.00 worth of checks started to pass through our account bills got shifted and things went unpaid so we could keep the basics like rent and groceries. The phone bill did not get paid and we were having a hard time getting the money together for a down payment on the insurance. But we did get those taken care of and let Mission Financial know that. In lieu of our phone being shut off we received a hand written letter from the salesman at Tempe Dodge letting us know that we needed to contact them(Tempe Dodge) or Bill at Mission Financial. So we contacted Mission Financial and thought every thing was okay(after all they were our lender). We had faxed the paperwork and explained the situation on the phone. Our phone was now back on and we had the money for the insurance. All had been taken care of. We had no reason to believe that anything else would go wrong.
In the early hours of New years eve day there was a knock at our door and a man was there to repo our Neon. I was stunned beyond words. He said "If you will just give me the keys to the car then I will bring the stuff in it up to you." He failed to do that. He also said that if we wanted to talk to someone concerning our car that someone would be in at 8:00 a.m. We called Tempe Dodge as soon as 8:00 a.m rolled around wanting our car and our stuff back. We were told the people we were supposed to talk to were not in yet. So we called and called and called for hours. Finally getting a hold of the salesman(Rick Price) and the head of special finance (Rob Ezera). They asked us why when we received the letter did we not call them. I then explained to them that the letter stated to call them or Bill at Mission Financial and I choose to call the people who were our lender. They then said "Well, you should have called us." So I wondered why did they not state that in the letter? We spoke to them both and they said there still maybe away to secure the loan. So they worked on the loan and "called in personal favors" from other lenders they knew. This lasted for a solid week with them saying each day "oh we will know by the end of today." Today would turn into 2 days and then finally the week. During this time they found someone to bring back our property bit by bit. They then told us that they had gotten financing and that is was not for the Neon. They would print out a list of cars that would fit into our budget for the amount we were financed for and call us back. We were told they had a few cars that would fall into this category that we would be able to look at. Awhile later they call us back and tell us that we have a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo for us and this is the only car they can find for us. This is the car we would have to take.
This car fits NOTHING that we needed except that its a vehicle. It has 2 doors, we need 4 with 2 small children in car seats, it has a large engine so its not so good on gas and its a "souped up version" of the normal Monte Carlos so our insurance payments are almost as much as the car payment its self. We were also under the impression that we could have the car financed with only a $1000.00 down as Rob Ezsra told us and not $2000.00. Not so, we ended putting down the entire $2000.00. We were unable to even view the car before we bought it. They said we could come down and look at it but they would not provide us a ride unless we had planned on purchasing the car. We were told that we had to accept a car from them or pay for damages, wear and tear and mileage to the Neon we have had for almost 2 months. It had a big pit in the windshield from a gravel truck my husband was following to work right before they took the car back. It happened so close to them taking the car back we had not even had time to contact the gravel pit the truck was from about replacement as the rock that hit the car was the size of a golf ball. So we were told that a portion of the down payment would be going for that if we decided that we did not want this Monte Carlo. If we took the Monte Carlo they would not worry about the damage to the Neon. We were also told that this car was inspected by their service department. So we accepted the car and the salesmen drove it over to pick up my husband to take him back to the dealership and sign the paperwork. When the salesman took my husband back over to the dealership to sign the paperwork he said the car was idling a little rough and the check engine light was on and that we had a 3,000 mile/3month Warranty on it and to bring in and have it checked out. Also the car had so little gas in it I am surprized my husband did make it home.
Approximately 2 weeks after we had the car the drivers side window would no longer roll up. I called Tempe Dodge and informed them of this and after a few conversations they agreed to fix this. We had to bring in the car to them and leave it for a few days. So we would have to rent a car. It was during this time and my attempts to get the car repaired at a dealership closer to my home that I learned that my warranty was a limited power train warranty. It covers virtually nothing that would ever go wrong with the car that is considered minor and often goes wrong with the car. While I am waiting for my appointment to roll around for the window the other major repairs that we are having problems with are now starting to surface. The car became very hard to start taking several attempts to get it started, it would idle very high, it would die when it was put into park, and sometimes it would die while we were driving it. Twice it died in MAJOR intersections. So I called and informed Tempe Dodge of this problem. They said that they would repair the car but we had to pay for the towing. So we did, we had the car towed to Tempe Dodge to repair. We also rented a car for a week. We then after a week are informed that is was the head gasket, that it was replaced and we would be responsible for $80.00 of the cost of repair. I was just relieved my car was repaired so we agreed to pay as long as they could wait till payday. My husband went to pick up the car and returned home with it. Within 24 hours of receiving the car with the repairs preformed on it, it began to do exactly to the letter, the same problems. Died when starting, the tachometer would rev up and down when the car starts and the car would die when driving and die when put into park. The car died when driving was a source of major concern because we narrowly avoided several accidents.
We then called Tempe Dodge and informed them of this. They were less than happy to hear from us. We were told that the car was in fact did not have the head gasket replaced it was another repair that was completed. I explained to them I did not care what repair was done (if they did not know how should I?) that our car was still malfunctioning and the problems that we originally brought the car to them in the first place for are still occurring. I explained to a women named Bree (who was helpful) that I did not care if they did or did not replace the head gasket I still needed the car repaired to fix the problem that we brought it there for the first time. That it was not repaired and I did not know how the mechanic did not know the car was not fixed when car was STILL not working. I also explained that I was not going to pay for anymore cost concerning the repairs because the car was not repaired the first time and I should not have to pour money into a car that I just bought that supposedly went through a series of test to make sure it was worth selling on their lot. That once again within 24-48 hours of getting the car home it still was not working. To make matters worse we had family coming in from out of town that we had never met. We needed our car fixed and we needed to be provided a car while it was being repaired. Bree said she would have to talk to her manager and would call me back. I can say one thing for Tempe Dodge that Bree when she says she will always returns our phone calls. Bree called back and explained to me that they would repair the car and provide us with a loaner. I was thrilled that this dealership was trying to do right by their customer.
The car was repaired for a 2nd time. We were told some hoses were replaced and that it had also been sent to a Cheverlot dealer for the repairs and diagnostic. I was thinking "Great, then it was done right!" We went and picked up our car but before they let us have they made us sign a letter of goodwill stating that they had done the work for free and that the work being done implied that the dealer in no way was acknowledging that there was any wrong doing to begin with and they would be absolved from any further repair work. We signed it. We needed the car back and we were assured that it had been repaired, tested on a diagnostic machine, and test drove. We got the car back and once again within 24-48 hours of receiving the car back it began the SAME EXACT problem. Unbelievable.
I called and spoke to Bree and she basically told me they had done all they could and that the car WAS repaired. I assured her that it was not repaired. She said well, we can bring it in and they will diagnosis it but any repairs that are to be done will be at our cost. I thanked her and hung up. Tempe Dodge was not going to get another dime out of us. So, we called around and got estimates for repairs. We made appointment for repairs for our car, if I had to pay for the repairs I was not going to give the money to Tempe Dodge who seemed unable to repair the car.
We were going to take our car in the following Monday so the repairs would not conflict with my husband work schedule as little as possible. In the meantime we had to go and get groceries. We were on our way to get them when 3 miles from our house the car totally stopped running in the middle of an intersection with my husband and I and our two toddlers in the car. My husband had to push the car half a mile to a nearby parking lot where a business was kind enough to let us park it there untill we could get it towed. We then walked the 3 miles home with our toddlers (no stroller). Here in Arizona we are experiencing record high temps, the day we walked home it was in the high 90's. By the time we got home my whole family was sunburnt and our toddlers were dehydrated. Did I mention we had no groceries? We called Tempe Dodge as soon as we walked in the door and explained to them what happened and after a long process they agreed to pay for the towing and have the car brought in and repaired. They refused to provide a loner car. The did offer how every to pay $30.00 of a rental car. It had been my experience that rental cars cost way more than $30.00. We were unable to afford the rest of the rental cost. Once again we were with no car and this time had to rely on relatives to provide my husband with transportation to and from work. Not wanting to overburden them, my husband missed a solid week of classes.
They called to tell us that the car was repaired and the reason it had died was there was no gas in it. Which was a total crock. When we left home there was a quarter of a tank of gas in the car. I am sure it did not use all that gas going 3 miles. Mike Perdle the guy that has been in charge of the repairs on all 3 incidents told me that he replaced the fuel filter and part of the computer was replaced on the car. We could come and pick up the car. So we did. This time as soon as my husband brought the car home and we got in it to go and run errand the car exhibited the very SAME problems. This time it was not even 24-48 hrs later.
I have called Tempe Dodge and informed them of this situation at 10:00 a.m. this morning (04/03/04). I had spoke to a John Chavez. This guys idea of a solution to the problem was to buy an extended warranty to cover what the limited warranty does not cover. When I explained to him that I could not afford the extended warranty he then asked me why did I not try and trade the car off. I explained in detail the whole situation to him from the beginning and then asked him where I would trade this car off. He told me I could bring it there and they would see what they could do for me. I began to laugh and told him that I would never purchase another vehicle from his company. We then discussed the situation some more and he said that he would talk to a man by the name of James Duet that we have dealt with before on the second bout of repairs and call me back. He said that James should be in around 12:00-12:30 and he would talk to him and call me back. I waited untill 3:30 p.m. and then called and spoke to another manager who said that Mr. Chavez was gone but would be back in 1/2 hour to call back then. I waited till 4:15 p.m. and called back and spoke to Mr. Chavez. He told me that they had been very busy and that he did not want to make excuses but he would get with Mr. Duet right now and call me back. It is now 6:15 p.m. and I have no phone call. I never received a phone call back from Tempe Dodge on 04/03/04.
There are other issues we have with Tempe Dodge. Like being lied to, one of the many people I dealt with was a young women by the name of Char and she was adamant that our car had never been worked on at Tempe Dodge and never would be if we continued to have our repairs done there. That is totally untrue. The first time our car was worked on and the last time our car was worked on it was there at Tempe Dodge. They with hardly ever returned our messages (with the exception of Bree). Also in the first time we were attempting to garner the repairs on our car we found out that our Salesman (Rick Price) and the head of the special finance department (Rob Ezera) no longer were employed there.
I am not denying the fact that we have bad credit but we did have good payment history on our previous cars. But in no way are we deserving of the treatment we have gotten from Tempe Dodge. I just want a car that runs. A car that I don't have to worry is going to cause a major accident because of the repair problems. I do not think that is too much to ask when we told Tempe Dodge that this was our goal.
If anyone out there know any other avenues we can take please, please let us know, post your comments below.
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