I have pasted a copy of the actual letter that I sent to Bill Heard's corporate offices in regards to a recent encounter with one of their dealerships. For anyone who reads this I would advise that you stay away from their dealerships.
Brandon J. Stone
Mesa, AZ 85213
December 14, 2002
Bill Heard Enterprises
200 Brookstone Center Parkway #205
Columbus, GA 31904
To Whom It May Concern:
Bill Heard Chevrolet, 7224 E. McDowell Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257, ran an advertisement on a local radio station today that advertised a minimum of $7500.00 for your trade. I am aware of the fine print' of car dealership advertisements but I heard no such conditions after the actual radio ad, so I called the dealership to inquire. I spoke with Ray Mata who said that he was in the sales department. After he went and checked with his manager he came back to the phone and said that yes, in deed, the ad was correct and that there were no stipulations to the ad. [continued below]....
..... I made an appointment to meet with him later that night.
My brother and I arrived at the dealership around 5:00 PM and walked around the lot for a few minutes before Ray was able to meet with us. My brother discussed with Ray that he was a first time buyer and that he wanted to hopefully put no money down and just use his trade towards a new Chevrolet Cavalier. Ray assured us that this should not be a problem and that we need to drive the car first. Before we could drive the car though Ray needed us to go inside and answer a few questions. The questions he asked were basic such as name, address, phone number, etc. However, when he asked my brother to sign the document he also asked for his social security number. Before my brother signed the document I asked Ray if this was to run his credit. Ray said that it was not, that they just asked for the social. So, he signed the document and we went on the test drive. Picture of the Dealers Market Value adjustment sticker, where Bill Heard wants $1,295 over the manufactures origional MSRP window sticker. This is not the manufactures sticker! See other photo's below.
When we got back to the dealership Ray went up to the tower' to see what he could do for my brother. When he came back he had a credit report in his hand. Now I'm not a car salesman, but I would assume that in order to get a credit report you would have to get a credit application first, so I'm assuming that either Bill Heard lied to my brother and I about what that paper was that he signed (which I unfortunately did not read) or they ran his credit without proper authorization. Picture of one of GM's top sellers. This dealer does not like MSRP's on their top selling cars, trucks and SUV's, so they can sell them to consumers for more than the manufactures suggested retail price. A clear violation of the Monroney Law. Read Rip-off Report Investigation below
Ray's manager, Ernie, then came into the picture. Ernie came out and talked to my brother and me and explained that my brother, being a first time buyer, could only be financed on about $8,000.00-9,000.00. I said that was great, because after the $7,500.00 trade allowance that would put him at approximately $7,000.00 financed. This is when Ernie explained that the $7,500.00 minimum for your trade only applied to Suburbans. I explained to Ernie that the ad on the radio did not stipulate that and that Ray said there were no such stipulations. Ernie did not want to listen to that; he just said that I was wrong. Ernie then went on to try and push my brother into a used vehicle. My brother told him that if he wanted a used vehicle he would have gone to a dealership that wasn't 25 miles from his house, that he only wanted a new car, and that he was only there because of the ad that Bill Heard was running. Ernie asked what ad? After explaining to Ernie once again the ad, he said no, that I was wrong. We then expressed that we just want the new car, and if he could not do that then we would leave. Ernie said that he would go get the best possible deal' and would be right back. A violation of Federal Law, ...Another, one of 22 vehicles on the lot with NO Factory Sticker If the car is brand new, it must have the manufactures MSRP Sticker!
Ernie brought back a piece of paper with the deal' written on it. Keep in mind that this particular vehicle had an MSRP of about $14,600.00 with about $1,900.00 in additional dealer add-ons, which should have brought the total price to about $16,500.00. When Ernie showed me the deal I was extremely surprised to say the least. Bill Heard was trying to sell the car for $17,988.00 plus fees! Of course when I objected to the price Ernie started to get defensive and then when I tried to speak in a professional manner Ernie started to get irate. Even on their popular SUV's, no MSRP's , allowing the dealer to misrepresent the vehicles worth from the factory, a clear violation of Federal Law for this very reason.
I then started to negotiate the deal. I explained to Ernie that we would pay invoice for the vehicle, which was about $13,900.00 and that we were not willing to pay for the additional dealer add-ons (window tint, $299.00; painted pin stripe, $299.00; and market value adjustment, $1,295.00). Ernie said that these were on all of his cars and were not negotiable because that is what he paid for tint and the pin stripe. I then asked about the market value adjustment. Ernie said that it was to help people who were flipped' in their trades. I explained that my brother's car was paid in full, so that should be taken out. I also asked him about the difference. Of course Ernie had no idea what I was talking about. I explained that if you took the MSRP and added all of the dealer ad-ons, including the market value adjustment, that the total price should have only been about $16,500.00, yet he was asking almost $18,000.00. Ernie had no answer for this.
Ernie then said that my brother needed a co-signer. My brother said he wanted to establish his credit on his own and did not want a co-signer. He said that he would deal with the higher interest rate for a couple of years because he planned on selling the vehicle within three years anyway. Ernie didn't like that at all. He then said that he would not sell him a car without a co-signer, or cash down.
Throughout the entire deal I had asked several times to just show us what the payments would be with the deal that we want. Ernie asked Does it look like I do this for practice? So, I looked around the showroom and pointed out that there were no other customers there, so he had nothing better to do. Ernie said he had mush better things to do than deal with customers like us, like watch ESPN; which was on the TV in the showroom.
So, we started to negotiate some more. This time it was about the trade. Ernie, before he took the trade to get it appraised, said that we would get fair market value' for the trade. My brother's trade was a 1985 Nissan 300ZX with about 125,000 miles on it. I understand this is not a vehicle that a dealership can make any money on and would be sold to a wholesaler, however, fair market value in the Phoenix area is still about $2,000.00. So, when Ernie came back with $300.00 I once again was surprised. I expressed this to Ernie and he said would you pay $2,000.00 for that car? As a matter of fact, yes I would! I told Ernie this and he flat out called me a liar! I have never been called a liar, and completely resent that some car salesman, who is trying to screw my brother on his first car, would call me a liar! I had it at that point. I told Ernie that he must be used to selling Chevrolets because he does not know the longevity of a Nissan, or any import for that matter. He then asked why we were there; I once again mentioned the ad! What ad? For the third time, in a very loud voice so the entire showroom could hear, explained the ad. Ernie told me to leave, and actually escorted me to the door.
On the way out the front door, Ernie was in the way, so as I made my way passed him I brushed up against him. Ernie told me that if I ever bumped him again that we would have problems. So, now one of your managers has threatened me with bodily harm. On the way to my car Ernie is still trying to negotiate with my brother and me. I explained that he has already kicked us out of the dealership. He said that he just didn't like my tone. I explained to Ernie, in a professional manner, that if it were his mother or sister going to buy that same car would he let them buy it for that same price? Once again, no answer. At this point I got into my car, but upon doing so Ernie advised me that if he ever saw me on the street that he would wear me out. Is this anyway for you managers to promote business? As we were driving away he proceeded to show his maturity by calling me a punk and giving a hand gesture.
Believe it or not, this is the entire story. I was very calm throughout the entire night and said absolutely nothing to upset Ernie, with the exception of raising my voice in the showroom. There is absolutely no excuse for my brother, myself, or any customer to be treated this way by one of your dealerships, and I will NEVER step foot on a Bill Heard lot again. As far as being threatened by Ernie, you may want to discus this with him, because I would bet that I am not the first person who he has threatened and it's only a matter of time before someone calls him on it. That, of course, would be an ugly legal situation for Bill Heard.
You will note below the other places that I have sent copies of this letter to. One of them is a nationwide web-site dedicated to consumer advocacy, www.ripoffreport.com. If you check out that site and do a search for Bill Heard you will note that there are over two dozen other complaints on that site pertaining to your dealerships, not including mine. So this is not an isolated incident. I understand that Bill Heard is a larger dealership and that there are going to be upset people out there, but what we experienced tonight is not something that any potential customer should endure. If the customer service is like that before the sale, how is it after the sale?
Brandon J. Stone
CC: Bill Heard Chevrolet
Chevrolet Motor Corporation, Customer Relations Division
Arizona Attorney General's Office
Federal Trade Commission
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Bill Heard Auto Dealers