On Monday, September 29th, I did an online search for a very specific car I was looking for. Ferman Nissan in New Port Richey (the Tampa area) had the vehicle - this location is 96 miles from my home. I e-mailed the dealership with a request to do a walk around of the vehicle and provide me the condition, as well as provided them a written offer on the vehicle. On Tuesday morning, September 30th, a salesman named Brian from the dealership left me a voice mail - he said the car was in perfect condition and that he was working with his sales manager to accept our offer. My husband immediately called him back and he told Brian that we were very interested in the car and to please call either him on his cell phone, or me, at my office, once they had worked the deal out.
Approximately an hour later, a person named Sam from the Ferman dealership contacted me at my office stating that he was a "sales manager" and quoted me a number in excess of my offer. I agreed to accept that amount. We then discussed the logistics of when I could pick up the car and I told him I would call him back once I knew.
Throughout the day, Sam contacted me several times with typical salesman tactics, telling me someone was holding on the other line to pick up the car, and also that because I was using a Capital One Blank Check, the cost of the car had increased another $750 (this is my 5th time using the Capital One blank check and I have never been told this before) - when I refused the additional cost, he called me back minutes later stating that he had worked the deal so I would not have to pay it.
At approximately 5:00 PM, Sam, who I had believed was a sales manager called me again, demanding a deposit on the vehicle since I could not pick it up for a few days. I agreed to the deposit and told Sam I was in my car driving home and would call him shortly with my credit card number to hold the car. At 5:10, Brian, the original sales man, called my husband to tell him they had worked the deal at the offer we originally made.
At that time my husband asked who Sam was and was told that Sam was apparently another salesman in the dealership who was trying to steal the deal - my husband immediately told Brian to contact me. Brian called me, we confirmed the numbers, and I told Brian to consider the call sold and asked how much of a deposit he needed until I picked up the car later in the week. Brian asked that I give him a few minutes to discuss the deposit, as well as the inconvenience of having two salesman working both me and my husband, with his sales manager, Craig and he would call back.
Brian called back minutes later, said no deposit would be required - the car was being moved into the back lot, with a sold sign with my name on it, and all I needed to do was fax to the sales manager in the morning a copy of my Capital One Blank Check. He said no other parties were interested in the car and apologized for the sales tactics used by Sam.
Once I hung up from Brian, I called Sam and told him that I did not realize he was a sales man and not a sales manager and that the deal had been worked through Brian first. Sam immediately asked me to provide him with the details of the deal worked with Brian and then asked if I had put down a deposit to which I told him Brian and Craig told me that was not necessary. He then asked if I bought the car, and I said yes - and he proceeded to ask when I would pick it up - I told him later in the week. He was very angry and asked why I had decided to work with Brian over him. I again relayed to him that he had misrepresented himself as a sales manager and that I thought he was working the deal with Brian not against him. I was very put-off at the fact that the company allowed their salesman to harrass their customers in this way.
On Wednesday morning, October 1st, I immediately faxed the blank check to Brian and Craig, as instructed, with fax confirmation that the check had gone through. At 2:00 PM, Brian called and left me a voice mail to ask when I was picking up the car. At 2:07 I called Brian back, at which time I was told that the car had been sold. Brian proceeded to tell me that even though he had moved it to the bank with the sold sign, and even though I had met all the requirements of holding the car, that one of the salespeople removed the sign and sold the car before he got in. Brian proceeded to try to sell me another car on the lot to which I told him to have a sales manager contact me immediately - he agreed and we hung up.
Approximately an hour later, the general manager's assistant, along with the sales manager from Ferman Nissan and the sales manager from Ferman Chrysler Jeep called on a conference call. They initiated the conversation by saying they understood that there was a misunderstanding and that I thought I had purchased the car when really I had not since I would not agree to put a deposit down. When I asked them where they were getting their information, they proceeded to tell me that is what "Sam" told them - when I finished giving them the facts, naming both Brian and Craig, who is an actual sales manager, they stumbled through apologies only to say "we will look into this and get back to you.
That was over a day ago, and even though both my husband and I have called the dealership several times, no one will return our call. I even sent an e-mail requesting management's name, because of course, I am filing an official complaint with the state, no one will respond to my e-mails.
This dealership clearly does not care about good business practices or about keeping a customer. In fact, I believe that Sam, after losing the deal, purposely removed the sold sign from the vehicle. If I could file suit against them, I would, however, I work in an office of attorneys, and although each attorney here agrees that the dealership was completely wrong in these dealings, legally, I have no right to the vehicle, even with the verbal contract we entered into, because the vehicle is in excess of $10,000.
As I mentioned, I checked the entire State of Florida for this vehicle - it was exactly the color and the model with all the options I was looking for - not a hard vehicle to find, but my Capital One Check required that I purchase from a franchised dealer, so that limited my options. I was willing to drive 100 miles to and from the dealer to purchase the vehicle, sight unseen.
I am disgusted over their lack of ethics and even worse, their complete unwillingness to admit that they have dishonest, ,deceiptful and currupt sales people working for them. There are too many good people out there looking for jobs to have to employ this kind of scum. I can only assume that they promote this kind of activity from their employees.
Please, you have options in shopping and purchasing vehicles - don't buy from the Ferman Auto Group. As consumers, we have a right to have our voices heard all over the US when we are wronged by big business. It's time for us to say we will only buy from honest, decent businesses and hold the people "we employ as consumers" to a higher standard.