I am writing this letter today to express my extreme displeasure with a recent car buying experience at the Riverside Honda dealership. Instead of feeling the joy of a new car purchase I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth of unethical behavior and misleading. Let me explain.
On Saturday, March 17, 2013, I was greeted by John Primo Flores upon arriving at the Riverside Honda dealership. He was warm and friendly and immediately honed in on my father as the car purchaser. Something I was perfectly okay with and wanted to happen because I dont like small chat or chatter when trying to look at the vehicle. I had every intention of purchasing a 2013 Civic Sedan EX that day and using my 2008 CR-V EX as a trade in. Having done my research into car costs and checking Kelley Blue Book for my trade-in value, I had a general idea of the cost range I was looking at for payments.
While viewing the options in the lot we stumbled across the vehicle I would ultimately purchase, a 2013 Civic Sedan EX-L. I noticed a large red tag in the window that said the vehicle was marked down to $23,555, a savings of $4,000, when looking at vehicle colors and decided to spend a little bit more then the EX because of the discount. The tag said that the original price was $27,555 and when looking at the listing of the price breakdown it had the MSRP plus add-ons bringing it to that cost on the smaller sticker. I assumed that the $23,555 was the vehicle with add-ons reduced by $4,000 (my first mistake). I told Primo that I was interested in that vehicle and we went in to talk.
He checked out my trade-in and valued it much lower than expected. He did the basic math and the monthly payments came out much higher than anticipated. When I asked about the increase in payments, or why it was so high because I had expected lower, he said it was licensing and taxes, something I had admittedly forgotten. I asked for more on my trade-in and Primo went off to get Eduards C. Eduards and I went back and forth a few times with me focused on getting a better trade-in and monthly payments within my desired range. Eventually, we settled on an acceptable amount. I assumed the higher monthly payments and longer term loan to get the monthly I desired was because of the slightly higher vehicle cost, forgotten licensing and fees, and the lower value of my trade-in.
Never once during this time did I ask why the payments were so high or what the total cost of the car was. I assumed that the $23,555 was the price we were at because it was red tagged such, because Primo had said so at the beginning. I assumed that since the pre-red tag price started at the higher, which included the add-ons, and said $4,000 reduced that the add-ons were included for the $23,555 price. I fully admitted that this was my failure to ask the questions.
However, I assumed that I was dealing with an honorable company and dealership. I falsely put my trust in Primo and Eduards to tell me anything important. Such as they werent honoring the $23,555 price and that the add-ons were still going to cost me extra on top of the vehicle price. No one once mentioned any of this to me, it wasnt until I got home and was reading the contract the next day that I realized I had been swindled.
I see now that my trust and faith in the Riverside Honda dealership was misplaced. I should have asked the questions. I should have done the math and realized I was being set-up at a higher cost. I should have noticed before I signed the contract what I was agreeing to. I fully admit my fault for my trust in the staff at Riverside Honda to deal with me in an ethical and truthful manner. Trust me when I say, I wont make that mistake again.
This will be my last dealing with the Riverside Honda or Riverside Metro Auto group. If this is acceptable behavior from the sales staff, to not honor the red tag price, to not even tell me they werent honoring the price, I cant trust anyone associated with this location. Not for service or parts, because how can I trust that they are telling me the truth about what services my car needs? How can I trust that they arent adding on unneeded services just to increase profit?
If their sales staff is willing to bait and switch me with the overall price of the vehicle and not even say anything how can I trust any part of this dealership to not do the same? Once I have received the completion of the services I have already paid for I will not be returning to the Riverside Honda for a vehicle or service. As much as it pains me as a born and raised Riversidian to take away tax dollars and income from the city I will spend the time and money to visit a different dealership for my service and future vehicle needs.
I have always driven Hondas, with all four of my prior vehicles having been Hondas; I really do love the vehicles and the quality. I have always recommended Hondas and convinced several friends and family members to buy Honda. My Uncle works for a dealership in Arizona and has always spoken highly of the brand and company. However, this experience is really shaken my belief and trust in the brand.
I really do like my vehicle; the whole experience though has tainted what should have been a happy occasion. I know I am to blame for not reading the contract and trusting that they would not mislead me at the dealership. I will give Honda another try with my next vehicle; however, I will be extremely leery in the dealings and more careful with my selection of dealerships. I just want to express my displeasure and the pain this experience has caused me in the hopes that some good can come out of it and more people wont have to suffer as I did.