I submitted an online credit application with Capitol Kia in Austin and received a response from "Caroline" that I was "pre-approved". Supposedly my credit had already been run by some outfit/program called 'creditjunky' in the e-mail that Caroline sent.
Skeptical still, I decided to stop by and visit the next business day. A nice young salesman greeted me and I said I wanted to talk with the finance person first about the terms of this "pre-approval" before looking at cars.
As all car dealers are in my experience, they wouldn't have that. They wanted me to LOOK at and SELECT a car first. So, I chose a silver 07 Kia Rio SX on the lot. The sales person went in to get the keys and came back saying he could not find them. This happened with the NEXT 4 Rios I chose! "couldn't find the keys"
Now, at this point I asked them point blank if they were just trying to push the two white 07 Spectras they had pointed me to on the lot and if they just were not interested in selling Rios at all. The sales person said he was just trying to get me into a nicer car for the same money.
Eventually, I agreed to test drive the 07 Spectra EX and it was a nice car.
Pretty soon we were in the back room with them asking me to sign this scribble to agree to buy a car if the payments were X, etc. etc. (apparently car dealerships STILL try to use this tactics after my 15 years experience in buying cars!) I asked again what the "pre-approval" e-mail from Caroline meant and they said that was based on my credit score and reported income.
So, why then was I asked to fill out ANOTHER credit application? The pre-approval was bunk!
They came back and told me that my credit score was too low (which, by the way, they were telling the other 3 people in the back room the same thing...I could overhear it!). That was surprising since supposedly I had been "pre-approved" based on my income and credit score before I even walked into the dealership.
So, long story short, they asked for a co-signer. I got my fiance (who is a full-time at-home mom) to co-sign and, no surprise, they came back wanting to find ANOTHER co-signer. (incedently, her credit report did reveal an identity theft situation we are following up on)
They were really trying to keep me on the lot; so much so that the saleperson was following me around while I was on the cell phone with a friend from work and the rest of the people were having a 'sales meeting' in the back yard of the dealership. When I told the 'finance manager' outside as I was leaving that there was NO DEAL and that I was leaving, he said he would contact someone at another lender and they'd call me back.
It's been 2 or 3 days...no call back and NO response from my e-mail to Caroline either.
AVOID the Bill Dickenson owned Kia and Hyundai dealerships; I think this is their mode of scamming people into walking into the door (sending out 'pre-approvals')