On May 8, 2004, my wife and I visited Don McGill Toyota in Houston, Texas to shop for a van. We found a 2004 Sienna XLE we liked. After negotiation with the sale manager, we decided to buy it for a total drive out price of $29000.
We then met with Vada Cacamo, finance manager (I am not sure what her exact title is), and told her we would put $5000 down and finance $24000. She offered us some finance options:
1. For a loan of $24000 at an interest rate of 5.25% for 36 months, the monthly payment would be $740 (total payment is $26640)
2. She said they had a special. If we buy an Extended Service Warranty ($795) and a Lojack Recovery System ($1295), she can offer us an interest rate of 3.79% for 36 months. The loan would be $26174 ($24000 + $795 + $1295 + tax + fee), and the monthly payment would be $770 (total payment is $27732)
The difference in total payment between these two options was $1092, which seems like a good deal for two extra packages of value $2090.
I then calculated the payments myself using the standard loan method. For option 1, I figured out the monthly payment was $722 instead of $742 (her option was $30 higher per month and $1080 higher total). For option 2, her calculation was correct. I asked her why there was a difference between her calculation and mine. She could not explain but insisted her number was correct and refused to go over the calculation. She then started to talk about banks, interest rates, lojack system, and showed us some numbers. She was talking so fast, and we could not follow her (now, I think she was trying to confuse us and draw our attention). She also lost patience and said something to push us,
You can do your calculation at home
I am busy and I have to finish this
I have been doing this for years
Our numbers are accurate
Thinking she was a professional and they were good business people, we decided to buy the service warranty and lojack system. I then went over the contracts before asking my wife to sign (the car is under her name). Vada tried to rush us and make fun of us by saying things like,
Are you reading every word
This is just a standard contract
You don't need to worry about this
Come on, she (my wife) can do it by herself
After all, we drove the new car home that night.
The next few days, I went over my calculation for a loan of $24000 at 5.25% for 36 months, the payment was still $722 a month. I contacted Vada. She said the paperwork was sent out and she needed a few days to get it.
On May 14, 2004, my wife went to the dealership, and Vada referred her to Peter Vi, finance manager (I don't know his title). I was out of town, and I called his office while my wife was there. Peter told us that there was a problem in their computer system and caused their number to be wrong.
I told him we wanted to return the service warranty and lojack system and get a refund, because we did not want to buy the packages. We bought because they provided us wrong number and misled us in making decision. He said we could return the service warranty but not the lojack system because it was permanently installed on the vehicle. We then started to discuss resolutions. During the discussion, there was something that concerned us.
1. He admitted the mistake but never apologize. He only said, everyone makes mistakes.
2. He did not want to lose money in the deal. He was concerning the cost of the packages. All resolutions he offered were from a business point of view.
3. He kept saying he was trying to help us. In fact, he was doing that because he made a mistake and caused us to spend more money.
After a long discussion, he offered us a credit of $395 and lower the interest rate to 3.54%. The payment is now $756 per month and $27211 total. We are still paying a total of $1219 more (comparing to $722 per month and $25992 total) for the two unwanted packages. I rejected the offer, and I insisted refund for both packages. I emphasized the problem was not only a difference in payments, but also a deceptive trade practice. We started to argue. I told him if he refused my request, I would have no option but to file a lawsuit. He got anger and yelled at me over the phone,
I am trying to help you, but I don't have to
I am tired with you, and I can hang up anytime
You have a lawyer, I have a lawyer too, I have done this before
You can take the credit, or we can have lawyers talk
I was angry too, but my wife calmed me because she thought we could not get anything from him. She said we should take the credit and look for other ways to recover the loss. I agreed and we did that.
In our conversation, he made some points that made me believe they intended to deceive the customers.
1. He said they realized the computer problem for a while. Why didn't they fix it or avoid the mistake in the calculation (Vada said she has been doing it for years)?
2. He said some customers found the mistake after they signed the contract, and he had to credit their accounts for the difference. Are they doing it to all customers that were using wrong data?
3. When talking about lawsuit, he asked me if I had any paperwork to support my claim. I said there was a worksheet, but Vada took it without giving me a copy, although I requested. He said he could destroy the worksheet and I would have no evidence.
Now, I am trying to find ways to file complaint or even lawsuit. If you have any experience or suggestion, please kindly help me. If you think Don McGill Toyota deceived you, let's work together to recover our loss and penalize them. To contact me, please contact me by using the rebuttal box below. Thank you for your attention. CLICK here to see why we deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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