UPDATE: May 30th, 2001
The following Rip-off Report has been forwarded to our contacts at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn Michigan.
The Rip-off Report below will blow your mind! Earnhardt Ford, where your treated like a Bull, and, that ain't no Bull.
As Founder of the Rip-off Report, I could not believe the Rip-off Report below either! .. Imagine going to look at a car or truck. You talk with the car salesman for about an hour. You get their business card and tell them you will be back in contact with them. You then get in your car to leave and your trapped! ...That's right. Trapped! Gestapo gates so customers cannot leave on their own free will.
At Earnhardt Ford in Tempe Arizona, this car dealer has all the entrances blocked with spikes and the one exit blocked with a gate and sales people. At the entrance coming in there are spikes that will flatten your tires if you attempt to leave through those entrances. There is no excuse for this procedure. This neighborhood is a well lit middle to upper class neighborhood, average income 50 to $80,000 yearly income for a 2-mile radius around this location.
As you read the Rip-off Report below, you will see that the sales tactics that they use against these consumers are unfair and unscrupulous to say the least. The automotive industry refers to this as a "Captive car selling' tactic." This is to keep you on the lot, what ever it takes to make you buy. .."Keep you on the lot till you pop or drop" .."Keep you on the lot till you buy or die" ...they don't want you to buy from anyone else, so they force you to stay on the lot any way they can.
badbusinessbureau.com could not believe the claims of this Rip-off Report could be possible. We decided to send down several different consumer advocates to pose as buyers. Sure enough, after each investigator individually spending about 1 hour with a sales person, they, the investigators were all individually blocked in, detained at the gate, all at different times, and each investigator interrogated before Earnhardt sales people would open the gates so they could exit the dealership!
The investigators were asked questions such as: "Why are you leaving?" ..."Wait, let me get my manager, can we get you more for your trade?" ..."We can get you a low interest rate." .."If we waived the market value adjustment price increase and sold the vehicle at invoice, would you buy now?" .."We will beat any price, don't leave yet." ... "Please, get out of your car and take a test drive." ..."Go park your car, let my manager work some numbers before you leave" ..."You must give us your phone
number before you leave for security purposes" ..."Let me get my manager so we can work on some numbers."... "If you don't take a test drive, my boss will fire me" ... "if I don't get your phone number before you leave I will be fired."
One time a consumer advocate investigator had to get confrontational with them, as they would not want to let him leave the lot until the sales man got his manager to come out to authorize opening the gate! What the hell is going on here!?
Below, is the actual shopper's experience who filed the origional Rip-off Report.
ACTUAL VICTIM'S Rip-off Report below that was filed:
I went with my mother to look at 2000 Mustang convertibles at Earnhardt Ford in Tempe. She was driving a 99 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab fully loaded and looking to trade it in. I noticed as we drove into the dealership that there were one-way spikes in the road as we drove in. On the other side was the exit lane which had a gate and a guard. This appeared to be the only exit from the lot. Spikes so the customer cannot leave from the entrances at their own free will. There is only one customer exit with sales people to work you over one last time.
They took the keys to the truck to appraise it for trade-in, and we walked around with the salesman to look at the cars. After she found a car she liked, we went into the main building and were seated at a desk. The salesman indicated he would be right back and returned with another salesman who introduced himself as Adam indicating he was the Manager. After about 20 minutes of negotiating, my Mother re-stated the offer she would accept and told him that she had to leave or she would be late for an appointment. She told him to call her if he would agree to that deal, otherwise she was not interested. He completely ignored her comments and continued pitching his deal.
Several minutes later, she stood up and asked for the keys to her vehicle, again stating that she had to leave for an appointment and to call her if he agreed to her terms. I also stood up and stepped away from the desk. He remained seated, ignoring her request for the keys and continued speaking. 6 times she asked for her keys and said she was not interested and that she needed to leave. He completely ignored each request and continued to speak. She finally told him that she would go find them herself and walked off. He followed us out the door. While we walked, she asked 3 more times for her keys - each request ignored. We got to the truck and it was locked. I asked him in the calmest voice I could summon where the keys were. He ignored my question and continued to irritate my Mother.
My Mother began walking toward the used car section of the lot where the truck was taken for appraisal. When we reached the used car office building she began asking Earnhardt employees standing around if they knew where her keys were. Adam followed and continued to spew the same garbage deal he started her negotiations with. I grew angry and asked Adam if he had a hearing problem and again, asked for the keys. He ignored me. Approximately 10 minutes elapsed while we walked around the lot in 100+ degree weather trying to find someone who would tell her where her keys were. I became very agitated and used several explicit words to again, ask for the keys. This time he responded and said he didnt know where the keys were. He continued harassing my Mother. Several minutes later I asked for the keys again and he stated that they were under the tire in a very snide manner and walked off toward the main building.
We got in the truck which was parked in a spot that took an 8 point turn to get out of, and headed for the front gate. When we reached the front gate (which by the way is an actual railroad crossing style gate), the gatekeeper (dressed like a security guard) approached the passenger window while speaking into his two-way radio. He stated a new figure for the car she was looking at if she did not trade-in her vehicle. She said she was not interested and re-stated that she would only accept the deal she informed him of prior to asking for her keys. Well, to make a long story shorter, we spent about 10 minutes at the gate while she refused 5 new figures and continued asking if they would please open the gate that she was late for an appointment. I stopped asking for release from their lot by this time for fear that I would lose my temper. Finally the gatekeeper opened the gate and we drove off ... twitching.
Auto Buyers Advocate
I would advise this consumer to print out a copy of this Rip-off Report and fax a copy to Ford Motor and then contact Ford Motor Company at 1-800-392-3673 and advise Ford as to how this Phoenix dealer treats car buyers that are considering buying a Ford product.
The owner of this car lot says "and that ain't no bull" I say it's all right from the bull's rear end. I wonder who thought of this as a way to hold car shoppers till they "pop or drop."