• Report: #805609
Complaint Review:

Saturn of lake Charles/ Santander consumer finances

  • Submitted: Tue, December 06, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, December 06, 2011

  • Reported By: Brittney — Lake Charles Louisiana United States of America
Saturn of lake Charles/ Santander consumer finances
Lake Charles, Louisiana United States of America

Saturn of lake Charles/ Santander consumer finances Did your car salesman lie to you because he knew he could take advantage of your age and sex?? Lake Charles, Louisiana

*Consumer Comment: The Internet is your friend.

*General Comment: In response to the young car buyer.....

*Consumer Comment: Unfortunately typical

*Consumer Comment: Not sure

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I had just turned 18 years old when I decided to try and buy a car. I had been managing a restaurant for 3 years. So I went up to the saturn dealership to see what they could do for me. I brought $2000 with me and my mother of course because I didn't know too much about purchasing a vehicle. The salesman took all my info and found that I had no credit. Not bad credit, just no established credit. He took my $2000 down payment and put me in a Honda civic. He said that I was not getting the civic, just that I needed To drive it around for a few days until he found me something.

2 days passed and he called me to go back up to the dealership and to bring $2200 with me. So I went up to the dealership bringing everything they asked of me, but this time I didn't bring my mom. They then showed me a 2007 Saturn ion. The salesman said this was my only choice now. The sticker on the window said the car cost $10995. Note to self from now on take a picture with the car before you leave the lot. He knew that this was my first purchase and had no earthly idea what I was getting myself into, so he took full control and was using words I didn't understand.

When  he took me inside to start filling out paper work the price of the are had done gone up $4000. He told me he was just gonna have to write on the paper that it was $14995 because of the large down payment he was asking of me. So he lied to the finance  company about the price of the car. Then the salesman  proceeds to tell me that the only way I can keep this car is if he tells the finance company that the car had a sunroof and seat warmers, which it did not have.  I didnt understand why it mattered.My interest rate was 25%. So the final cost of the car now would be $26,000.

I thought this was how all car sales worked. I thought by the time I got my first bill that the Payments would start making the cost of the car go down. This was impossible because everytime I would send in a payment the final cost would go down a little, but not my full payment. It would mostly stay around the same price because of the interest rate. Santander would call my place of work every day. I felt very discouraged like there was no way it can be this hard to have a vehicle . I never seen anyone with so many problems with their vehicle and finance company.

After so many stressful calls to the finance company to find out why they need to call me everyday. I waited about a year and my payments werent putting a dent in the final cost I gave up. After a year of making payments the car cost was at $1100. Thanks to that lovely interest rate and helpful individuals. I now know that you can't trust anyon as far as you can throw them. I just couldn't do it anymore. I was going to college for nursing in the mist of all this. They came to repo it 1 year after I bought it, and I wasn't going to fight for it.

I had no choice but to quit going to school, and try to pick myself back up. I have asked santander to fax me the repo letter about 3 different times so that I can bring it up to the DMV to get my license back because of the flags , and they refused to give it to me saying that I owe them $7000 because they sold the car for $4000. How can anyone my age get a vehicle on their own? You would have to know people or your parents had to have lived a productive life with credit. If not...hang it up.  Thanks

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/06/2011 10:13 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/saturn-of-lake-charles-santander-consumer-finances/lake-charles-louisiana-70607/saturn-of-lake-charles-santander-consumer-finances-did-your-car-salesman-lie-to-you-beca-805609. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

The Internet is your friend.

AUTHOR: Flynrider - (USA)

    I'm very sorry to hear what happened to you.   Sadly, whenever a completely uneducated (about the car buying process) customer walks on to a car lot, they are almost guaranteed to get completely hosed on the deal.    Car salesmen as a group did not get their reputation by being honest and trustworthy.   In my opinion, the industry as a whole has more bad apples than good ones. 

   Before buying your next car, I highly recommend that you do many hours of research on the car buying process.    There's plenty of information out there that you can use to protect your own interests in the transaction.   It's not that complicated.  You just have to know what tactics to expect.  The bottom line is that no one can force you into a bad deal unless you help them do it.  

  Plug "how to buy a car" into your favorite browser and start reading.
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#2 General Comment

In response to the young car buyer.....

AUTHOR: Financegirl2000 - (United States of America)

I am a Finance Director for a major auto group in the midwest. I have been in the car business for 17 years and a Finance Director for 14 of those years. One of the responsibilities I have in my job, (in a nut-shell) is to obtain the agreed upon deal from the Sales Manager, interview the customer, send the deal in for approval to the bank(s), collect all stippluations aka "stipps" and deliver the car. That being said, there are many different banks that serve different purposes and serve different customers.

I want to begin by agreeing with you that being a first time buyer at 18 years old isn't easy. However, young doesn't always mean unintelligent or naive. One should ALWAYS do their homework before entereing a large purchase of any kind; home, auto, boat, etc. I would never want to play another mans game, in his arena, and not have a clue how to play or what the rules are. In this particular instance, educate yourself before going into any dealership. The internet is a great source for information on the vehicles and financing. One major mistake that customers make is that they agree to buy several different cars at several different dealerships just to "see" if they can get approved. Therefore, the dealerships are all sending in requests for financing for the same customer at the same time. That only hurts a customers chances of being approved. In fact, It can shut everything down. I always encourage a customer to search high and low for just the right vehicle for them. Once that vehicle is chosen, then and only then, have your credit information taken on a credit application, that YOU and only you fill out for yourself, no matter what the dealership employee tells you. Once it is submitted to a bank, the bank will then decide to approve the deal as called in to the bank, or if they will "condition" the deal with certain stippluations, for example, most recent paystub within 30 days, 3-5 personal references with names, address, and phone number, utility bill (to prove address), phone bill, etc. If the bank requires these things, they MUST have them and usually before the delivery so the bank can look those things over and approve them before paperwork is signed.

As for the "added equipment" on your vehicle, the reason the sales person told you that they needed to tell the bank about extra equipment that wasn't even on the car, was because the bank will "book out" the vehicles value, and the equipment on the car will help determine the vehicles worth. For example, a car that has a sunroof, heated seats, etc. is worth more than the same car without those features. Therefore the banks loan-to-value will be higher. That means the bank will loan more money on the car that has that edded equipment than the same car without that equipment.
The price of the car shouldn't have changed either. That has nothing to do with the down payment. Santander is considered a sub-prime bank (meaning the customer doesn't qualify for prime rates so they are a higher risk lender with higher rates in consideration with the customers credit). In most cases there are fees involved as well. That means the bank is actually charging the dealership a fee to even buy the deal from the dealership. This fee is called an aquisition fee. That fee has been as small as $50.00 and I have seen them as high as $3000. or more. That fee CANNOT be passed on to the customer! However, I have heard of many dealers jacking up the price of the car to include this fee and that is actually charging the customer.

In reference to your choice of vehicles, it is probably not far from the truth that you had only one or two cars to choose from. Once the bank sets the parameters for the deal, meaning, the amount the customer can finance, term (how many months/years the car can be financed for) and interest rate, then the sales person or maybe the Finance Manager or Director has to go through their inventory and find a car that will match those specific parameters. If there isn't a car on their lot that will match perfectly, then the sales person will have to try and find a car to fit those parameters. If not, they are out of luck. It sounds like the sales person "created" a car to match those parameters and then "coached" you as to what to say to the finance company. That is NOT good business anywhere, and it is a shame that there are still dealers out there so destperate for a deal that they feel they should operate that way.

All in all, this is a tough market for first time, young buyers. Whenever I see a credit score of "0" in almost any case, unless you have a good downpayment, AND a qualified co-signer, it is nearly impossible to get an auto loan (at least in this area). Now, there are many institutions out there that are willing to help out such an individual, such as a 'buy-here-pay-here" establishment. There is usually a lender out there available to help almost anyone. However, like I said earlier, you must fully understand EVERYTHING you sign and agree to. If you are an adult, please know that the "I didn't understand" or "I didn't know what he/she was talking about" excuse doesn't work. If that is the case, then you shouldn't have signed adn agreed to anything. Read those finance contracts, even if it irritates the dealership employee. It is YOUR signiture and credit that is on the line, not theirs. If there is something you don't understand, DON'T SIGN IT! I cannot emphasize that enough. If you are uncomfortable, don't sign it. If it doesn't feel right, don't sign it. I wish you the best of luck.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Unfortunately typical

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

You SHOULD be able to trust sales people but you cannot, particularly car sales people. Many of us can tell stories about being ripped off by unscrupulous car salesmen.  Mine were fortunately not as severe as yours, I'm happy to say.

Unfortunately you have learned the hard way that car salespeople are a seriously sleazy bunch with no conscience whatsoever and they know it.  The only people worse are psychics who will take you for everything and you will have nothing to show for it.  Car dealers can rip you off for overpricing cars and high interest rates but you at least have a car when you're done.

Next time, please do some serious research, you can even buy packages from places like Consumers Report that help a lot.  You can also take someone with you who knows what they're doing.

There are good dealers around but they are hard to find, they are not necessarily the cheapest but they can be trusted pretty much.  If you find one (we have), support them with your business and recommendations.

Good luck.

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#4 Consumer Comment

Not sure

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Not sure exactly what your complaints are, but it does seem like you have learned several very expensive lessons.  The biggest probably is that when you go to buy a car take someone with you who knows what they are doing. 

I say this because the first time you went with your mom and walked out having handing them over $2,000 and using a car they let you "borrow".  What your mom should have done right there is gotten up and had both of you just walk out.  No dealer is going to let some 18 year old kid with no credit just drive around a car "until they find something", unless that dealer is going to try and pull something.

Second, they didn't lie to the finance company about the cost of the car.  They told the finance company what they got you to agree to pay, and it appears that it was more than the listed price on the car.

But then you got the car and were upset that you expected your balance to go down the "full payment".  Again this is something your mom should have explained to you if she knew what was going on.  With car loans you ALWAYS pay more interest in the beginning, that is how they work.  But as you get near the end of the loan you will be paying more toward the balance.

I have asked santander to fax me the repo letter about 3 different times so that I can bring it up to the DMV to get my license back because of the flags ,
- I don't know what you mean by this?   Your license is not suspended if you get your car repossessed.  So not sure what showing the DMV a repo letter would get your license back.

I owe them $7000 because they sold the car for $4000

- If you have a car repossessed you are still responsible for the loan balance.  So the amount sounds about right, in fact it may even be a bit low.  If you did actually finance about $10,000 and had it only a year, you would have owed around $11,000 after the repo fees.  Taking away the $4,000 they sold it for would leave you around $7,000.
How can anyone my age get a vehicle on their own?
Simple...SAVE your money and pay CASH.  If you feel you MUST finance, you don't need a $10,000 car.  You can get one for much less.  Sure it won't be a great car, but it will get you by for a couple of years.  This will give you more time to save up additional money and build your credit history, which can help lower your interest rates in the future.

Unfortunately you have a repossession.  So you can forget about getting anything more than Sub-Prime loans for the next several years.  Just hope that they don't decide to file a suit against you for the balance.
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