Buying Car at Dealership — One awful experience

Wednesday morning, I took my friend to buy a car at one of the Toyota dealership, from where I bought a car two years back. It was horrible experience then, and it wasn’t any different this time.

We had already seen the listings on site, and shortlisted couple of cars based on the price range and their stats.

Here is brief timeline which speaks for itself how much improvement it needs -

10:00 AM — Took first car for a ride.

10:30 AM — Took second car for a ride.

We liked the first one, which was priced only at $11,504 (original $14,000 and discount coupon from dealership was applied)

10:45 AM — Negotiation starts

The guy who showed us car started by adding stuff up on 11,504 and took the total up to $14,888. Basically even after added discount he added bunch of stuff on top of it in the name of making the car ready for retail, documentation, tax etc.

When I asked why this added things are not highlighted on the site, his words are “everyone does that, so we have to do it”. I tried to convince him why not go one level up from others and be honest about it, the process might be much easier to convince customer later than providing the proper cost upfront. He kept laughing and tells me, if I put original price you will not come here.

He took the final number which we agree on and said he will check with his manager, couple of back and forth and his manager came to speak with us at around 12:00PM, his manager try to convince us and try to remove certification to get the price under range, though the online price lists $11,504 after certification, so we didn’t budge. He went back and got his manager, it took another hour or so and then they agreed on the total price after tax and everything $13,000. Sort of small win for us, as its in range, though they said they won’t be fixing any cosmetic issues on car and you will need to take the car as is, as we are making loss on this deal :(

2:00PM — After end of whole thing they started documentation, asked for all kind of things which is required for sale. Through out the process they try to make us feel that they are making loss on this deal and they can’t do anything for us now. Normally they also give temporary car insurance for day or two, which give consumer time to get their own. However, the rep told us that because they are not making any profit they would not be able to give us that. I asked him repeatedly that do you tell customer that you are giving temporary insurance because you are making profit, and his words were “You are not going to get temporary insurance from us, because we are not making any profit on this sale”. I asked if its official guideline by Toyota, and he said yes. Which of-course I find it very surprising.

3:00PM — We are setting in front of the finance guy who is now trying to sale us warranty on car. Yup, after 5 hours thats what we need, another sales guy :(

So, Toyota, pre-owned, certified car, and they now trying to sale one more thing on it with saying its peace of mind :) yup, even certified vehicle won’t give you peace of mind, what else would? So, on top of Toyota Certified, they got Certified Platinum, and Certified Gold. The guy spend hour to sell it, even told us that you can get things replaced and cancel it once you use it for few months and get some repairs. So, at this point the guy is pretty much saying, that my vehicle has already 60,000 miles, and its likely I am going to run into the issue, and second thing is on Toyota’s payroll he is working against the Toyota’s plan which I am assuming if someone cancel in middle, its not considered successful sale. I am still trying to wrap my mind around, and he says I’ll be able to add some employee discount on your warranty premium, and brings down the cost less than $30 a month. In process of warranty sale, he prints wrong doc and we spent another 15 min getting correct docs and signs on it.

4:15PM — Finally we got the car key, at this point all we cared about is to take the car home and get some food.

Moral of the episode is, in 2017 they get away with this nonsense is no better competition, and they all want to do the same thing. In small dealership building they have created corporate kind of hierarchy where one by one boss with better suite comes and try to convince you the higher price of the vehicle. They still want the whole thing high touch and negotiation heavy, when customer try to get easy options. My take is, it’s not too late when they will be crushed by their own negligence of customer experience and satisfaction.

Hope someone looks at this details from Toyota and do some introspection. If you had similar experience or different, please share in comment.