Saturday, August 8, 2009

Caveat Emptor!!!

I really hesitate writing this blog because I treasure my good judgment in most things I get involved with. However in this scenario I was duped and take the blame for my foolishness.

After nurturing my Hyundai XG350 up to 78,000 miles in almost 5 years it was time for a new car. I started looking for a Dodge Caliber since I heard it was a good American car that was comfortable and had good gas mileage. I went to a local dealer who had a "special" price on one of these, several "$K" under the others. I called and was told the reason for the price drop was that there were several "incentives" involved.

So I'm traveling up the road to test drive this baby and arrive at the dealership with the car polished and ready for me to slip into. The Head Salesman makes the following remark just before I turn on the ignition, "The salesperson on the phone told you this car had no A/C didn't she?". After a few well chosen words I left.

Down the highway I go. I pass a Kia Dealership and pull in. I had a friend who had a Kia Sportage and loved it, so I thought I'd check out a used Kia, something I could afford. I hadn't even closed my car door before the hungry salesman came running up to me. I asked about a used Kia Sportage. He said he had none but he could put me in a new one for almost the same money as I was going to spend on the Caliber.

After a test drive he ushered me into the dealership where I saw several other hungry salesmen loitering around. After meeting with his "superior" and being in the place almost 2 hours, they beat me down enough to have me leave a deposit and agree to take a new Kia Sportage 2 days hence. I had signed a few papers (left with no copies) and told them I would pick up the car 2 days later. I was the only one in the dealership at that time and it was almost one hour after they had closed. I was tired, beaten down, and submissive.

The next day another Kia dealer called me. I had gone online to get 3 quotes before I went to the 1st dealer. The 2nd guy said he could beat the price by a bunch. I told him I had signed papers and left a deposit at the 1st dealer. He said, after checking with his sales manager, that I could get out of that deal because I "didn't take delivery of the car". I asked him if he was sure. He checked again and told me he was sure.

Later that day I traveled up the highway to the 2nd dealer and met with the salesman and his boss who confirmed that I could get out of the 1st deal as long as I "didn't take delivery of the car". The 2nd dealer's Business Manager told me the same thing as I handed him the check for the car... which I drove home.

Are you getting the drift of the end of this story? Let's cut to the chase....I now owned TWO Kia Sportages!! The 1st dealer kept calling me to find out when I was picking up my car. I didn't answer his calls. He would not let me out of the contract I signed. I tried to get the 2nd dealer to take back the 2nd car. He offered me $4K under what I paid for it 2 days before.

I contacted a lawyer who thought that the Maryland law for a 3 day "cooling off" period would DIDN'T! He was wrong, the 2nd dealer was wrong, and I was stuck with two Kia Sportages.

I'll shorten this story...I hadn't slept, hadn't eaten, etc for several days. I wasn't sure what my options were anymore. So up the road I go on a suggestion from a friend to talk to the Head Honcho of ALL the dealerships associated with the 1st Kia Dealer. I offered to make it worth his while to get me out of the 1st contract. He agreed and let me out with a cash settlement.

This was my fault even though the 2nd dealer was really responsible for my troubles. Maryland law regarding recision of a contract only refers to contracts like home improvement, house purchases, etc. How many of you knew it didn't apply to contracts signed for automobiles?

By the way, I love my Kia Sportage even though it cost me "a bit more" than I planned. Do you trust ANY car salespeople???????


Jo-Anne said...

So I thought the 3 day rule did apply to cars, had no idea. Since I just hit 195,000 miles and plan on another 100,000 from my trusty toyota I will rememerb this for later. Yeah I wouldn't have slept either , geez Unc this is so not like you!!

David Ettlin said...

We've been very happy with most of the Saturns we've bought -- the '87 wagon with 180,000-plus miles and a recurring 'check engine' light, and the '99 sedan with 140,000 that uses up a quart of oil every 1,200 miles or so. (The backup is a 2005 Toyota Matrix we bought from a friend who moved to Germany, that had about 37,000 -- which we use on longer trips.)
Frankly, we are hoping to crack 200,000 on the wagon. Most we ever got out of a car before meltdown was 125,000 with a Chevy Cavalier wagon... and we'd never buy a Chevy again. (The Saturn that didn't do well was a used 85 we got for our daughter. It was a lemon from the get-go.)