Buyer beware - for women
Time for a new car?
Now is the time of year when being a woman does not pay off. My daughter who is 20 years old was in great need of a newer vehicle. She travels 54 miles per day round trip for her work. Her other car, a 1994 Chrysler LeBaron was fairly reliable but caused her to get pulled over at least once a week due to its looks. She also has 2 small children in which she totes around in her car.
She was to receive a goodly amount from her Federal income taxes, so she ear marked a certain amount that she needed, to purchase a decent vehicle.
Since she works 40 hours per week and we also live way out in the middle of nowhere, the phone and internet was going to be our friend for this venture.
Bait and Switch?
The first place we called Sundance Chevrolet, is about 56 miles from our home, they boast of having the largest number of used cars in the State of Michigan. The website had a few cars within our price range of $3000. There were also cars on the site that didn’t have a price, in order to find out these prices we had to call. We did find one within her price range that we thought might be something she’d like, so of course we called.
Our Salesman, Mitch told us that in no way were we going to get a decent car for $3000 or under and proceeded to tell us that he had one for $2000 more! It was a great car, perfect in fact. Great mileage, good looking, runs great etc. ‘they just got it in last night’, it was very quickly mentioned that it was owned by a young man who was looking to upgrade. The thoughts ran through my head, a young man? I used to be a young woman once, who had young men friends, I knew what they did with their cars! I also have 2 sons, and know how many cars they have went through in their young years. This was 10 o’clock in the morning, how could they possibly know what a perfect car it was if they hadn’t even had it 24 hours? There was no way we were going to trust a salesman over the phone, besides my daughter didn’t want that kind of car.
Yet another phone call
The next picture we seen was on a website of a nearby town, it wasn’t the car she wanted but we thought we might call and see if they had something she could use. The first thing he did was redirect us to a car that was $4,000 more than what she had planned on spending. She liked the car and had decided that if she couldn’t find what she wanted then she would consent to financing above and beyond the $3000 down payment. She was turned down because of her income, she didn’t make enough to finance a car. They have a cap set of just under $2000 per month. It didn’t matter that she lived with me, and only pays $200 per month in rent. She did not qualify.
The next place we looked was Rose City Motors. We first called, explained to them what she needed. A reliable car, one with fairly low mileage, must have 4 doors (car seats are harder with 2 doors), within the $3000 price range. If they didn’t have anything in that price range, would they consent to financing and what was their income cap? He said he would get back to us. We waited for several hours, our salesman Daniel Reese did not call back, so we called once again. He said just come on in he would talk to her when she got there, she did fit into the income range. My older daughter wanted to be part of the purchase, she trusted these guys at Rose City Motors, so I stayed at home with the babies while they went to look at the cars available.
The first salesman they talked to was Ken Granville, he stated that they didn’t have a good reliable car within her price range. She said that if she could get financing she would consent, depending on the car. He began running her name through the computer it was discovered that she had already spoken to Daniel Reese, so she was turned over to him. He immediately said he had a car that was within her price range.
When she asked about the airbag light that was on he stated that “it just needs to be reset”.
By the time she returned home it was dark so I couldn’t get a good look at the car. What she had purchased was a 2000 Ford Focus, 4 door. She was fairly proud of herself that she not only picked out the car, got it within her price range and there was no financing. She owned it outright.
There was just 2 visible things wrong with it. The side mirrors were screwed on and there was a crack in the windshield. I now wish I had went with her. Both of those things will cause you to receive tickets in this State. If the mirrors should fall off, that is an instant ticket, and the cracked windshield is certainly something that is looked at when getting pulled over. There was a sticker on the back window of all the repairs they had said they made, which of course was kept when the purchase was finalized. She was charged an additional $200.00 for this inspection. Making her ‘out the door’ price $3200.00.
She specifically requested to purchase a warranty, they stated that they could not sell her one due to the year of the vehicle.
Now comes the problems
She drove it to work the next day and came home saying that she was all over the road, she felt like she was sliding. The roads were fairly clear, since we live in Michigan that is something that one needs to be aware of at all times. She decided that maybe she needed new tires. So we called around and found some times. They were $340.00 for 4 new tires. The car still didn’t seem like it was in control, but she thought it might be the weather.
Within 3 days of getting the new tires, she was having difficulty with the engine. It began running very rough, sounding like a diesel engine. The check engine light came on. She took it into our local Auto Zone, they put it on their free computer. It said that the 4th cylinder wasn’t firing correctly, so she had to take it into a local repair shop where for $20 they would put it on their computer to tell her exactly what was wrong. $140.00 later they tell her it was the Engine Coil. It had a small crack in it. For this she also had to call her work, ask for someone else to switch shifts with her so she could get her car repaired. Since she is a manager, this is not an easy task.
Thank Goodness for Dads!
Last night I had some running to do, it was her day off so she volunteered to do it for me. My husband needed to be picked up from work (50 miles away) and my other daughter also needed to be picked up from work. It wasn’t on the way, but an easy route to take. Since my husband is an over the road truck driver, he hasn’t been home for 2 weeks and had not had the opportunity to have a good look at her car.
When she arrived to pick up her Dad, she told him there seemed to be something wrong with it, so he drove. He felt he was all over the road. At one point he stopped, the rear passenger tire was crooked. He took it off and tried straightening it out, thinking that the tire guy put in on wrong. At first it drove fine, then got progressively worse. It took more than an hour for them to get home since they could only drive 35 mph.
Back to the phone
First thing this morning I called Rose City Motors to speak with Daniel Reese regarding this purchase. To see if there was some sort of warranty, or if they would consent to help my daughter out. I was informed that it was an ’As Is’ purchase and that there was nothing he could do. I explained to him that she had requested a reliable car and he did not sell her one. I explained that she could have possibly had and accident with her children in the car and asked if they willing to take responsibility for this. I was referred to his Supervisor, Nate Van Loon.
Nate explained to me that it was an ‘As Is’ purchase and repairs were to be expected, since it was a 2000 and had over 100,000 miles on it. I then explained to him that she believed it was understood that she was purchasing a vehicle that was going to be reliable, since she had to travel such a distance to work and that she also had 2 small children. I then asked him were they going to be responsible for this. He said ‘No, they were not responsible’, since it was an ‘As Is’ purchase. I asked him about a 30 day warranty, if there was one on this vehicle. ‘No’ was the response. He then explained to me that she could have taken it to a mechanic to have it checked out, that they encouraged people to do this. She was never told this, she did not know this was possible, this is also verified by my daughter Catherine who was present at the time of purchase.
Should have been noticed
We took it to the repair shop this morning, it was the right rear axle ‘Chamber Bushing’, or in other words right rear arm bushing. With a repair bill of almost $500.00 ($481.62 to be exact). It was explained that her tire would have eventually come off and she could have had a very severe accident. Our mechanic then explained that for future reference, at a price of $77, he would do a full inspection from front end to read end. List everything that was wrong with the vehicle, so it could be repaired before purchase. He also said that had Rose City Motors done a proper inspection of this, it would have been discovered. He also said that very soon she will need front brakes, including rotors. We are also paying the additional $77 for the proper inspection to be done, this will be a bumper to bumper inspection that my daughter was under the assumption, had already paid for. It will be done by a Certified Napa Auto Service Center.
Because of the extensive repairs that need to be done, she has had to leave her vehicle for the next 24 hours or so. Her work was notified and she is working a much shorter shift, taking a ride with someone else. So much for a reliable car, 2 times calling in to work within a 15 day period.
Heads up Ladies!
Ladies, if the time comes that you need to make a purchase of a used vehicle, do yourself a favor, take a man. A man who is knowledgeable, someone who will dicker with your salesman. No matter what is said, women are treated differently when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. Unless you have taken an auto repair class, or know something about cars, you need to take a man. When it comes to vehicles, men are treated with more respect, things will get repaired before purchase. Above all, if your demands are not met by your salesman, be prepared to walk away.
This happens all too often in the great Country of the United States, people are taken advantage of consistently. If you have a dollar in your pocket, someone is willing to take that dollar, even if they have to hurt you to do it. My daughter and my 2 grandchildren ages 16 months and 4 months could have easily been killed along with anyone in their path. If the right rear tire would have came off at a speed of 55 miles per hour, the projected path would be going to the left, across the center line of any roadway. On coming vehicles would not stand a chance, because this did not happen, we feel very blessed. Had my husband waited one more day to come home, we might not be so lucky.
Shame on You!!
Before getting off of the phone, I explained to Nate Van Loon what my job was. I am a writer. Daniel Reese and Nate Van Loon from Rose City Motors, Kalamazoo, Michigan, you are being called out for your poor business practices. You have sold a lemon to a 20 year old female that works for a living, making just $1 over minimum wage and has 2 small children. Her request was simple, a reliable car, yet you failed her. Shame on You!
What I am doing
I have since called the National Association of Consumer Advocates, to check with them and see if anything can be done. My next step is contacting the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint. For $90 I can also take Rose City Motors to Court and I will, if they continue to deny responsibility.
Yes, there are things I do know
I understand that vehicles are in need of repairs, good maintenance of a vehicle is important and required. This particular repair should have and would have been discovered had a proper inspection been done before being sold. One does not expect to purchase a vehicle and drive it into the repair shop next door.
© copyright Sweetsusieg all rights reserved Feburary 22, 2011.
Some links you might like to have
- National Association of Consumer Advocates Consumer Protection Advocates and Attorneys
The National Association of Consumer Advocates NACA- is a nationwide organization of more than a thousand attorneys who represent and have represented hundreds of thousands of consumers victimized by fraudulent, abusive and predatory business practi