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Test Drives & Dealership Promotions



  • I’m in the process of buying a “certified” Civic. I found a particular Civic on the (corporate) website by using the search parameters to only display certified civics. This led me to one particular vehicle I was interested in that came up as certified. I then repeated this process on the specific dealer’s page and only searched for certified Civics and again got this vehicle in the search results.

    The description page on the website for this vehicle shows the price and the “Honda Certified” logo and says in the text description “**HONDA CERTIFIED**” which to me and my knowledge of English as past tense and already certified. The description goes on to further state that it has been “inspected” (past tense) and “repaired” (past tense) and “guaranteed” (past tense) and lists it as having the 1 year/12,000 mile and 7 years/100,000 powertrain warranties. Even further, the Carfax report clearly shows the car as being “offered for sale as a Honda Certified Used Car” on 1/24/11.

    I went to the dealer on 2/3/11 and they started with the price on the website as the basis and took information and began the financing process and showing the car and all. Then before finalizing the deal they added a $995 charge for “certification” which they said is the cost to get the car certified and for the warranty.

    This raises a lot of ethical and potentially legal questions:
    Is this a common practice? Is this even near the cost for certification? And maybe most importantly…Can they advertise one price and list in the description something that is clearly “already an included benefit” and then tack on a charge for it later? I thought an advertised price can not be changed for something that is already in the advertised description? I am meeting with them on Monday and will ask for the complete charge be removed or I’ll walk, but any other ideas of what to add to strengthen the case?

    Thanks…sorry so long.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That is very deceptive and I would demand they remove that charge right away.

    It was priced as certified, not certified after you bought it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ford had a promo at the Baltimore auto show, $50 for any test drive. We had to sign up at the show, but heads up for any show-goers in the near future.

    Kia also has a $25 test drive. Just mailed mine in, it was to drive an Optima.
  • I ran into this same situation in March when looking for a CTS. It appears that all the past tense references not really correct. It's not something i approve of, and the dealers' explanations were that if someone wanted to buy it "not certified" they could (they would get remaining original warranty). As i said, i don't agree with their rationalization.

    But to list a car with a price and "certified" (past tense) and then to try and say it cost's X dollars mor for "certification" is BS and possibly fradulent. :mad:
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,170
    Like ateixaira last year, when I was at the Philly autoshow last month, they were offering a $50 test drive coupon if you signed up with the rep at the show. I did, and had an email with the certificate waiting in my email when I got home, which I have already used.

    Subaru did the same thing, but that was $250 off your best deal if you bought something (no freebie for joyriding!)

    by coincidence, I got an offer from Toyota in the mail a couple weeks back. Another $50 test drive coupon (since used!), and a $500 bonus discount if you bought (which I didn't).

    so on 1 saturday, I tested a couple things we are interested in (my wife is starting to look for her next car) and made $100 doing it! Wish I could get that offer every week.

    I am curious though to see if I get a little flurry of offers in the mail for other makes, since I have now been flagged as a "sucker"that will actually use one (and you know these days, that data gets shared).

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Put me on that list...haven't gotten one of those in a while.

    And they're good because they create showroom traffic. A while ago I went to a Mazda event, Zoom Zoom Live they called it, and a little later traded in my Miata for a new one. So they do work.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    A reporter is looking to interview people who bought new cars during the month of March 2012. Please email with the make and model of your purchase and your daytime contact info no later than Monday, April 2, 2012.

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