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Dealer's Tricks - bait & switch, etc.

delaparadelapara Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Ford
Here's a variation of the "Bait and Switch" I
experienced in trying to buy a new car from a Ford
Dealership, Board Ford in Whittier California:

After a test drive of a 2001 Focus Wagon, we sat
down to discuss a price. Since I wanted the wagon
with the “comfort package”, anti-lock brakes, and
side air bags it was indicated that the car would
be hard to find, but that I could order the exact
car I wanted. The price I was quoted was “$100
over invoice”. I asked the salesman if he could
write down the price details for me, but he
indicated that since it was the weekend he did not
have access to these numbers. I asked if there
would be any other costs added other than the
destination charge and tax and license. I was
assured there would not be any other costs added to
the price. I went away and then sent an e-mail to
the salesman, listing the invoice price plus the
invoice prices of the options I wanted, plus the
destination charge (I got this information, added $100, and asked for a
confirmation of this price. The salesman responded
it would be a little bit more, adding an adverting
fee, gasoline fee and some other miscellaneous
fees. This added about $75, but I was not going to
quibble about this and responded I would be in to
order the car and submit a deposit. When I showed
up to order the car, the order form indicated a car
equipped with a five-speed stick instead of an
automatic transmission. I said I wanted an
automatic transmission and I had not mentioned this
before because in the Focus Brochure it indicated
that the automatic transmission was standard
equipment. I was told that the automatic
transmission was an option and would add $725 to
the price. The sales manager indicated that this
was a change that took place after the brochure was
printed. They insisted that the automatic
transmission was not standard equipment, this is in
spite of the fact that:

· The Focus Brochure indicates the automatic
transmission is Standard Equipment,
· The window sticker on the Focus Wagon I drove at
indicates the automatic transmission is Standard
· The Ford Motor Company Internet site at
"" indicates the automatic transmission
is Standard Equipment.

As far as I am concerned, a Ford Dealership and
all its employees are representatives of the Ford
Motor Company. If, in fact, the automatic
transmission is an option, this indicates that
there is false advertising on the part of the
dealership and the Ford Motor Company. If the
automatic transmission is standard equipment, then
it indicates an out and out lie on the part of the


  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    that they can "reasonably" charge you for an automatic. You certainly were not seeing things on that website. That tranny is clearly listed as "standard."

    They do have that standard disclaimer that states the "information contained herein subject to change without notice..."; all manufacturers use the same language. This is usually meant to cover availability of colors and minor optional equipment and such, NOT a major standard feature!

    Unfortunately, other than reporting them to the BBB and taking your business elsewhere, I doubt if you have immediate recourse. In the absence of a signed order form with pricing filled in, there's no way to enforce the "deal." Even with paper, the same kind of disclaimer exists to protect the dealership from cost increases imposed by the manufacturer during the period prior to delivery.

    You will probably find the Ford Motor Company absolutely NO help in this matter, but you could try to get a representative involved.

    Take your business to someone else who really deserves it!

  • delapara: I have a friend that works for Ford. As he tells it the 2000 Focus wagon DID NOT offer a manual tranny, A/T ONLY.

    After many people (true car nuts) "demanded" a stick in the wagon they gave in and made the stick "standard" and the A/T optional on the 2001 models. Looks to me like the sales rep, typically, did not know what the heck he was doing when he filled out your order. I know the results are the same as far as you are concerned but it probably was not a deliberate effort on his part to "low ball" you on the price. Just the typical "crapola" that one encounters from most dealers today. This is not confined just to car dealers tho as most places you go anymore to buy something do not have a clue as to what they are doing.

  • One of the best places to learn all about dealer tricks and deceptive tactics.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,599
    ptmccain has spammed these forums with the same message ad nauseum...wonder who he works for?

    And this is nothing new. Just one of the MANY redundant web sites that offer "expert" advise....yawn....
  • Folks shopping for a new car can really help themselves out by using this site and others to obtain the best information possible in order to negotiate the lowest price you possible can.

    The car salespeople who inhabit this board seem to resent it when someone points out points of useful informatoin, like

    My expeience after doing my homework, very seriously, here and elsewhere, was that I was able to obtain a new vehicle below invoice.

    I negotiated that price based on a factory order.

    Patient, knowledge and assertive peristence really paid off for me and has for many others.

    Don't be put off by the silly attitude you get here from some salespeople. Naturally, they are defensive of their industry. While personally they may be wonderful guys, the sad reality is that the process of buying a new car is ranked as the number two most bothersome and troubling consumer experiences!

    Good luck and good hunting.
  • My wife's aunt just bought a 2000 Taurus and got nailed. They agreed on the price but the car needed to be "prepped" overnight. When she arrived to pick up the car, the price had been changed (ie fees added). She took the car anyway.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    The dealer who pulls a fast one at any point should be slammed hard but on the other hand why in the world would your aunt even consider taking the car? If she got home and found out things were different 'cause the finance person slipped one by her its one thing, but to be aware of the price bump and still take the car is totally outlandish to me....Why reward the dealer for a sleazy tactic? As far as I'm concerned this action does nothing more than say loud and clear...."take a sleazy shot at every customer, it's ok and some will fall for it."
    There is no excuse for it.
  • If i can get away with's worth a shot...
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    You know that there is always two sides to the story.

    Auntie may have "Assumed".... She might have forgotten about sales tax or title transfer fees. Perhaps she failed to pay attention.

    As you say, "still take car...totally outlandish.." - I agree. It must not have been off more than $25 I bet. But, I would be hard pressed to walk for $25 bucks (after probably investing hours on the purchase).

    I'd like to have more facts. hingram's story is lacking sounds fishy.
  • A classic dealer rip-off trick, not surprising. This happens all the time out there, sorry salesguys here, but it is true, no matter how much you want to try to explain it away.

    Knolwedge is power. It is too bad your aunt didn't have the resource of Edmunds or Consumers' Report or
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    I agree there must be more....a small explainable amout I can understand. I might not like it, but if the story adds up I can live with it. But if they tried to slip in a big phoney fee, after I agreed to the numbers then I'm out.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    Toyota fished me about 2 months ago. They advertised (on TV) $1,000 cash back on Tacomas. I even called em up and asked them directly, "Do you give $1,000 cash back on 2000 Tacomas?". "Yes", they replied.

    When I got up there and found a nice PreRunner...just the color the wife liked, etc...
    When we got into negotations, we were far off. When I brought up the $1,000 cash off on Tacomas...their response was: "That dosen't apply to PreRunners".

    I was out of there quicker than a cat could lick it's butt...

    Ford got my money and Toyota did me a favor - I scored a better truck and it cost less. The Ford delearship is on Thornton Road in Atlanta/Lithia Springs. Pretty good place IMO.
  • Sounds like you did the right thing there. Some salespeople will tell you anything on the phone to get you to come down, and then when you arrive it is like you never even spoke before. I say good for you that you didn't reward their tactic for getting you in there. BTW, are Prerunners and Tacomas the same thing?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,599
    Two sides to every story...who really knows what happened. People like Mcccain will be quick to assume the terrible dealer tried to cheat the customer and will (over and over and over) post links to "expert" sites.

    But, I also agree. Pull a fast one on me and I'm out of there!

    The problem is, some sleazy dealers pull these tricks knowing that in many cases, the weary customer will simply cave in and go along.

    so..they get REWARDED for being dishonest!

    An my neck of the woods we have a lot of competing Honda dealers along with a lot of well educated internet savvy shoppers who delight in pitting ne dealer against the other.

    That's fine and dandy except it sets them up big time for a lowball. some salespeople delight in messing with a price shopper like that.

    So, the weary shopper makes phone call after phone call, and finally finds the "lowest" price.

    They drive 30 miles to pick up their new Civic.

    " Didn't you want a 5 speed?...I thought that's what you asked me for....sorry, automatics cost more" BINGO!

    Now, many customers will simply know they were snookered and storm out. Sadly, many others, totally tired of the process will cave in and end up buying the automatic.

    I have to deal with this every day. This is why we will not quote prices over the phone!
  • navy4navy4 Posts: 44
    A Toyota Prerunner is a two-wheel drive Tacoma that looks like a four-wheel drive. It has the big wheel and tires and is a much better looking truch than the normal two-wheel drive Taco.

    Both are good trucks, but the normal 2WD probably wasn't selling as fast as Toyota wanted, hence the $1000 cash back. The add probably had a disclaimer in small print that you can't read on TV. And, yes, as a salesman my number one goal from a phone inquiry of any type, get the customer to come down to the store...
  • I totally agree with you that my job on the phone is to get that person to come in. However, I disagree with saying anything just to get them to come in. In this case, I believe wilcox was mislead about the rebate just to get him to come in, where they have a much better shot at selling a car. Thank you for clarifying the Prerunner/Tacoma issue.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    We bought a Honda over the phone in 1997, and it worked fine. We told them the kind of car we wanted and offered an out-the-door price of $17400. They accepted, so we went to the dealer, took the car for a test drive, liked it, gave them a check for $17400, and drove the car home. There was no hassle at all.

    I think we got a pretty fair deal, because our offers of $17300 and $17350 had been refused at two other nearby dealers.

    Three years later, we still love the car.
  • On the phone, did you specify that you wanted to know whether the rebate applied to Prerunners specifically, or just the generic Tacoma?

    In some stores, managers listen in to the "phone pops" to make sure they're being handled properly. Handled properly = get the customer in.

    When I was selling I wouldn't lie (unless the customer was being a jerk on the phone, then I'd go into the classic pre-defined script), but your question, if it did not specifically ask about a certain model, would have been answered by me truthfully, if perhaps incompletely.

    When's the best time for us to talk more about this - morning or afternoon?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,599
    I couldn't work in a place like that. Listen in on my phone calls? See ya!

    I would never attempt to lure anybody in my giving out false information on the phone. for one thing, that's not me. Also, I don't want a ticked off customer to deal with. These are the things that give us a bad reputation.

    It CAN be tempting, however...when a real cheapskate gets nasty over the phone attempting to pit one dealer against another...or lies.." ABC Honda will sell me that Civic for 14,000"

    A price that is far below what we paid for it.

    I don't need it!
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Well, the S60 isn't all uses the same basic powertrain that's been used since the 850.
  • Shopping around for a good price via phone or fax is a great idea. It worked well for me and may others. Dealers/sellers want to get you on their lots for they know then that they have the advantage. Isellhondas may be the greatest guy in the world, and I have never said otherwise, but a salesman or dealer who won't allow me to NOT waste my time is not worth my time.

    Dealers/salesmen who want to sell vehicles will work with you over the phone or fax or e-mail.

    So, go for it. Do your homework here and other places and then be assertive.

    Good luck.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,599
    Is a PRIME example of someone that it would be VERY tempting to quote a lowball to!

    Oops...sorry, I did promise to ignore him!
  • It is interesting how "isellhondas" can't deal with the points or the facts, but just resorts to personal attacks.

    It is good to have sellers here so we can see how they think.

    Buyers beware. Do your research and then get a great deal. You can do it.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    The TRUTH shall set you free!

    Good Work Bill
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    "On the phone, did you specify that you wanted to
    know whether the rebate applied to Prerunners
    specifically, or just the generic Tacoma?"

    After seeing the TV commercial, I felt the $1,000 cash back was on the level. Just to make sure, I phoned the Toyota Dealership. Everyone was in a meeting there, so I called another Metro dealership. They are covered under the same "blanket".

    The sales person answered "Yes" when I asked if Tacomas had the $1,000 off as stated in the TV advertisement.

    I also asked the sales person if they had any Prerunners left. He said, "Yes we have two."

    I did not specifically ask him if the rebate applied to Prerunners. I just assumed "all" Tacomas....that was my bad. I should have asked about it. I tricked myself.

    A good shopper or buyer has to be fully up to snuff on the dynamics of new car market. As one poster said, "...too bad the occasion only comes once or twice in a decade..".

    Anyone who dosen't have knowledge and can't pay attention to detail in this "game" will have to pay extra...and that's good for business...

    Signed: learned the hard way and still learning.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Never ask a car salesman how much a car costs. They will almost never give you a straight answer.

    It is a lot better to determine the price you are willing to pay for a car, and then just ask the salesman if they will accept that price.

    Even then, you will have to wait a few minutes while he talks to the sales manager, and then he will not probably not tell you that your offer has been refused. He will try to convince you that your offer should be increased, without specifically rejecting your offer.

    However, if you ask a direct question like, "Will you accept my offer, yes or no?" you should get an answer.

    If they say "No", then you may choose to believe him and increase your offer. On the other hand, you may start to walk out, and, from my experience, they may decide to accept your offer.
    However, they might decide not to accept your offer. In that case, you have only wasted a few minutes of your time, but you have learned that your offer would definitely not be accepted. That information will help you if you choose to make another offer in the future.
  • I'm the type of shopper who likes to qualify the potential of a situation before commiting the time and effort. By that I mean I'd prefer to discuss general pricing over the phone or via email to decide if we are close enough to devote the time to making the drive out for a face-to-face chat. Over the years, if I met with reluctance to discuss even general numbers over the phone, my inclination was to dismiss that salesman (and dealership) and move on to something else.
    Now, when I read the thoughts of the resident sales people here (who I think are all straight shooters), I understand the reasons why they would avoid giving me numbers. The problem do I tell the difference between a straight-shooter and a shyster (sp?) without the risk of wasting time hiking to the showroom?
    Is Bob's method the best alternative?
  • here may disagree, but the best deals I saw go out and with the least hassle were the people who were creative enough to get straight to the sales manager, preferably as a referral.

    "Hi, Joe the sales manager, I'm a friend of Jim over at XYZ Motors and he told me that you were the best guy to talk to about a good deal on a 2001 whatever".

    Careful, though. I saw one guy try this by calling the receptionist and browbeating her into giving out the name of the sales manager on duty. He then tried the routine with the manager, who saw through it in a second.

    Use any contacts in the business that you may have, however slim they may seem.

    You still need to make sure they understand that you know what a good deal is, because I know one manager in particular that salesmen always wanted a "spoon" from, they were ALWAYS at least $800 commissions. He would pound his friends harder than the regular customers.
  • if you deal directly with the sales manager.

    Remember, they're the sales manager because at one time they were the best car salesman on the lot.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    then you must ask questions!
This discussion has been closed.