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Bait & Switch and Other Bad Advertising Tactics

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
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  • f_1f_1 Posts: 1
    Recently I purchased a BMW from Modern Infiniti of Greensboro, NC. After buying the car, I found out that the dealer had lied about the condition of the vehicle. I want to share my story so others can avoid these cars.

    The number one thing that I have seen all dealerships do with used cars is clean the floor mats and put them in the trunk. 99% of the time they put them in the trunk. They put them there for 2 reasons.
    Reason # 1: The interior of the car will look cleaner and newer because the actual carpet may have always been covered by a mat.
    Reason # 2: The mats are only clean on the surface. Just kick or beat the mat and you'll see how much dirt comes out.

    The next thing I noticed was the the entire interior was covered in glossy goop. This is to cover up ground in dirt, imperfections, and stress marks on plastic and leather. It also can hide color fading.

    The dealership also cleaned the top side of the engine and covered the entire engine compartment with the glossy goop. Once you steam clean or thoroughly wash the compartment, you will see all the oil leaks and dirt that the gloss is hiding.

    One other thing. Not even a mechanic can spot this one. If a car has had a particular type of oil (either mineral or synthetic) in its engine its whole life, you need to continue using that same type. Otherwise it will cause leaks. The problem is, you will have to put the oil on the stove and see what temperature is boils at to know what kind of oil it is. Modern Inifiniti of Greensboro NC and its ugly sister's store in Winston-Salem do not carry the synthetic oil that my car drank for the first 127,000 miles of its life. They instead used mineral oil, which after driving the car for a couple thousand miles shows up in the form of leaks. Every seal CAN leak because of this. Fortunately I only have to replace 4 seals which take 8 hours to do. ($1121 worth)

    Finally they lied about the car. They said the car had never been in accident and they verified that with a paint meter. Well it turns out that the guy was full of it. The car had been in an accident.

    Please add to this. I have more to come.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Ok I won't respond to the first bit of your post because it may or may not be true. We do not clean our floormats then put them in the trunk but I guess someone some where might.

    I will comment on the second part about the syn vs conventional oil. What you said is frankly just untrue. I ran a service shop that did about 50% of its revenue in oil changes for several years. When I left to start my new job in sales I would say close to 20% of our oil change customers used synthetic of one form or another. Mostly amsoil but some other brands too. I had people that changed from one type of synthetic to another then switched to conventional then switched back to another kind of synthetic. Changing type of oils just does not matter one bit. They even make semi-synthetics that are as little as 10% synethetic or as much ast 25%.

    Now if you run convetional oil in a car for a long time, say 100,000 or so miles, and then put synthetic in it you could have leaks. What would happen is the syn oil would clean out all the sludge that had built up in the engine from the conventional oil. If that sludge was blocking up some cracks in the original seals then you could have leaks form. There is also a danger when putting synthetic oil in a high mileage motor that the sludge will lock up an oil pump or block the pickup tube. I have put synthetic in cars with as high as a 120,000 miles after using coneventional the whole time. I did do an engine flush and pull the pan to remove any sludge that had been knocked loose. I have had people that were using synthetic for 100,000 or more miles and just decided it was not worth the expense anymore switch back to conventional with no problems.

    What happend to you was just a coincedence. The car had 127,000 miles and just about needed seals anyway.
  • pdanapdana Posts: 19
    Mobil One's website says you can go back and forth and even mix the synthetic and conventional oil. Their only warning is that you reduce the effectiveness of the synthetic by doing so. I have to agree about the "goop" though most dealers use on the engine and inside. Last used car I looked at from dealership my foot kept slipping off the brake pedal because it was everywhere. I'd rather they just wash it with soap and water and wax it. Then I can see how it's going to look when I actually own it.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    First, I'm going to guess this is probably your first car.

    Reason #3 floor mats go in the trunk - if a car is left open and unattended at all, people steal floormats.

    Unless it is a marginal used car lot, all used cars undergo the 'cleaning' that you saw. Interior carpet and cloth seats are cleaned with strong, commercial grade cleaner and interior plastic or leather surfaces and underhood rubber items are treated with 'ArmorAll' type liquid. The motor is washed with solvents, mainly to remove any oil leaks. They are USED cars. These treatments are to optimize their appearance. And, yes, to hide wear.

    Changing types or brands of oil will not significantly increase leaks. In the 'olden days' there were detergent and non-detergent oils. On high milage cars previously run on non-detergent oil, changing to detergent could, in some cases, cause problems - sludge breaking loose, seals leaking, etc. But currently, it would be very difficult to find a quart of non-detergent oil. Most oils are about the same, and carry the same API certification codes. Unless someone made a distinct point to shop around to find the very cheapest re-refined oil. The car leaked oil for the previous owner, the dealership cleaned the motor to remove the oil stains, and after a few miles after purchase the leaks again became apparent.

    If the dealership didn't give you a WRITTEN statement that the car had not been in an accident, then as the famous saying goes 'Their verbal statement isn't worth the paper it's written on.'. I'll bet on a 127,000 mile vehicle, you got a piece of paper with AS IS written in very, very large letters on it.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    This point from British Rover does make sense:

    Now if you run convetional oil in a car for a long time, say 100,000 or so miles, and then put synthetic in it you could have leaks. What would happen is the syn oil would clean out all the sludge that had built up in the engine from the conventional oil. If that sludge was blocking up some cracks in the original seals then you could have leaks form. There is also a danger when putting synthetic oil in a high mileage motor that the sludge will lock up an oil pump or block the pickup tube.

    I'd say that's accurate. However, I would not want to switch between conventional and synthetic oils -- once you go with one, you should stay with it, due to the sludging factor and its effect on seals after switching, as you referenced. And some cars should never be run on regular oil, no matter what.

    Here's a theory about what may have happened: Your car may have obviously had a bad motor, so the dealership and/or the prior owner may have run some sort of stop-leak product in it for a time to conceal problems before switching it to the cheap dino oil.

    Generally speaking, when I buy a used car, my first act is to change all of the fluids, unless I have a set of records that I believe makes it absolutely certain that they were changed recently enough that I need not change them again. New oil and coolant are relatively cheap, and I consider replacing these a cost of doing business.

    And buying a well-used luxury car is really a serious gamble. I know it's tempting because they seem relatively cheap, but consider what incentives the seller has (whether dealer or private party) to conceal major problems that are even more costly to repair than they would be on another car.

    Sorry to hear about your problems, I hope your next purchase goes more smoothly.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    Summed things up pretty well.

    Switching oil won't cause problems. I use "cheap" dino oil and see little use for synthetics.

    When I get asked if a used car has ever been in an accident, I always respond..."probably".

    I will let them know that we have no way of knowing if a car has ever had body work done. Most cars on the road that are five years old have had **something** touched up.

    A bump on the bumper will cause paint damage so that could be called "an accident".

    We show Car Faxes and inspect for signs of a bad accident when we detect this we will wholesale the car.
  • reechzreechz Posts: 50
    Millenium Toyota in Hempstead Long Island are a bunch of liars. I got the bait and switch today as well. Told me they had "any" color 2006 camry LE at 9:00 am this morning. I made them swear up and down and guarantee the price. When I got there at 9:15 this morning, amazingly, there was a "problem" with their computer and they had NO 2006 Camry's. They have a horrible reputation and deserve to be shut down.
  • cluedweaselcluedweasel Posts: 150
    Interesting. Did they claim not to have the vehicle because they didn't want to be held to an agreed price?
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...with no Camry's? Never happen. Show it to me and I won't believe it.

    Are you sure they said "no Camry's" or just "no Camry's in the color you want"?
  • cluedweaselcluedweasel Posts: 150
    Their website shows 26 Camry's in inventory which is why I was curious about what was going on.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...a situation where the customer just misunderstood what the dealer was saying. Not saying that for sure, but I can't imagine any Toyota salesperson could tell a customer they didn't have any 2006 Camry's with a straight face, especially when the 2007's aren't here yet. Heck, a 2006 Camry was probably parked in the showroom when they supposedly said this.
  • reechzreechz Posts: 50
    at least here in NY- Long Island the dealers are all phasing the 2006 Camry's out and are currently selling the 2007 model. The 2006 Camry's all over town are being sold for invoice or near invoice (with $1500 rebate, prices are going for the LE at $17-18,000). I got mine yesterday from a reputable dealership for mid 17,000's (included destination charge, floor mats and cargo net)
    So, at least for the past couple of weeks, the supplies have been thin. I don't know if Toyota will be replenishing the 2006 model, but like I said, around here, it's tougher to find- especially the base LE model (not the CE and not he upper models). The one I ended up buying yesterday was the last one the dealer I went to had in stock.
    The online inventories that you can access as a customer are faulty (not updated) at best. However, when a salesman tells you at 9 am to come in and he'll make the deal for a certain price and claims to have multiple vehicles and when 15 minutes you walk into the dealership he tells you that he made a mistake and he had NO more cars inthe model you were looking for, BUT, he had several of the more expensive model... well, I gotta make an educated guess that the sales rep (and the dealership DOES have a bad rep- Millenium Toyota- avoid this dealership at all costs!)is a liar. Especially when over the phone at 9 am I told him to physically check (and he supposedly did)if he had cars because I would be in there in 15 minutes to buy one.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    15 minutes. What's the big deal?

    You have spent more time writing about it than you spent driving to the dealer.

    If you want a car, find a dealer who sells one and buy it. It has always worked for me.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If you want a car, find a dealer who sells one and buy it. It has always worked for me.

    Don't you understand? It's NEVER that simple... :P
  • I am playing devils advocate so don't yell at me okay?

    First of all Its a Toyota store, so you have a big selection of dealerships to visit, why did you go to the one who has the bad rep?

    To me if as a consumer and a dealer I either shop where I hear they have good service even if I have to drive a little, and I work where they have a good rep even if I have to drive.

    *the store I work at is 25 mins from home, and I can walk to the other Audi store, I just like working for a single owner, not a Corprate setting*

    To prevent this from happening again, call a dealer, ask for there specific inventory, if there is one that they have in stock you are interested in, have them fax or email a spec sheet with the VIN, whether it be a Maroney sticker or and Invoice, and tell them you need to get an Insurance quote. Then you will not run into this problem again.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,143
    So, I'm still confused. They didn't have any '06 LEs? They didn't have the color you wanted?

    The only model I'm aware of that are more expensive than the LE is the XLE, correct? He did have those.

    I don't know these dealers, but I've bought at Toyota stores before. They usually have a pretty big inventory of their most popular models (Camry being the most popular one).

    But, glad you found one you liked in the color you liked. I can't imagine a sales person would let a buyer walk, though.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • reechzreechz Posts: 50
    This occurred as the 06's were closing out. 2006 Camry's were phasing out (and at least in NY- hard to find) and the '07's were in. After the dealer swore that he had several base LE's in stock (including in my top two color choices)(I spoke to him at 9 am- 10 minutes before I arrived at the dealership), when I arrived he had NO LE's except for 2 fully loaded ones.
    He would have been glad to sell me one of those for $3000 more then he had quoted me over the phone for a regular LE.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,143
    OK....Now, I see.

    Dealer had LE's, but only ones that had more options than you wanted.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...every Toyota I've ever seen: optioned up.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Reechz, I can see why you are upset. You were misled by a car salesman. Of all the nerve!

    Don't worry. It was a once in a lifetime experience and will probably never happen again.
  • reechzreechz Posts: 50
    Next thing you're gonna tell me is that there's no gambling allowed in Casablanca. Or that the guy in the White House is sane.
  • madmatmadmat Posts: 1
    All dealerships should replace the floor mats! would you rather have the original stained Mats? Of course the engine compartment will be dressed.. should they leave all the grease and debris for you?... a 127,000 mile car? of course its not going to be perfect. as far as an accident is conserned, Im sure you ran I CarFax history report on it.....didn't you?
  • dora83dora83 Posts: 5
    I have never chatted before but somebody please help me. I purchased a gently owned 2006 Hyundai Sonata lx this last week. My insurance came back as a gls per the vin#. The only thing I can find missing for a lx is a telescoping steering wheel. I looked up the car on car fax and they had the vin# as a gls/lx(there is no such car). I am going to the dealer in 2 days for minor things not working and want to have my ducks in a row before I ask whats going on. Can any one enlighten me?
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    The differences between these two cars are minimal, but I found a few...
    a GLS will not have heated seats, they are standard on the LX.
    a GLS will not have an external temperature readout, standard on LX.
    Seat height adjuster is optional on a GLS, standard on an LX.
    The easiest way to tell might be the wheels-an LX comes standard with 17" wheels, the GLS has 16" wheels.
    The codes like LX, GLS, ABC, ZR1, etc change through the years. On an older car, it'd be hard to find out exactly what came with which trim level. Insurance companies and Carfax get general listings, which aren't always accurate.
    I found this info by using the comparator program on
  • dora83dora83 Posts: 5
    The car is 2 months old. It was purchased in May 06 and I purchased it per owned last week. This car has everything (heated front seats, external temp., 17" wheels, power driver side seats, power sun roof, 6 cd changer, etc.).This is why I was shocked when I saw the proof of insurance had it as a gls and car fax had it as a gls/lx. I want to understand whats going on before I see the dealership tomorrow.
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    So you have what you think you have (the LX). Good! This is just an insurance co. error-no biggie-I can't see how it could affect your rate, or give you any problems down the road.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    The Hyundai vin does not distinguish between GLS/LX, which is why car fax lists it as "gls/lx." The insurance company has the same information, although I don't know why they just list it as "gls" rather than "gls/lx."

    The fifth diget of your car's vin is "U". (If it were a GL the fifth diget would be "T.") The eigth didget "F" indicates it is the 3.3L engine, the 10th diget "6" indicates it is a 2006. Only the last six digets are unique to your car.

    The GLS & LX are the same car at slightly different trim levels. The easiest way to tell an LX from a GLS is that the LX has leather seats and the GLS has cloth seats.
  • mateo150mateo150 Posts: 11
    I recieved in via email a price quote for a honda civic ex w/navigation for 18990, all the specs are written down. I called to say do it and the saleswoman who sent me the quote (the "internet sales manager") said it was a mistake and that the real price was 20310. I have the original price quote in writing and want them to honor that price. This is a clear cut case of bait and switch correct? I can probably get the 18990 because I have it in writing, right? I expect the the dealership to try to hammer me with fees and junk like that if I do insist on the 18990 price, what will they try to stick me with? Any advice would help, I'm a first time poster.


  • dora83dora83 Posts: 5
    Thank you for this info. I did not believe this was a bait and switch. I posted my question under the hyundai sonata forum and the host posted this question under bait and switch on smart shopper. I was very confused thinking a vin# was like a upc bar code or a social security#. I was worried about insurance replacement value, selling it out right, or a trade in down the road. I went to the dealership tonight and they checked into it, but gave me the impression that this question has never came up before.The dealership has been great dont get me wrong. The last time I purchased a car was 6 yrs. ago and I can see problems down the road with vin#s not reflecting the actual car you are purchasing. Thank you again- you gave me more info. than the dealership.
  • dora83dora83 Posts: 5
    Matt, I dont know what state you live in but in my state someone in retail does not have to sell a product that the price was listed by mistake (and you have nothing signed). In good faith you would think they should honor the deal (its less than $1500).If they honor the price I would go over the purchase agreement with a fine tooth comb and have them explain everything to you until you are satisfied. Check with your bank and local lenders to see what kind of interest rate you can get before you go with their financing. Shop the quote you have of $18,990 to your local dealerships see what they say. Keep pushing the quote if you think its the best- new 2007s coming out, dealers offering 0%, competition is fierce. Good luck!
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