So here is our experience with Brantford Chrysler, I have tried NOT to ‘trash” talk, I choose to just simply state it as “this is our experience.” You can judge it how you like.
So let me say right off that everyone at the dealership acted professional and was courteous, at no time was anyone demeaning, I have not disclosed any names so as not to make this “personal” in any way. Our circumstance reflects our current opinion of the dealership as a whole.
I went with my son into Brantford Chrysler, I was helping him look for a new Dodge Caravan. We had both researched on dealer sites in the area and GTA, as well as ads on kijiji and printed off some of the very detailed ads and vehicle window stickers from various dealers, so we came “preloaded” with the typical package prices that were advertised in Ontario now as “ALL IN” and had in mind what would be a good deal on a brand new discounted caravan.
The trade in value offered on my son’s vehicle met the minimum threshold for a dealer paying a wholesale price for his car, not great, just doable, and was thoroughly checked over by several salespersons.
After arriving at a Caravan that was test driven that met his needs and a price that was, we were told, excessively discounted and that the dealer was, of course, losing so much money on…(even though on the agreement the bottom line price with ALL the discounts exceeded several identically fitted advertised vans by a few hundred dollars) a monthly payment was agreed to, hands were shook all around and his license and ID handed over. The deal was “struck”, the dealer would (as agreed upon) bring in the van (in the agreed upon) color from another dealership. When he checked there were 10 or so available. You should know through the course of the day that ALL the normal “sales” banter went on, they started very high… we started low… we heard such things as: “I work for you, I will try and get you the best deal, this is the best deal out there, this is the only one, this really is the best color, we don’t usually do this, we can’t get these anymore,” etc, etc etc…and etc. There was also the disqualification of other written ads as not accurate. This is all the “normal” stuff any good salesperson will attempt to use to get you to buy a vehicle “they” want to sell you and the price “they” want you to pay, while our objective is to get the vehicle “we” want at the price “we” want to pay. None of this is at issue as it is to be somewhat expected in any new car negotiation.
There was a condition to the deal and he handed over two “review feedback” thank You cards for us to give a positive review of the dealer. After all the information was compiled the salesman returned from the “manager” to inform us that he was sorry but “that” agreement was for an existing van “in stock” not for an identical one, but different color, from another dealership. If you wanted THAT color it would be more money. We countered with a payment that was a couple dollars less and the salesman ran off to the manager again only to return and respond that sorry , there is only ONE van like that now and it is too far away. ONLY the van in stock was available to sell, they would NOT bring in another van in another color. Knowing that to my son and his family the color was important, and already knowing online in other dealerships there was better advertised vans, my Son and I left, as he said that could be a deal breaker he would have to check to see how his wife felt about an undesirable color. With that we thanked him and left, however feeling “we shook on it”. How did that happen? My personal feeling at this point was strike number ONE against the dealer. A handshake and deal was done and they tried to change agreed to terms after the fact.
So we are on the road and about 10 minutes later my son gets a call from the salesperson, saying, “Your license is still here at the dealership, but also we found a van with less features but the right color. Would that work? My son replied no. Those features, expressly the roof rack and rear air are “needed.” We returned to the dealership to pick up my son’s license that we forgot. After some more discussion, the “Upsell” was a slightly better featured van at an agreed to price that was “further” discounted by the dealer (they “met” us half way on some options, of course, losing even “more” money on their end,) and it would come in in the desired color and features with rear air and roofrack and Bluetooth…at an agreed upon bi- weekly price (even though buying here meant the agreement’s bottom line price with ALL the discounts still exceeded several identically fitted advertised vans by a few hundred dollars…see some numbers below) Based on the “increased” monthly payment, an agreement was “struck”, hands shook(again), and an actual piece of paper (the purchase agreement) was signed by my son. All was good to this point and, even though the “first” deal was not honored by the dealership, I think everyone still felt good. Upon our request to have a copy of the signed agreement it WAS DENIED. “You don’t get a copy because there is no VIN and none of the numbers work yet”….strike number TWO against the dealer… as this came back to bite us later.
It was pointed out in the finance office that the trade in value is and I quote, “$22,500 is your trade in allowance, so provided that your payout does not go over that” “these numbers should lineup” (referring to the bi-monthly payment remaining the same)… “your trade is worth more than your buyout” More on this later…
We left feeling OK about the deal, it was not the “best” deal to be had, but short of a trip to the GTA was probably as good as it gets. It seemed good to be able to stay “in town” and do the deal. It was a Thursday. They had us there for over four and a half hours. We were told as soon as financing was approved (probably that night) they would bring in a vehicle, probably be ready for Monday or Tuesday.
So, almost a week later on the next Wednesday, my son gets a call from the dealership. “Your van is here but there is a problem. There is no roof rack. (As you read above, this was one of the “needed” items) and one cannot be retrofitted to the vehicle, and we will NOT be bringing in another one…strike number THREE against the dealer. So after determining a decent aftermarket rack was going to cost likely $750 +, my son asked the salesperson if they could “credit” $500 off the price ($250 for the missing rack already in the price plus $250, but it ended up on the bill being a charge of $225 and credit $445, before taxes…). After a couple calls, it was agreed upon that the dealer would do the “$500” credit. At this point my son is feeling unsatisfied, not really getting what he wanted, but what could he do. So here is where some numbers come in. The “final” monthly payment after everything was factored including a down payment deposit should have been under, or certainly not over, $180 bi-weekly. This was confirmed by the salesperson the day before pickup via phone. This is what my son was expecting.
My son was told that they would attempt to have his van ready for 12 p.m.-2 p.m. the next day but it could be 4pm. Fair enough, he gets called just before 4 pm to come pick up the van.
So 8 days after the deal was made he goes in with his wife and 7-month old son to pick up the van. I get a call from him an hour later that the dealership is saying the payment will be $183.77, close to $4 more than what it should have been, 8 days, a couple of mishaps, after a couple of phone calls to confirm an agreed upon price and now this. This at the last minute, on pickup, with the vehicle and insurance transfer already made and after 5 p.m. now. This change, strike number FOUR against the dealer, on the surface, might not seem like much to the dealership but definitely was to my son. In fairness to the dealership, when my son protested this “unannounced” change, they respectfully said if he didn’t want the vehicle then they would cancel and transfer his trade back into his name (tomorrow). The choice was his…
This was the dealers take on the increase as I understand it. The amount my son told the dealership the buyout was on his car turned out to be $472 dollars more that he indicated to the sales person the first day.) The actual buyout statement was provided to the dealership 4 days before the car was picked up. They knew the buyout terms and it was $22,472. The salesperson confirmed the day before pick up the $180 bi weekly payment amount. All that is immaterial as the finance person expressed to us both …I quote. “$22,500 is your trade in allowance, so provided that your payout does not go over that” “these numbers should lineup” “your trade is worth more than your buyout” Turns out now the dealer feels this was “misunderstood by not one but by both of us.” But to be clear, the payout was LESS than the trade in allowance offered. There was never any discussion at all about positive or negative equity, the only talk was…”provided your payout is less than the trade in allowance, we’ll just pay that off for you”
On another note, …them commenting “we are “losing too much money” and “had to send two people to drive close to Ottawa and or Peterbourgh (4-5 hours away) to get the van”. Well, isn’t that funny because if the van came from there then they flat bedded it to Brantford (possible), disconnected the odometer or made it magically appear with only 79 kms recorded on the odometer with a “shipped to the Guelph” dealer sticker.
My take on this, …the emotional strain on this deal is so far down the tracks it is too hard to pull back from. The dealership simply made a move I think they thought they could get away with. My son and his wife agreed to the increased payments and sourly drove their van away, having used up his vacation time dealing and waiting, neither really satisfied with what he wanted in the van, and neither really satisfied with the “final” payment, and of course wondering should he have gone elsewhere in the first place.
I just think it should have ended differently than this.
I called the “on duty” manager to “appeal” my son’s case and explain exactly what was told to us. You would think after the entirety of “four” strikes there would have been an attempt to remediate, meet half way, even offer a free first oil change…nope! At the last minute they stuck to their guns but left a few very disappointed clients with a poor opinion of the entire establishment now. Fool me once, shame on you…fool me four times? Still shame on you…
Conclusion: I honestly feel it “could’ be possible to do business with the dealership again, but with a greater deal of caution and clarity. I feel we negotiated very well, but would really caution others to do their diligence because we really needed to in order to have them compete with what could readily have been available to us elsewhere. On the surface it sort of felt like they were “trying” to meet a price close to the completion but were also trying everything under the sun “not” to. I know they are in business to do business, that’s fair…but a customer should never have to leave your place feeling you disservice them, or guilty that they are in the wrong without compromise, which is how we felt at the end of the day.
By the way the Hard numbers, just the facts on some brand new non demo advertised 2017 CVP base vans were as low as $19,995 That’s ALL IN…out the door plus HST and transfer… add in the full option prices for Bluetooth and rear air and the comparable price could have been $21,795… the bill of sale from Brantford indicates a Total vehicle price of $22,054.60 Plus HST, lic fee, and fuel , obviously more than the competition, but to be fair… competitive on this van, the problem is it came with a load of dumped on guilt, I can handle the guilt if you REALLY are undercutting another dealership by hundreds if not thousands…but that is not the case here.
Overall recommendation: Proceed with an enormous amount of “buyer beware” I still don’t know if I would ever return after all that went on over this deal.
To the Dealer:
1. You shake on a deal, you better do all you can to see your side fulfilled, you say something to a customer, you back it up.
2. If you keep continuingly reminding the custom that you are “losing so much money on this deal” all you do is make the customer feel like because this is such a “good deal” in your opinion… then for sure, some time later on down the road you will get payback and screw the customer over on some other deal. Stop playing the guilt card.
3. Disclose Disclose Disclose… no reason for a change of terms 8 days in and at vehicle pickup, especially when you are fully aware that the bottom line bi weekly payment when all is said and done is the single most important thing to your customer to determine the deal in the first place.
4. Be careful when you are “talking down” to customers when you try to tell them “they” have misunderstood what they were told, especially when it is YOU who are changing something, if you are going to do this you must first give the same standard to your employees, perhaps it is YOU who have miscommunicated.
5. I appreciate your business here in Branford and sincerity wish you well, with a few positive changes you could be better.