I was referred to Canadawide Auto Sales in West Edmonton by a friend, and made an appointment to go look at vehicles on January 20th. I needed a new car because mine is unreliable and I didn't want to keep putting money into fixing it anymore.
I test-drove one car, a Chrysler 200 LX, and the salesman convinced me to buy it right then and there. He said that they get first pick of the overstock from the Chrysler dealer, and that they put kilometers on the cars themselves so that they can charge a lower price for them. The salesman, Q.K., was very friendly, going on at length about how the dealer was family-owned and run, and that they only wanted to help people get a car that's right for them. I truly believed that he was on my side. I was alone at the dealer, and was very excited at the prospect of buying my first new car without any help. I didn't know anything about financing, what constitutes a good deal, or all the things that go along with the purchase of a new car.
I was approved almost immediately, and they sent me into the financing office to speak with R.B., the financial manager. I was given an interest rate of 6.24%. I have a credit score in the 'excellent' zone, but I figured the high rate was because it was my first time financing anything. They told me about all these different things that I could get along with the car, like Health and Accident Insurance, Life Insurance, and an extended warranty. I declined the first two, but when I asked why I would need an extended warranty, they told me that banks preferred I have it. I thought that meant they wouldn't approve a loan unless I agreed to it, so I did (I later found out that this is called 'tied selling' and is illegal).
The next day, after the excitement had worn off, I took all of the paperwork to my boyfriend's father so he could look it over, since he has purchased many new vehicles in his lifetime. My heart dropped when he looked at me and said that they had divested me out of a large sum of money. In total, I would have paid $31,000 over 72 months for a car that they sold to me as Used, with only 1500 or so kilometers on it and for a little more than $20,000 before the added fees. I called the salesman right away saying that I had reviewed the paperwork and that I no longer wanted the car. He told me that was okay, and that he'd get the finance manager to contact me. I thought that was the end of it since I didn't receive a call from anyone.
On January 27th, I got a call from work saying that some lady had dropped keys off for me. Immediately afterwards, I got a call from the salesman saying that they had parked the car in the visitor parking at my apartment building and had taken the keys to my workplace. I reminded him that I had decided not to take it, to which he replied "well, you signed legal documents, so it's yours". Sure enough, he had dropped the car off, unregistered and uninsured, in a public parking lot with open access, then brought the keys to my workplace where anyone could have taken them. This was all without any attempt at prior notification, since I only found out after all was said and done and they had left. I can't find it in the parking lot, but I don't know if that's because I don't recognize it or because it isn't actually there.
After doing a bit of research, I called AMVIC, which I understand is the authority on car dealerships. They told me that there is no "cooling-off" period in Alberta, and that what the salesman did was essentially deliver the car. They agreed that how the salesman went about delivering the car was not okay, and advised me to submit a complaint about that, but that I was pretty much stuck with the vehicle.
I understand that the economy is bad, but I didn't think that car dealerships were so hurt that they felt the need to take advantage of a first-time buyer who came in alone. I'm only 21, and I just wanted to be independent and handle my own purchases. I have definitely learned my lesson.
I don't want to include the full names of the people I dealt with at Canadawide Auto Sales because they were honestly very nice and I don't want to ruin anyone's career, especially with so many people getting laid off recently. To be honest, I just want to get out of this ridiculous contract and never work with this dealership again. I'm still quite upset over how stupid I was and how easy it was for them to take advantage of my ignorance.
The moral of the story is to bring an experienced person with you when buying a vehicle at a dealership (especially if you're a young female!) because all you are to them is free money. Bringing someone with you is also helpful because the language of the contracts they have you sign is hard to understand, and in retrospect, they glossed over it instead of actually explaining what everything meant.
Please please please don't make the same mistake I did. Bring someone with you and don't sign anything that day. I was so excited and proud of myself, but now I just feel like an idiot.