"Stay away from this terrible, deceptive dealership"
This dealership is terrible! Poor service, deception, unprofessionalism, inefficiency, incompetence, and discourtesy has been my experience with Northgate Chevrolet! In short, this dealership accepted a $500 deposit from me that they promised was refundable, and later refused to refund that same deposit.
To elaborate: I started shopping at Northgate for a half-ton pick-up truck in July 2015. I visited the dealership and test drove a Sierra 1500 (either model year 2014 or 2015), and mostly liked the vehicle. I asked for pricing, and the salesman said he’d have it to me within the week. After that visit, I sent a few questions to him by email.
Weeks passed with no pricing, and few answers. Eventually, after sending several follow-up emails, I was referred to another (younger) salesman. He made first contact via email, and I met him at the dealership on September 4, 2015. I asked for pricing at that time, and was told that pricing for 2016 models had not yet been announced. He also told me that day that a factory-ordered ’16 Sierra would take 4-5 months or longer to arrive (“maybe January but probably February”). For this reason, the salesman suggested that we order the vehicle that day. To do that, he said they’d need a $500 deposit.
I had repeatedly told both salesmen that I needed pricing before anything. Not wanting to wait longer than necessary for the truck to arrive, I agreed to provide a deposit after he assured me that it was fully refundable. So on September 4, 2015, Northgate accepted a $500 deposit from me for a 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, 6.2L V8, crew cab, short box. I made it very clear to the salesman that I was not fully committing to the truck at that time.
The truck arrived after 2.5 months. The salesman sent me a text message on November 16, 2015, to inform me that it had arrived. At that time, I still didn’t have pricing on the truck. I told him at that time that I was not ready to take delivery of the vehicle, and I reiterated for perhaps the dozenth time that I will need pricing well in advance of actually purchasing the truck. We scheduled a time to meet to discuss everything; he cancelled that appointment at the last minute. We rescheduled, and he cancelled that appointment as well. We’d finally planned to meet on December 4, 2015; I texted him the day before to confirm, and was told that this meeting would be to get approved for financing. I’d told him many times that we’d likely be paying cash or using an outside loan or line of credit. I’d learned by this point that he didn’t have very good listening skills, so I told him again. At that point, he told me that I’d need to go buy my truck elsewhere. Conversation ensued, during which he accused me of being racist.
At that point, I was so disgusted and frustrated at the lack of competence, courtesy, and professionalism, that I was all too happy to oblige. I visited Northgate Chevrolet on the afternoon of December 4th to talk to Bob or Don Humphreys about the situation. I ended up talking to Don Humphreys, and showed him an excerpt from the transcript of my text message conversation with his salesman from the day before.
He read the conversation, and learned that way that I was very dissatisfied with the service provided thus far and that I was there to recover my $500 deposit. Instead, he suggested that he personally handle my file from that point forward. He was aware from having read the conversation that I’d provided a deposit, and that I’d be expecting it back if the service didn’t henceforth meet my expectations, or if I ultimately decided not to purchase the vehicle for any reason. I graciously decided to give Northgate Chevrolet yet another chance after it had taken them five months and two salesman to accomplish essentially nothing (since I still didn’t have pricing on the vehicle), and after they’d caused me excessive hassle and frustration.
After Don Humphreys assumed responsibility for my file, things did improve somewhat. I found that I had to ask many questions multiple times to get the answers I was looking for, but he did provide some of the information that I asked for.
One of my concerns was the interior trim. The Sierra 1500 Denali comes with wood veneer interior trim, and I don’t like it, so I was exploring alternatives. One of the alternatives that I was considering was replacing the trim pieces with counterparts from other Sierra models. I consulted with Northgate’s parts department about this, only to find that the attendant was rude and lazy, and seemingly irritated at the prospect of having to do his job.
Later, I was on the phone with a particularly helpful gentleman from a shop in Edmonton that re-finishes interior and exterior automotive parts, and I learned from him that the parts attendant at Northgate has a reputation for ineptitude. He suggested that I talk to a guy from Western GMC. I phoned him the following day and learned during that conversation that Northgate’s parts attendant had provided me with information that was inaccurate.
I sent an email to Don Humphreys in January 2016 posing some questions. That email went unanswered. That was the last straw, so to speak. In combination with everything else this dealership bungled, I decided at that point that I would not be purchasing the truck from them.
I wrote an email to Don on October 17th, 2016 to request that he return my deposit. In his October 19th reply, he told me that he has no record of my deposit, but if they did indeed accept one, that they’d be keeping it as “liquidated damages.” I replied the same day, reminding him that his salesman told me explicitly that the deposit was refundable, and that the customer service they’d provided was horrendous. I also informed him that I had record of the deposit, and that I’d be filing complaints with AMVIC, the BBB, and GM Canada if the money wasn’t returned, and that I’d be making the story public. Northgate Chevrolet seems so averse to doing the right thing, that they rather endure the bad publicity, and spend the time/money dealing with the many complaints I promised to file, than to simply return my $500. The bad publicity and complaints were almost certain to cost them more than $500, but the dealership evidently has so little respect for its customers, that it’s willing to incur a higher cost than to ensure customer satisfaction.
As if all of this weren’t bad enough, this isn’t the first issue I’ve had with Northgate Chevrolet. My family and I have purchased several vehicles from them over the years. In July 2010, I took my 2009 Pontiac G8 to Northgate’s service department to deal with a warranty issue (related to the ball joints), after which it was to be handed over to the body shop to fix a large dent in the rear bumper from when another driver backed into my car in a parking lot (work that was to be paid for by the other driver’s insurance company).
The dealership had it for nearly a month, during which I drove a car worth less than half my own, and that reeked with the distinct smell of cat piss. When I went to pick it up, I immediately noticed that the windshield had a large horizontal crack running along the eye-line on the driver’s side, that had not been there before, and shortly after, that there was a new scratch on the rear passenger side.
I immediately brought this to the attention of the body shop manager, who decided without deliberation that they were not responsible for the damage, and that even if they were, they couldn’t be held responsible for the entire cost of a new windshield, because the existing (original) windshield had been pitted by a year and a half of regular wear and tear. He denied any responsibility for the damage on the body as well. By his logic, the damage to both the windshield and the paint could have happened in the parking lot, and they aren’t responsible for that (despite the fact that the risk of damage while the vehicle sits in the parking lot increases the longer it sits there, so even if the damage was sustained by an unknown third party while in the parking lot, it may not have happened if they hadn’t completed the work at a glacial pace).
If you peeled up the plastic strip along the bottom of the windshield, it was evident that the crack originated from an are that was shattered under that plastic strip. It was obvious that a technician had dropped a tool on the windshield while that strip had been removed, shattering it, thereby causing the crack, and then attempted to cover it up. While we had no idea what might have caused the damage to the paint, it was likely that the dealership was also directly responsible for that given the carelessness and dishonesty they demonstrated with respect to the windshield.
The following day, I called the owner (and president) of the dealership, Bob Humphreys, who also initially denied any responsibility for any of the damage.
I brought the vehicle to the dealership that day, and showed it to Bob Humphreys. After taking a look, and reconvening with several of his employees, he reluctantly agreed to cover the cost of the damages, after wasting my time and providing a poor customer experience. His body shop manager delivered a half-hearted apology, presumably having been instructed to do so.
On October 15, 2010, I brought the G8 back for a service appointment to deal with the same problem they were supposed to have fixed during the summer. I waited for the vehicle at Kingsway Mall all day, only to learn at the end of the day that they hadn’t even touched it. The shuttle driver gave me short notice of his arrival for the return trip, threatened to leave without me when I wasn’t there immediately upon his arrival, and was rude when I did manage to get there.
There’ve been several other instances of slow or ineffective service at Northgate Chevrolet, particularly as it pertains to my 2009 Pontiac G8.
In light of these facts, I think it’s clear that I’ve been very patient and extremely forgiving with this organization, but I refuse to be stolen from.
I’ve filed complaints against them with the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) and the Edmonton Better Business Bureau (BBB), and written a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra detailing Northgate’s poor business practices.
I strongly discourage anyone from purchasing a vehicle from Northgate, or from having a vehicle serviced/repaired there. If you’ve already purchased a vehicle from Northgate, have it serviced at another Chevrolet, Buick, or GMC dealership. Management is slippery, and this seems to have influenced the shady and deceitful practices of some of its staff. If they ripped me off, they likely won’t have any qualms doing it to you, too. After all, if they can’t be trusted with a $500 deposit, how can they possibly be trusted with a piece of property worth many times that amount?
If you peruse the past reviews, you’ll find that their own employees have denigrated them in the comments. One admits publicly that they have poor customer retention, and no wonder! It is likewise telling that all of its BBB reviews are negative, and that neither of the two complaints against it with the BBB were successfully resolved - Northgate Chevrolet didn't even bother to respond to one of them (from September 2014)!
Given all of what I’ve detailed above, it is clear that neither Bob nor Don Humphreys can be trusted! Do business with people of integrity instead - Western GMC Buick is a well-reviewed alternative if you’re in the market for GMC or Buick products, and Lakewood Chevrolet on the south side scores well if you’re looking for a Chevy. I've had very positive experiences with Go Auto's dealerships as well!
Other Employees Tagged:
Rafman Samad - poor; Don Humphreys - poor; Jeremy (parts) - poor