Sunday, December 11, 2011

Liberty / Lebanon ... What Should/Can I Do???

I did get a good night's sleep last night ... hooray! ... but still feel a bit drained this morning.  The temperature outside right now is 18 degrees with a wind chill of 16.  Wonderful!  Not as good as the old days in North Dakota with temps in the single or minus digits with wind chills of 80-below & a ton of snow to boot but hey, it'll do   : )

I posted on Friday morning about my husband receiving a flier in the mail from the car dealership where we take our van for maintenance.  The flier was one of those "YOU MAY BE A WINNER!" things.  We never pay any attention to stuff like that but for some reason John paid attention to this flier, scratched off the little circle as directed & what do you know ... our number matched a winning number.  We were guaranteed to have won one of the prizes listed.  They were also making these spectacular offers for huge discounts when purchasing a new or used car as well as offering to pay off your trade-in vehicle if you still owed money on it.  John said if the deals were good enough he might want to trade in our van.  John said he read the flier carefully ... even the small print ... & there didn't appear to be any hidden requirements you had to meet.

I thought okay ... a little drive to Liberty, Kentucky would be nice.  We hadn't been there for a while plus there was a prim shop not far from the dealership where I have found some nice things in the past.  We also would be passing another shop on the way back home that had terribly overpriced things but I figured it would be fun to stop there anyway just to look at their holiday decor & offerings.  So we're driving down the road & John takes the flier out of his pocket & says "you might want to take a look at this."  I asked why.  He said I should just check it over to make sure he hadn't missed anything.  I said "you told me you read it over carefully & didn't see anything questionable."  He then informed me he had read it over 2 or 3 times & didn't see anything at all but maybe I should look at it as well before we got there.  I looked at it & did see where he missed that the Walmart gift card prize of $2,500 actually did have in tiny print "up to" so you wouldn't necessarily get $2,500 if that was the prize you won ... but otherwise it looked on the up & up.

We got to the dealership & approached one of the salesmen & handed him the flier saying we were coming to see what we won.  The guy looked very puzzled.  I was thinking we didn't want to deal with this guy ... he didn't even understand the special promotions his company has!  Well, the guy then looks at us & says "This isn't from our dealership ... it's from the dealership in Lebanon."  Liberty is about an hour from us.  We had no idea where Lebanon was.  We all had a good laugh & John & I couldn't believe that we never noticed the address   : )

We did go to the prim shops (I'll post about those another time) & when we got home we looked up where Lebanon is located.  What a surprise to find it is only 19 miles from our house!  John suggested we drive there the next day (Saturday) & try again.  That sounded like fun since we'd never been there before plus we looked up shopping in the area & found some interesting places to visit.

On Saturday morning ... yesterday ... we drove to the Lebanon dealership, met with a salesman named Dave.  A liquidator actually ... the sale had to do with moving repossessed vehicles off the lot even if it meant the bank was going to lose money on them.  We handed Dave our flier.  Of all the prizes, we won one of the Walmart gift cards which he told us would be worth anywhere from $5 to $2,500.  I'm pretty sure I know how much ours will be worth   : )   It was funny watching people (a lot of them!) bringing in their fliers to see what they had won & then being handed a Walmart gift card   : )   Many of the people left after getting their prize but some of them did stay to look at the vehicles being offered.

Dave asked us if we were interested in looking at any vehicles.  John said it wouldn't hurt to look at some since we were there.  As we were walking out to the lot John tells him how much he hates our van because it is so huge.  More about the van later.  So Dave starts showing us smaller vans.  None of them appealed to us.  He then said "how about an SUV?"  We don't know anything about SUVs & we didn't care for the first one he showed us but the second one was quite nice.  We took it for a test drive.  It drove like a Cadillac.  I could tell that John was falling in love.

A little background on our van ... a 2006 Dodge Caravan.  We bought it this past May.  I liked it.  It wasn't anything pretty to look at but it was huge & I always pictured myself driving to other states & filling it with wonderful prim furniture to bring back home.  The only bad thing about it was you were kind of taking your life in your hands every time you drove it.  It was the Queen of Hydroplaning.  You would have to be very careful or you would find yourself sliding into a ditch or into the path of an oncoming vehicle even if there was just a little bit of morning dew on the road.  There were a couple other things that didn't quite work right but they weren't anything major.  I really didn't want to trade it in ... but then Dave pulled up the CARFAX report on it.  I had heard of CARFAX before but never really gave it any thought.  It's some kind of reporting company where you can find out if a vehicle you are thinking of purchasing has ever been in an accident.  It turned out that our van had indeed been in an accident ... a very bad one ... & it wasn't worth even half of what we paid for it.  We bought it from a dealership in Danville which is the next town over from where we live.  I'm telling you ... this is the type of business people you deal with in this area.  You can't trust 99.9% of them.  Anyway, I was not happy.  That, coupled with the fact that it had the problems I previously mentioned here, was quite upsetting.  You would think that there would be some type of law requiring the disclosure of such a thing!

There were no prices on these liquidation vehicles.  Dave said he would need to work with the bank to get us the best price.  He applied a coupon for $2,600 off whatever the price of the vehicle would be & then went to work.  We were there for 2 hours.  We were so wrapped up in the negotiation process ... the monthly payments & the interest rates ... that we were never given the price of the vehicle & never thought to ask.  At one point I wondered what the vehicle price was when it was new but that thought came & then was quickly forgotten.  At one point John seemed to be favoring just keeping the van but then Dave came back & asked John if he got the bank to agree to a lower interest rate (better than the one we had on the van), & if he got the dealership to agree to allow us the full amount for our trade-in rather than the less than half amount it was actually worth, & if he was able to get our payments lower each month than he initially quoted us, would John buy the vehicle.  John said yes, initialed a piece of paper, & the deal was made.  Now remember ... we were never given the selling price nor did we think to ask.  When the contracts were drawn up & John went in to sign them, without me because I was outside transferring things from the van to the SUV, the final price was heart stopping ... basically 3 times as much as we still owed on the van.  When I came into the business manager's office John was just finishing signing the last document.  I never got to take a look at them until we were driving home & he was complaining about how much we were going to be paying.  I wanted him to turn around & tell them we wanted the van back but he said "what's done is done."

The sad thing here is that we were told by the business manager that this vehicle would have cost anywhere from $33,000 to $45,000 when new.  In going through the booklets & other printed materials that came with the SUV I found what appears to be the original window sticker which indicates the original asking price for this vehicle when new was exactly the same price this dealership charged us for it used with 50,000 miles on it!  I am sick about this.  I haven't told John.  We need to go back to the dealership this week to get an oil & filter change.  My thoughts are to present them with this window sticker & insist they give us our van back ... but I'm thinking the papers have been signed, the title has been transferred, & we are stuck   : (

Any ideas?


Danice said...

I would definitely present the dealership with the window sticker. It seems kinda hard-hearted, but if they won't give you your van back I would retain a lawyer. This dealership led you to believe a half-truth, and that is misrepresentation. They should give y'all your van back and you return the van you bought, and tear up the contract. They lured y'all in under half-truth misrepresentation.

lindeelou said...

Isn't there a clause (hoho bad joke I know)) where you have like 24/48 hours to change your mind...better hurry though..look close at your paperwork or call someone (dealership) and find out,

TheCrankyCrow said...

Oh Sweetie - I just had a bad feeling when you first mentioned that "flyer" business. Lindeelou, I think, is referring to the "cooling off" law. Unfortunately, this federal law only applies to door-to-door sales or sales made at other than the seller's place of business. Since you bought it at the dealership, it doesn't apply. However, many states have their own versions of the FTC law and sometimes the protections re even broader than the federal law. You could check w/ your states better business bureau or state's attorney general's office to see if auto purchases are covered under your state law. Other than that, my suggestion would be to go back to the dealership first thing Monday morning and tell them you want to rescind given the sticker you found and what you believe to have been misrepresentation/fraud over what you were told the original purchase price was. (Use those words so it sounds like you know what you're talking about.) Suggest that they can resolve this matter the easy way, or the hard way - meaning you retain an attorney. Usually, a smart business man will just decide a potential law suit (if they think you serious enough) isn't worth the hassle. But be forewarned - these are car dealer and SALESMEN...they do not want you walking away with your money and will be trying to talk you into some other deal - for a more affordable vehicle, etc. Know what you're willing to do going in....(As to whether you would be successful w/ a misrepresentation/fraud case, there are too many factors involved as to what actually happened for me to give you any advice on that here - and no matter what "really" happened, it's still your word against theirs as to what was said. You'd really need to talk to a lawyer and you know that isn't going to be cheap. So you're best off at this point trying to convince the dealership you're serious about this and work it out yourself....)(And, oh - of course - read that contract you signed carefully - there might be a right to rescind in it, but doubtful....if there is, though, it will have a short time frame....) Wishing you the very best of luck....Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

cucki said...

oh dear..i am so much thinking of you..i hope everything sort out soon for you..
good luck..sending you warm hugs xx

jennifer768 said...

Oh Shirlee ,I feel so bad for you.Hope that you all are able to resolve this issue.Hugs,Jen

Angela said...

Shirlee, I am so sorry this has happened to you and John. HE nor you needs the stress. Hoping you can work something out with the dealership. Keep us posted. Sending hugs your way