WATERLOO, IOWA -- After having dealt with C&S for many years, it pains me to say that the folks in charge at the dealership are now running it into the ground and fast. Allow me to explain. My mother and stepfather are not as "well versed" in the car buying process. Given that I have purchased/sold/etc over 30 vehicles in my lifetime, they felt having me involved in their transaction was beneficial. I agreed.
Two weeks ago today, January 10, 2013 they found a vehicle at another local dealership as well as C&S. Though the vehicle for sale at C&S was $4-$5,000.00 over the actual retail book value, it had a few more options so they wanted to proceed and make an offer. After a very very long negotiation process over price as well as financing a mutual selling price/finance rate, through a local credit union was agreed upon. The paperwork was signed and my parents were off with their new vehicle. Keep in mind that like many others their credit had a few issues but they did have $5,200.00 CASH to put down on the vehicle (so almost half of the negotiated selling price).
Yesterday, two weeks post sale, the salesperson contacts my parents and myself to let me know that their owner's manual (needed to be ordered at the time of sale) was at the dealership and the finance department had some GREAT NEWS. My parents went into the dealership, were given their owner's manual and proceed to the finance offer to meet with Justin – this person is apparently the MAIN finance manager.
Justin told them that they couldn't get the local credit union to finance the loan (again only 50% of the selling price) for the loan term that was agreed upon and therefore their payment was going to raise over $40.00 a month and their interest rate went from 14.67% to 24%. Are you kidding me? My mother has some unfortunate medical issues and this put her completely over the edge. Of course she called me and I got involved.
C&S told them that they needed to sign the new paperwork and had no other options. After my mother got very upset, having a seizure (YES at the dealership), they then explained that they could go down to 19%. This was still clearly unacceptable – THEY ARE ON A FIXED INCOME and could only afford a specific payment. Additionally, the financing, selling price and everything was all worked out TWO WEEKS ago not only on this vehicle but the other vehicle they had looked at away from this dealership.
Now here is the FUN part. Jerry, the “General Manager” then comes into the finance office with my parents and meets with them. My mom explained that they just wanted their $5,200.00 back and they would look somewhere else for a different car, perhaps the other one they had picked out and the financing was all approved and taken care of. Jerry said, “Well you can't get out of this deal, you signed the paperwork and now what we will do is in-house finance of the vehicle and you can just pay us for the original term of the contract you signed for.”
Well that would be all fine and dandy however part of the reason for getting a loan was to have this small payment report to their credit file, thus building back up their credit. My mother at this point was so upset she couldn't deal with it. I told them to get out the original paperwork and review it with me (over the phone) to see what they signed for two weeks ago and we would then see if one of the finance options was this back door/in-house financing that they have come up with. Turns out, they signed for financing through three (3) banks/credit unions, none of which was this back alley/in-house financing deal through C&S directly.
Jerry then tells them that the paperwork for the financing was just "for insurance purposes." REALLY Jerry, I'm in the insurance business and knew he was lying. At this point, I was on speaker phone with Mr. Jerry **, my mother, stepfather and my sister who was summoned down to help. I explained that they didn't want the in-house financing for the reason listed above and if the 19% financing was offered at a shorter term perhaps with the same payment through a bank/credit union they would do this.
Jerry said, it's not an option they signed the paperwork and, “this is the way it will be.” Little does Mr. Jerry know, I too am an adult and furthermore deal with ligation issues on a daily basis. I told him that I would have the paperwork that was signed two weeks ago reviewed tomorrow by my employer's in-house counsel and we would see what options were available. Jerry said, “Well I'm not sure what that will accomplish.”
I responded and said that we will then make certain that their only option is to exercise the in-house financing (with no credit reporting) and pay C&S the original 14.67% interest. Jerry got VERY evasive and said, “I will just go get the (explicit word) check for $5,200.00 and they can leave the car and take their business somewhere else.” This is what they did.
Please keep in mind that my mother went to school with the owner of the dealership, my family has probably bought 30-50 cars total from this dealership, many referrals were made directly by me to C&S and this is the way that the "new" management deals with customers. Hmm, bags the question, if you had no ties to the dealership how they treat just your average/everyday customer?
Thankfully I was involved in this transaction otherwise my parents would have been stuck with having to deal with C&S for the duration of a loan that they would now be making 14.67% interest on. Absolutely ridiculous way of conducting business. Jerry and Justin (the MAIN finance manager) should be ashamed of themselves. They are the exact reason new/used car persons/dealerships get the rap they do.