Russ Darrow Mazda

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Unfilled Promises
Posted by on
GREENFIELD, WISCONSIN -- To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter to express my extreme and uttermost disappointment and dissatisfaction with Russ Darrow Mazda. My issue is not with the sales person (Mike) it is with the dealership itself. The sales manager suggested he let the sales person go, which really upset me. He is not the one to blame for my horrible experience with Russ Darrow.

I test drove a white Mazda 5 and fell in love with it but not the color. What sold me was the Bluetooth built into the steering wheel. Since I did not like the color the sales person showed me the same model in a red color; which I did like. I emphasized my extreme desire to purchase a vehicle with the Bluetooth. So when he suggested the red model I did not even feel the need to test drive it since it was supposed to be exactly like the white model I had just test drove.

We got all the paperwork done, I went to jump into my awesome new car only to find there was no bluetooth. I went back to the dealership and told the sales person about the missing Bluetooth. The sales person said "I am sorry I thought this was the one you wanted" then he said he would see what he could do.
He spoke to the sales manager Scott who said he would "make it all good" I made sure to ask if the Bluetooth they were going to install was just like the first one from factory. Mike said yes. Scott wrote up an IOU for a hands free Bluetooth 108011 and told me to bring my car in on Monday October 24th. I dropped it off like they asked me to, then on the 26th I called to inquire on the status of my vehicle. I was told they were waiting on a part. I finally received a message on Saturday the 29th saying my car was ready to be picked up.
I went to pick up my car and to my surprise there was no Bluetooth in the car. There was a small box the size of a cell phone clipped to the visor with a cord coming out of it that was plugged into the lighter outlet. I thought to myself "it took them five days to get this plugged in???" I could not believe it took five days to get a $30 portable Motorola Bluetooth installed. I tried to use it and could not get it to work even one of the sales people or technicians could not figure out how to use it. Their explanation as to why I was given this portable device was that the vehicle I was given was not equipped to have the Bluetooth installed.

I told them to call me when they figure out how to work it and left the dealership in tears, and without a Bluetooth. After many calls and speaking to different people I was finally put in contact with George the general manager. He contacted me and said he would try to make things better and suggested I come in and see him on Monday October 31st.

I came in to see George like he asked me to, he offered to "trade me out" because he wanted to make things better. I felt a sigh of relief because I thought he was going to give me what I originally wanted. He found a vehicle which was exactly what I wanted but that was $1000 more expensive than the one I purchased but I was more than willing to pay a little extra to get what-1 wanted.

When it came down to it they were not actually helping me out or making up for their mistake. They were taking my new car in as a used car trade in. In which I was not only losing almost $4000 from the price I paid for my new car just a few days ago but I was also losing the 7 year bumper to bumper warranty that I paid almost $3000 for. So after all was said and done I was getting the vehicle I had asked for to begin with but it was now costing me over $7000 more. I don't see how this was in any way my fault and why I should have to pay for someone else's mistake. When I asked why I was not allowed to back out of the contract or why I couldn't have switched the car the same day 1 purchased it George said that the associates who were working were not aware that they could and if he had been there he would have switched the vehicles so I could get the one I was supposed to get.

I did not take the so called "deal". His other offer was to give me a $500 bluetooth for free and refund me all of my add-ons. The only logical option for me was to take the free Bluetooth and my refund.

My husband, daughter and I have spent nearly $100,000 between the three of us purchasing new or used vehicles from Russ Darrow. Most of which was paid in cash. I cannot believe this is how Russ Darrow treats repeat and loyal customers. I do not feel as though what I was asking for was unreasonable. I was more than willing to pay a little extra even though it was not my mistake. I was not asking for anything for free, I only wanted what I had originally asked for and what I was under the impression I was buying to begin with. But $7000 is extreme and outrageous. I feel deceived and taken advantage of.
I will never recommend Russ Darrow to anyone when they are looking for a vehicle.
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User Replies:
Alain on 12/03/2011:
You could try making an official complaint, but it probably wouldn't do much good since they 'tried' to work with you (even if it was a poor effort). You can take solace in that you have warned other buyers about dealing with these folks. Maybe let the folks at Russ Darrow know that you're spreading the word.
jktshff1 on 12/03/2011:
Good info and well written
Aerocave on 12/08/2011:
Wow...what a debacle! I can tell you exactly what happened here:

1) Salesperson wanted to sell from stock, so he got you excited about the color--most likely not realizing that particular one did not have Bluetooth. (or maybe he did and was more concerned about putting you in a vehicle that day?) Here is the only part that I would partially hold you responsible for...the Red car had to be less money, which should have been a red flag to you that it's not "the same" model.

2) You took delivery, discovered after the fact the car did not have Bluetooth. In order to quickly resolve the situation, someone made the decision (most likely the Sales Manager) to install Bluetooth to make you happy. The problem is, I'm guessing no one thought to see if that was even feasible. It was one of those reckless "on the spot" type of decisions to get you out of there. These almost always backfire in the long run.

3) You brought the car in, parts were ordered to "possibly" make it work. Unfortunately it didn't...most likely because the configuration in your car made it impossible to have a functioning Factory Bluetooth without replacing half the electronics--which I can tell you is absolutely the case in most automobiles. There is just too much to replace and to do so would cost a fortune!

4) To appease you (and as a last resort) they gave you an accessory Bluetooth receiver (The "part" that they had to get) that you can buy at Radio Shack or Best Buy. I'm guessing behind the scenes those couple of days, there was a lot of finger pointing.

5) By now, it was too late to do what I would have done right away: Rip up the paperwork and get the right car for you. I'm sure the deal that was worked up for you to trade out was most likely not profitable for the dealer, but at that point, your vehicle was technically a used car. They had to adjust the value.

I'm sorry about your experience. As a Sales Manager at a Auto Dealership myself, I have unfortunately learned the hard way in these types of situations: Before you agree to do add something that was NOT factory installed, NEVER assume anything! You are better off reversing the deal--which does make more work in the short term for the dealership--but in the long term--its in the best interest for both the dealership AND the customer.
trmn8r on 12/08/2011:
I thought the final offer (though it shouldn't have gotten this far) seems reasonable *under the circumstances*.

Reason being, a car dealer has this annoying ability to add anything from a black box bluetooth to an aftermarket sunroof to a car, and you can't argue that the fact it isn't factory entitles you to reject it. The best case scenario is that you realize the shortcoming before accepting delivery and attempt to cancel the contract unless a car with a factory one is supplied. This argument may fail - I don't know the law. Seems to be you would win that one if the contract says factory option xyz is included.

The problem once you accept the car and drive it off the lot is that it is now a used car. As you have probably heard, driving off the lot the first time costs thousands of dollars. The dealership isn't going to eat that in a case like this, and I don't believe you can force them to do so.
Aerocave on 12/08/2011:
If something is promised to be a factory option, I believe the customer does have every right to expect what was promised. I agree that the author should have pushed the issue more before driving away, instead leaving it up to a scheduled service appointment in 2 weeks. However, it appears that a Factory Bluetooth was what was promised--not an aftermarket unit. That's the story at least...was there a misunderstanding? That I don't know.
Churro on 12/08/2011:
Awesome answers Aerocave. Okay off topic but I'd really like your opinion about, the prices it spits out and the guaranteed 'no haggle' promise? Are their numbers accurate? Do the participating dealerships honor those prices?
Aerocave on 12/08/2011:
Trucar appears to deliver on the mission it advertises--that is, to offer the consumer pricing options on particular models, within a designated area, along with a no-hassle experience. However, some of the participating dealers are back to the "old tricks" that have made us all look bad over the years--tactics that really get under my skin.

I've seen several dealers listing prices on trucar that, on first look, make other dealers--ours included--appear to be way out of line. But, as always, read the fine print. Many of these "unbelievable" prices exclude destination and have an "administrative" fee that needs to be added at the dealership. (I saw one that was $795 and another that was almost $1000!).

The actual selling price is accurate--its just that leaving out fees that EVERYONE pays, is a convenient way to appear that your dealership holds a price advantage--and I'm sure these Dealers and their so-called Managers think this makes them Smarter than others or "savy business people"--but to me, this is deceptive and inexcusable. They want to get you through the door, figuring if you come that far, between the excitement, and some pressure, you'll buy despite the "surprise" that will be handed to you when they work up the "Total, Out the Door Price." "But, Mr. Customer, everyone pays the desination charge" and "Every dealer has documentary fees that are passed on to the customer" will be the excuses and scripted sales pitches that they will use.

Although these statements are, for the most part accurate, my problem is the obvious deception game that is being played. It still puzzles me why a small percentage of automobile dealers choose to engage in these practices. It's 2011, not 1970!

I only became somewhat knowledgeable on trucar because of a deal I personally was involved with a customer on a Buick Regal, who kept telling us he can buy the same vehicle for "thousands less" 200 miles away. So...I went to trucar to check it out. Sure enough, I found Regals 200 miles away for "thousands less"...and I even admit, I was stumped at first, but as I suspected, in the fine print you had to add the destination and a ridiculous Documentary Fee of almost $1000...doing so actually made our price lower! sum up, Trucar can be a good resource, but be prepared to possibly have to drive out of the aread and most importantly make sure you READ THE FINE PRINT.

You know the old saying, "if it seems to good to be true..."
Churro on 12/08/2011:
Hey thanks Aerocave.
MRM on 12/08/2011:
Its a miracle, Aerocave is back! Long time, no see!
Aerocave on 12/08/2011:
Yep, I'm back! Thanks MRM...took a "break" for a couple years...couldn't resist...had to come back!
jktshff1 on 12/09/2011:
Great combacks Aero
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Unauthorized repair on my vehicle
Posted by on
MADISON, WISCONSIN -- My vehicle was serviced at Russ Darrow on October 1st. The service advisor quoted me a total of $358 ($183 for a battery, $140 for a throttle/air intake assembly and $35 for a set of spark plugs). I added up the numbers and verbally confirmed with him that the total was $358. Other services were recommended (axle boots and a tensioner) that I declined. I stated very clearly that I only wanted to get the vehicle (eleven years old and nearing 170,000 miles) back into driveable condition so I could shop for a replacement. After talking with my husband about the estimate, he reminded me that I was over due for an oil change, so I called back and added an oil change. When I went to pick up my vehicle, I was presented with a repair bill of $534.04. The repair bill included a $129.15 tune up that had not been discussed nor authorized. The service manager was not available at the time and the staff told me that unless I paid the full bill I couldn't take my vehicle. I paid the full bill and left voice mail and an e-mail for the service manager. I spoke with him this morning and he refused to refund the amount for the unauthorized tune up, claiming that I had authorized up to $558 worth of repairs plus the oil change. My written notes clearly indicate an estimate totaling $358, and I feel I was taken advantage of and would like a refund for the tune up.
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User Replies:
saj80 on 10/05/2009:
Send him a certified demand letter for the refund; if he refuses, file a small claims action against him. You were a very smart consumer to get the estimate in writing, so winning a small claims should be fairly non-eventful.
Anonymous on 10/05/2009:
OP, Saj, an estimate is just that, ESTIMATE. Estimate means an around that amount price, most likely that price but maybe more. That is why insurance companies want 3 estimates before they pay a claim. Plus you pay sales tax.

As for tuneup, I thought that was standard for an oil change.

Tax in Tn is 9.5%. say your ESTIMATE was $358, the oil change roughly $50. That is $408. Now 9.5% tax is 38.76, totaling $444.76. Your bill was $534, leaving a rough difference of $87-90. Again, a reasonable amount for job that was ESTIMATED then added to.
Anonymous on 10/05/2009:
OP, did you actually get a written estimate? It sounds to me like the $358 was written in your notes, not as paperwork from the dealership.

Anonymous on 10/05/2009:
Miss, when I wrecked my car, the lowest written estimate was $625. My insurance paid me a check for $875, because it was an ESTIMATE.
DebtorBasher on 10/05/2009:
Did you pay with a credit card or check? If it was with a check, you could have given one check for the amount you agreed on, then a second check for the other amount (since they refused to give you the car back until you paid the full amount) On the second check you could have written "Paid under protest" on the memo. That way, you could have stopped the payment (though it would have cost you to do so) or dispute the entire check.

The route I took when I was charged for work that wasn't done, was get loud in front of other customers stating they charged me for work that wasn't done...they refunded me not only for the work they didn't do, but refunded me for the work they DID DO, just to shut me up in front of the other customers.
DebtorBasher on 10/05/2009:
I don't think the OPs issue is the estimate...I think it's the fact that they charged them for work that the OP didn't authorize.
PepperElf on 10/05/2009:

I'd recommend switching to a repair shop that has you sign paperwork stating what the authorized $ limit or repair work is.

whenever I got my old car fixed at Sears, that's what they had for me... I had to sign paperwork saying what I was agreeing to and a cost-limit that I authorized repairs "up to this amount" etc.

one time, since I was going under way for a couple of days, I even put a note on the email that I was authorizing "email address blah (my work email)" to increase that amount if needed.
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