AAA Informative - AAA 'No Hassle' Auto Buying Service a rip-off
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- After buying a new Toyota Prius with the AAA's 'no hassle, no haggling' pre-negotiated price, I found out two days later the dealer was $1356 more than the other two in town for the exact same car (with Pkg#6). I am really shocked that AAA won't make this Member dealership honor their agreement.
The regional AAA program rep, Jay, refused to do anything about it, as did the dealer, since it was a completed sale. Jay even has copies of the ads and emails I sent him from the other local AAA Dealers, so I was able to fully back my point, but he doesn't seem to care.
Everyone I talked to at Steven's Creek Toyota in San Jose basically was lying through their teeth when I went back in to speak to them after I found out they ripped me off. After being referred there by AAA's website and purchasing the car (with a fancier trim package than what I was originally looking for, so I didn't have an exact out-the-door quote on hand) at what I was told was their AAA price, the Floor manager later said they did NOT have ANY written agreement with AAA (which is not true if they are in AAA's program!)and he told me that the AAA price was whatever the general manager wanted it to be that day. They said I should be happy that I did not pay full List price and left it at that. They refused to show me the AAA agreement during the sale and after when I returned, saying they could not find it (Jay has never sent me a copy either, despite repeated requests). The dealer also refused to price match, after their in-house AAA rep had emailed me that they do price match. Between the AAA program and a promise to price-match, I felt confident buying the car there without shopping around, but boy was I wrong to trust AAA!
The dealer's excuse for his high price is that they actually only wanted to give me $3500 for my trade-in, not the $5000 we agreed upon (for a vehicle worth $7k wholesale at the time,$9k retail, per KBB), and that justified the higher sales price. They also said their own *cost* on the Prius was higher than what the two other dealers in town were *selling* them for. This is a bunch of hogwash, since they also bragged that they are one of the highest-volume Toyota dealers in California, and I know high-volume Dealers get better discounts from the manufacturer. The floor manager showed me a scribbled piece of paper with their 'cost', but they had tacked on hundreds of dollars worth of advertising fees, sales commissions,prep fees, and other misc.fees; the floor manager didn't even know what some of the fees were! I assume the other dealers (Capitol and Sunnyvale Toyota) have the same costs, and they manage to sell the same car for $1356 less. I wonder if AAAJay fell for the line of crap that they were handing out. These fees didn't include any closing costs, either, which were additional and added later.
Per the AAA Buyer's program website, trade-in value is not supposed to alter the price of the new car. I would never traded a $7000-$8000 car in for only $3500, especially since the having the older car saves my teenage son a lot of money on auto insurance. $5000 was the amount agreed upon.
I do not know if I should be more mad at the slimy dealer or at the AAA Buying Program regional mgr Jay for not backing up the customers using the AAA buying program when a Dealer does not honor the terms of it. I tried speaking with the dealership myself, but found that they could care less about customer service once the car is off the lot, and all promises go by the wayside.
I was hoping for either a refund of the $1356+tax, so as to honor the AAA and the original sales agreement(s), or at least booting the Steven's Creek dealer out of the AAA program because they refused to honor it.