Executive Dodge Jeep Complaint - Refundable Deposit Kept

Review by integris on 2007-09-22
WALLINGFORD, CONNECTICUT -- I purchased a new vehicle in which I was assured that my $300 deposit would be refunded upon delivery of the vehicle. I took delivery of vehicle on 9/13/07. No refund was generated. The explanation was that it had to come from the home office and that it would be back on my credit card by 9/18/07 because it takes a couple of days to process. On that date I called my credit card company to confirm this. I did so twice which consisted of a morning and afternoon call. Needless to say nothing was credited. I called my salesperson to not only advise him that the credit wasn't there but also to arrange to bring him the 2 referrals I had for him. He assured me that he had seen the F&I person personally do it on 9/17/07 and for me to check with my credit card company.

I advised him that I did so already and it came up negative on the refund. He then told me it should be there at any time now & for me to bring in my referrals as we agreed. (Funny how he says he seen the F&I person personally do it on 9/17/07 and it should be there now after they gave me the explanation the previous week that it would take a couple days to process, hmmm?)

After the treatment thus far it should go without saying that I dissuaded my referrals from having any dealings with this dealer. Not only was their behavior unbecoming of good customer service in that I wasn't notified first, but I was taken aback that these men word is not their bond.

I'm still awaiting this refund.
Comments:10 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-09-27
Posted by MRM on 2007-09-23:
Just curious: did you purchase a Dodge or a Jeep?
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2007-09-23:
If they don't do something soon, go ahead and dispute the charge with your credit card company. If you don't have something in writing, it might be hard to win if they decide to fight, but it's better than doing nothing. Good luck.
Posted by integris on 2007-09-23:
It was a Jeep Patriot. I'm fortunate that I had the saleman write in and sign his name to a statement regarding the refund of the deposit on the order. Especially since the the order form states "No Refund Of Deposit." I also had the F&I person give me a "I Owe You" form that specifically states the deposit is owed back to me.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-24:
Per M/C and Visa guidelines, merchants have up to 15 business days to credit an account. That would be three calendar weeks.

Hopefully their service department has improved over the past several years. When I was taking my Dodge there in the late 90's, the service department wasn't that great. The only plus was their shuttle service and even then it was hit or miss for availability.

Good luck.
Posted by integris on 2007-09-24:
I guess that’s the answer you’d get when the person assumes the details of a person’s financial status and the reasons for the specific structuring of the deal. Just for the record, this was the person’s 1st major purchase and the person’s credit score fluctuates between good to average depending on what service you look at.

If you’ve done any research on how not to get taken by a dealer then you know this industry operates profitably due to the uneducated consumer. That being said if you researched the information you would have learned that depending on your reasons for financing you should never give a deposit. The fact that you’ve spent the time negotiating a price should be proof enough that you have a genuine interested in the purchase of the car.

Besides, why would anyone in their right mind want to lock themselves into a deal without the option of availing themselves to the benefits of healthy competition? I know...a salesman whose first priority is their own back pocket! The know it all type who don’t understand the concept that if they help enough people get what they want, they’ll help them get what they want! I guess the part where I had 2 referrals for him that are also ready to buy was over-looked!

The purpose of my deposit was that of good will only and not that which was to be considered part of the purchase structure. That was made very clear from the beginning and to ensure this I had the salesman write and sign a statement pertaining to this. Also, the car’s payment is more than affordable. Sorry I didn’t live up to other’s preconceived, negative image!

The main reason for me writing in is not so much the possible lost of a $300 deposit. I never give more than I can afford not to have. But to let others know that there are unscrupulous salesmen who will go to any length to separate you from your hard earned money no matter what your credit profile. The better you educate yourself prior, the more you will limit your risks and have your transaction turn out in favor of your goals.

Posted by Aerocave on 2007-09-25:
Oh come on, it was probably simply overlooked...a dealer is not going to risk their reputation for a measly $300...I am so tired of the "Big Bad Dealer" crybaby blah blah blah...
This is why it is so hard to please anyone these days...To hold your so-called "referrals" as ransom to get your deposit refunded is also rather humerous...that is a first that I have heard of...

It is not unreasonable of a dealer to ask for a deposit, as if the customer gives us their word they are buying the vehicle, we take the vehicle off the lot--in effect taking it off of the market. If you buy a house, you have to put a down payment when you write up the contract. Why is buying a car different?

The exact reason we take deposits is for customer's like you, who tell us "I'll take it" and then continue to shop, not giving a crap that we have a $25000 vehicle tied up in the sold row, unable to be sold to a serious customer. Oh that's right, I forgot, its not your "hard-earned money."
Posted by integris on 2007-09-25:
The response is typical of a certain type of salesman which would seem to be the only one who would be crying. Also typical of this type is not paying attention to detail when responses are given and adding assumptions to come up with answers that shift blame. By the way, compare apples to apples, not apples to vegetables when giving examples. I never known of 2 real estate companies that could offer 2 of the exact same houses? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure if it does it's rare. My suggestion is that you re-read the strings and try to figure out what you are miissing.
Posted by Aerocave on 2007-09-25:
Actually integris, I am not attempting to shift blame. I attempt to be objective in my postings. If the dealer did something wrong, or could have done something better, I would be the first person to point that out. (Read my other comments on other postings) For the record, I can understand your frustration in that you are simply trying to have your deposit returned to you as was agreed. I just feel that you are making a bigger deal out of it than what it needs to be. I do not expect you to understand the daily "workings" of an automotive dealership...however, I am the General Sales Manager of a dealership and I do. And I am simply trying to point out that at times, we receive unfair judgement in situations that, yes, probably could have been handled better, but to go to the extreme you are on this subject...no one is perfect.

I did read your posting in detail, and I stand behind my comment regarding deposits. There are bad dealers out there, but there are many who are not. And in buying a car, I truly feel it is a double standard. It is expected that we are to be upfront about everything (which, I agree with), yet I have had customers out right lie to me about "the other deal" and have had others give their word that they are buying a vehicle by giving a deposit so that no one else can buy it--while they go and shop around for a better price. At our dealership, our inventory expenses are normally $30K+ per month...so it is important that we do not tie up a vehicle for 3 days so that sellfish people like you can shop around and then back out of the deal for a $100 better price. I hate to say this, but it is customers with your mentality that tie up my salespeople for 4 hours and then walk in to another dealership and say "can you beat this price?"

So please do not insult my intelligence with your narrow-minded responses.

I have been in the car business my entire life and realize that certain dealerships make us all look bad...but it is a 2 way street...
Posted by integris on 2007-09-26:
Aerocave I can almost applaud your distracting, misplaced strategy skills and your tenacity to be the cape crusader for your industry. I am in agreement with some of what you mentioned in your last string. Understand, before I point a finger at anyone I self-examine first because I realize that there are 3 more pointing back at me! As you said, no one is perfect. And like you, I’ll stick by my comments also.

You mention that I’m basically making a mountain out of a mole hill. Did you ever consider what you think of being little or of small importance may not be to the next person? It’s all individually relative and the successful salesperson who would like to work smarter rather than harder would note this for his close later.

You’re right. Being upfront should be a 2 way street! I too can understand the disappointment of a salesperson loss of a sale due to the withheld intentions of a consumer. However, this doesn’t always justify the penalty of a non-refundable deposit should the consumer change their mind. This is basically entrapment!

Your own industry promotes dealer competition and other pressure tactics to steal customers away from each other. How many dealerships/salespeople stress being able to beat the price of another dealership if you bring them the proper documentation? I say what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander! If you the dealer do it to try to lock in your customer’s sale for your best interest, then why shouldn’t the consumer look after their best interests in creating a bidding war between you dealers?

For a salesperson to suffer the lost of a sale due to $100 difference is simply fueled by greed on their part and is totally avoidable if everything else is done correctly in a majority of cases. If the true uncovered motivation for the sale is money, I am 100% sure that if the salesperson was willing to give up some of his front-end profits they will be able to more than adequately beat the difference to win the sale. You know…from those highly puffed up and costs of doing business dealer conveyance and advertising fees.

For the smart salesperson the $100 difference is a non-issue for them. That’s because he/she developed the optimum buying experience. By creating a first impression that gained and exhibited rapport, trust, respect, courtesy and genuine concern for his/her customer, it would be a natural progression to sacrifice a little for a lot more later on.

On the subject of dealership expenses being $30K+ per month, I don’t doubt that they are considering the floor plan fees, commissions, advertising and the such that comes with that territory. But you should’ve known the nature of the beast before you invested in it and had a solid game plan to overcome it on a consistent basis. I will not succumb to your sob stories, fairness accusations when we both know that due to the prevalence of the uneducated consumer you make money going and coming.

Again, you know where… hold-backs, factory-to-dealer incentives, MSRP buyers, option buyers, fees from vin etching, conveyance, advertising, financing, life insurance, health & accident insurance, rust proofing, extended warranties, future mechanical services, referrals, trade-ins, supplemental charges and the sleight of hand and manipulation of numbers with any potential rebates. NEED I GO ON? No sympathy here.

My “big deal” as you call it is more about ethics and integrity than anything else. I mentioned this several times before in different ways throughout my responses. My dissatisfaction with the dealership could have been negated if my salesman had been upfront like I was with him when I told him as long as he came at me correct I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

However, promises were made and not kept. Whether the promise was made with or with knowledge of the facts, it could have been offset with a simple phone call and an (undetectable insincere) apology. (He told me he has been selling cars for 18 yrs). It took me, the customer to ask what’s going on and to follow up. Now this is the way to encourage referrals to lower the dealership’s expenses! I will not even go into setting you straight on the “referral held hostage” statement you made earlier.

I’m going to bring this to a close for once and for all on my part. I will not be responding to anymore strings after this one. Let The Buyer Beware & Educate Yourselves about this industry before stepping foot on a car lot. You will scare the heck out of them when you show up with a notebook of the research you’ve done on the auto of your choice with Your Eyes Wide Open.

I hope our debate was eye opening experience in assumptions Aerocave. There are a few good books available that may help those in your industry to increase their effectiveness and maximize their dealership’s potential. The first is called, “ Integrity Selling”. The second you’ll have to Google or search Amazon. It’s called U.S.P. It’ll be in the sales and marketing section. I tried not to make my comments a person assault upon you and stem my selfish, narrow visioned, uneducated views like you’ve done on me. Whether you admit it or not, I’m not as naive as you first assumed. I wish you well Aerocave anyway.

Posted by Aerocave on 2007-09-27:
I hope you feel better now that you got the last say. I respect your wisdom...however what has made both myself and the dealership I represent has been customer satisfaction. (The dealership has been family-owned and operated 87 years). Although continued self-improvement in any skill is always a good; I do not need your suggestions. You simply take everything, including the point I was trying to make, and filter it through your intellectual, unrealstic, and "teacher-minded" point of view. That is OK, we just will never agree.

Good Luck getting your deposit back and in future automotive purchases. If you ever came in to my store, I promise that you would be extremely satisfied with your experience.


Autodealership "Cape Crusader" (I liked that)

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