Potamkin Honda NYC Complaint - How Potamkin Honda Of NYC Pulled A Fast One On Me

Review by dovix85 on 2008-11-26
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- In December of 2006 I leased a fully loaded Honda Accord. By fully loaded, I mean it was the top of the line and best Accord in the market. Leather seats, V6 engine, moon roof etc. My mileage cap was at 12,000 miles per year. Not something I thought I would go over, given that I took public transportation to commute into the city. This all changed when I got married and my wife began to use the car to commute to her job as a teacher in Connecticut. I started to get nervous about how our mileage limit was fast approaching. Knowing how hard it is to get out of a lease and not wanting to have to pay thousands of dollars in extra fees, I started looking at my options. I contacted Honda dealerships all over my area asking for my options. I received a reply from Potamkin Honda in NYC saying that “It is very possible that you can trade in your Accord. We would have to appraise your vehicle in order to get a trade in value. Would you be able to stop by this week?” The only time I was able to stop in was the same day, so off I went to Potamkin.

At Potamkin, I met a very friendly salesman and we focused on purchasing a 2007 Honda Civic with 30,000 miles. The price was $1595, which sounded a bit high for a Civic, but I was told it included a 100,000 mile guarantee and they would take care of my leased Accord. If I would have looked up the value of a 2007 Honda Civic with 30,000 miles, I would have seen that the blue book value of it is approximately $11,500. I could have purchased a brand new 2009 Honda Civic DX for $15,405.

As I was sitting down at the salespersons desk and going over the paperwork, we agreed on putting $6,000 as a down payment. He offered $2,000 on my credit card and $4,000 by check. Before I was even able to blink, my credit card was swiped. I was caught up in the whole aura of the experience that I did not have the time to think everything through. The idea of purchasing my Accord and financing it had come up, but was quickly dismissed by the salesman as “not making sense”. Everything seemed perfect and it looked like I was making a good deal. This fact was constantly reinforced by everyone I met in the store, from the sales manager to a mechanic, to the finance manager. I was sure I was getting an awesome deal. But I was dead wrong. The only people getting an awesome deal were the folks at Potamkin Honda.

My last step was at the finance manager’s desk who was able convinced me to shell out an extra $1600 for some type of further warranty. I did not fully understand what he was talking about, but I went ahead with it anyway because he made it sound good.

The complete sales bill came out to over $23,000 for a 2007 Honda Civic with 30,000 miles. I was forced to finance approximately $17,000 of it at 6.4% interest. I was told that since my credit score was in the top tier, I was receiving an awesome deal.

After going home and thinking about what transpired, I realized what a horrible deal was just done. I was completely scammed into the purchase by smooth talking sales people. You can not compare the value of a 2007 Honda Accord fully loaded with 23,000 miles to a 2007 Honda Civic (not fully loaded) with 30,000 miles. It’s just not comparable. I will admit that the Honda Accord had scratches on and needed some body-work. I had received an estimate for the bodywork to be $1,500.

When I contacted Potamkin the next day, I was again given to various smooth talking people who’s attempt to convince me that I made a good deal was dismal. They know what they did and did not have any answer to my above claims, other than bringing up the 100,000 mile warranty plus the great mileage on the civic.

Shame on Potamkin Honda!
Comments:14 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-11-26
Posted by MyDogsMom on 2008-11-26:
I say shame on you! No one held a gun to your head. You made a deal on the lease...and knew you were probably not going to be able to hold up your end of the bargain with the mileage. You attempted to make another deal and didn't do your research. It's not a car dealership's job to hold your hand, make sure you feel confident that you are getting a good deal and hope they aren't moving too fast for you...a grown up.

Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-11-26:
Shame on Potamkin Honda? You have to be kidding, right? This is like the news story from earlier this week about the guy in China that climbed over the fence at a zoo to hug one of the Pandas. He was quite surprised when the panda mauled him.

The car dealer did exactly what he was supposed to do - squeeze you for every nickle they he could. That's what they do, plain and simple. They aren't there to be your friend, they don't care if you like them and they don't really care if you leave there happy as long as they didn't leave any money on the table.

Dealerships spend many hours each year with their sales people - training them on the newest and best sales techniques and closing strategies. Isn't it worth at least a few hours of your time to do some studying as well?

Good luck on future car deals - chalk this one up as a lesson.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-26:
This is why you never purchase a car without doing your homework first. You NEVER make the purchase on the same day you are looking no matter how great the deal may sound. The salesman wanted you to come in sometime this week, and you were only available that day. Okay, I understand tight schedules. A good solution would to have said "I'm sorry, this week is not good for me. I will be in next week, Wednesday at XX:XXpm."

It is unfortunate that this happened, but you are an adult and you had control of the pen and should have put it down and not signed if there was any aspect of the contract that you felt you did not understand. There is no "cooling off period" when you purchase a vehicle.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-26:
This is worth repeating. -- "You NEVER make the purchase on the same day you are looking no matter how great the deal may sound" ... That is great advice for autos and for most financial decisions in general.

Your deal does suck. I don't know of anything that can be done to undo the poor decision. You live and learn. Thanks for taking the time to post your experience. Perhaps it will serve as a warning to others. Good Luck.
Posted by S. on 2008-11-26:
'They know what they did and did not have any answer...' Yep, they sure did. That 'friendly salesman' will probably be named Sales Associate of The Year, not only at Potamkin but the whole region. They didn't scam you. Don't you know how to say 'NO?' You made a bad deal and now you're blaming others for it--starting with our wife who put the extra miles on the car. I know these guys are glib and fast talkers but for Pete's sake, take some responsibility for your actions. When I'm in a transaction as low cost as buying paper for my printer/copier, I weigh the option of 16 lb. paper vs. 20 lb. paper. And the last time I bought a car, it took me at least 10 days to make a decision. This was not a scam--it was poor judgement on your part.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-26:
I have to 2nd what everyone else already said.
Posted by Aerocave on 2008-11-26:
Now hold on a second everyone...As usual, the dealer here is being blamed for "fast talking, money squezzing sales tactics"--yet the only thing I see here is a customer that wanted to trade out of his lease vehicle early because of mileage concerns...and into a conventional purchase. And now, has regrets...And now, its the dealer's fault. We just can't win!

First of all I do not know where anyone thinks that they can purchase a Certified 2007 Honda Civic with 30K miles for 11995...and I don't care what Kelly Blue Book says. Can Kelly Blue Book find one for that? I doubt it.

What the dealer did here is what we are asked to do almost every day. Buy the customer out of their lease--which involves obtaining a dealer buyout from the finance company (I'm assuming in was American Honda Finance) and then putting an actual cash value figure on the leased vehicle. (In order to inventory the vehicle). Generally, there is negative equity (Actual Value of Leased Vehicle-Buyout) because of the way a lease is computed. This negative equity was added to the purchase price of the vehicle. I'm not saying that this is the smartest thing to do, but many times it is what the customer wants. In this case, dovix85 at least put $6,000 cash down to offset most of the negative equity...many times customers want "no money down." The bottom line is this: You traded out of a lease into a purchase. I don't see how you got such a "raw deal" here. Yes, you financed a lot of money on a 2007 Honda Civic. But look what had to be done to terminate your lease early. This is how it works. You didn't have to buy an extended warranty--but you did. If you are upset about that--Cancel it and you'll be refunded the money (in whole if less than 30 days--prorated afterwords).

Typically, these deals for the dealer are really not as profitable as you may think, especially in these types of cases. Think about this for a minute--The dealer has to pay off the Bank (for the leased vehicle) PLUS inventory a late model Accord, of which we get no "actual cash" until it is sold IF it sells and IF we sell it at a profit (the current used car market has been changing almost monthly in terms of values on many vehicles--and the dealer assumes this risk WHENEVER a car is traded)

I do agree with everyone else...READ before you SIGN. But also, if you don't actually work in the car business it doesn't always work the way you THINK.
Posted by MRM on 2008-11-26:
Aerocave, thank you for informing us of how the car dealerships operate, as it is a complex system. You are certainly one of the most valuable member on this site.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-26:
No offense Aerocave but it's far sexier framing car salesman as evil merchants of satan than it is to size them up rationally. Anyway good point.. The negative equity and/or estimated over mileage was the real issue. Purchasing another car only compounded the original dilemma. People put more thought into the American Idol than they do making financial decisions that will haunt them for years. It's crazy.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-26:
Thank you, Aero. I appreciate the information. Just to clarify I am not blaming the dealership and I do not believe that my original post implied that I was. My point is that the OP should not have signed on the dotted line until they had a clear understanding of what was being signed. Instead of getting up and walking away the OP acted impulsively and signed a document that they clearly did not understand.

Also I do not believe the statement made "He offered $2,000 on my credit card and $4,000 by check. Before I was even able to blink, my credit card was swiped." My question is who took the credit card out and placed it where the sales person had access? I do not think the sales person would reach into his pocket and help himself to the OP's wallet. That would be theft.

The OP made a financial blunder which probably all of us have done in one way or another. Personally I believe he needs to own his mistake, learn from it and not do it again. It is not the end of the world and surely he learned a valuable lesson.

Posted by Aerocave on 2008-11-26:
Crabman: I agree! At least we are still above lawyers!

John: I realize most everyone is basically singing the same tune: Take responsibility for your own actions--which I agree, we all need to do that...its just that along with that, comes the comments about salesperson of the region, "thats what dealers do", "Squeezz", etc--that just irks me. Most people have NO IDEA how hard dealers have been "squeezed" by the consumer, the manufacturers, and even the financial institutions--yet people still think that we rake in all these profits, take all these trips, and live the high life. I'm currently working harder and longer than ever--all to take a substantial pay cut this year.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2008-11-26:
aero, and it ain't gonna end anytime soon.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-26:
Aero: I agree and thats why never specifically made reference to the salesperson doing any wrong doing. We were not there. We don't know what kind of pressure, if any the sales person may or may not have given. My comments were directed to the OP to educate himself so he will be better prepared before he signs his next contract and less impulsive when making future purchases. I never made reference to the sales person squeezing anyone.
Posted by Aerocave on 2008-11-26:
John: No problem...Your advice is always well-worded and responsible...my references were not towards you...Thanks!

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