Company Response on 08/31/2009:
Hello, my name is Tracy Myers and I am the owner of Frank Myers Auto Maxx in Winston-Salem, NC. While I appreciate this consumer stopping by my dealership, he/she seems to have a misunderstanding about one of our most popular programs. Yes, the ads state "pay a $17.00 acquisition fee and take over low monthly payments regardless of credit." Please allow me to explain the details.
We don't own the vehicles at our dealership...the bank does. My dealership makes a monthly payment to the bank on our vehicles until they are sold to a consumer or to another dealer at auction. The $17.00 acquisition fee is simply the fee involved for a consumer to "take over" payments from the dealership by securing financing. As the ad states, there are NO catches. The fee is still only $17.00 whether the consumer has great credit or bad credit.
As far as the disclosure being in small print, there are finance disclosures on all of our window stickers. This is done not only as a courtesy to our customer but, by federal law, we must clearly post disclosures if we are posting payments (and we post a price and payment solutions on every car). If I am not mistaken, our disclosures are in the same font size as the list of options. However, if you think it should be larger or more conspicuous then I would gladly consider changing it.
As far as the ads not being moral, I am not sure what we could differently except to do away with our $17.00 acquisition fee program entirely. We have never claimed that the $17.00 was a down payment and that you wouldn't need any additional money to buy a vehicle. As a matter of fact, our window stickers clearly show a price...a down payment...a term and an interest rate. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
There are a couple of other things that I feel I must address to clarify this opportunity for improvement. The first is our finance guarantee which states: "We'll offer you a finance solution or we'll pay you $1,000". It may sound like an "ad hook" but it is 100% real. How? Because we own our own finance company. While it is true that any dealer can offer you financing with enough down payment (usually 30-33% with really bad credit), our finance company can generally offer financing with an average of 10-12% down payment for the worst credit. Of course, there are limitiations...living in a 45 mile radius of the dealership, valid NC drivers license and auto insurance. Other than that though, the offer stands. With good to great credit, we can use one of the local credit unions for financing and a down payment is usually not necessary.
And concerning our Certified vehicles, they all go through a 165 point mechanical and safety inspection. While I'm not familiar with the particular vehicle you spoke of in your review, I will find it ASAP. If the tires are indeed as "bald" as you suggested, please know that the person that inspected it will be discliplined according to our strict company policy. Passing vehicles that don't live up to our quality is not acceptable. It would be my pleasure to walk my inventory with you so you can point out the things that wouldn't pass NC inspection. That is the only way I can improve my business. Heck, I'll even pay for your gas up here.
We encourage our potential customers to take any vehicle they are considering, regardless of what dealership it is at, to buy to their mechanic. That makes our job a lot easier and, as my grandpa always said, puts the proof in the pudding. The worst case scenario is buying a Certified vehicle, taking it to their mechanic, finding something wrong with it and bringing it back. All of our Certified vehicles come with a free 100% iron clad money back guarantee.
In closing, please know that I agree with almost everything the review said. I simply think it is all a misunderstanding and I hope that I have cleared some of the things up here. If there are any other concerns or questions, please contact me here and I will always help.