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Sound Ford Of Renton, Wa Complaint - Elderly Female Priest Victim Of Bait & Switch Con By Dealership For $20,000

Review by chna spot on 2010-10-11
RENTON, WASHINGTON -- Just returned to WA to assist mother. She's a young 82, an ordained minister on a fixed income. I was horrified to discover that my mother had purchased a 2007 Ford Hybrid Escape 4WD with all the deluxe options. WRONG! SHE PAID FOR THE VEHICLE I JUST NAMED. SHE DROVE HOME IN THE STRIPPED DOWN, NO FRILLS MODEL, THE CHEAPEST ESCAPE SOLD. This nightmare began on Christmas Day 2006 with a classified ad run by SOUND FORD of Renton, WA. This ongoing problem is too long to post here but it involves the Seattle Times newspaper, false advertising, the office of the Attorney General of WA and SOUND FORD. Clearly a case of, "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." That's nothing compared to what followed. To get a clear picture, please note: my mother is an elderly priest on a fixed income, who knows absolutely nothing about cars and how they work and even less about men. Especially the sweet talking, scamming ones. She sees only the good and believes whatever she is told is the whole truth. Even now, with everything I've discovered, she can't believe she doesn't have the vehicle with the 4WD and options she wanted. I've told her she's been ripped off by these men at this dealership and she continues to tell me, "but they were so nice, we had coffee while we listened to FRANK SINATRA records, (yes she said records). Then I got to see pictures and hear all about the new puppies." (This isn't a social visit with friends, these are strangers, and you're here to purchase a vehicle, is my thinking.) When I question whether she asked about the deluxe options she says, "they said I was getting everything I had circled in the 9 weeks of classified ads I have."

In my opinion, these men set out with one thing in mind, to defraud and outright rip my mother off of her retirement savings. No question about it. When purchasing a car, HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SAT AND DRANK COFFEE WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC WHILE LOOKING OVER THE FAMILY PICTURES OF THE FAMILY PETS? How many times have you purchased a vehicle that has extras especially a 4WD, GPS, leather seats, etc. and under "options" in the contract nothing is listed. Best of all, how many people pay $36,600.32 and the car you have in your driveway is the same one shown in the 9 wks of saved classifieds that lists for $13,961. The one that isn't circled and starred as the one wanted. My mother did and was flat out ROBBED of about $20,000. Is this even legal? It's immoral if not criminal. These men didn't even think twice about stealing an elderly person's retirement money. It was all she had to live on and she decided to splurge and get one final vehicle with all the bells and whistles. Something that has never been possible until now, with her retirement money. Even though my mother knows nothing about vehicles, she was given the green light from the Attorney General's office and off she went to pick up the car she had been trying to get. The one she had been marking in the ads. I don't know if anything can be done to rectify this situation. BUT I NEED HELP FROM SOMEONE, ANYONE. ISN'T THERE SOMETHING THAT CAN BE DONE? IS IT LEGAL FOR A BUSINESS TO STEAL SOMEONES LIFE SAVINGS, BECAUSE THEY CAN? You'd think it would've ended there, it didn't. About 2 months after signing the contract a CD arrived with a note saying she wasn't forgotten and here was the music they listened to on the day my mother was robbed of her savings. One last chuckle, if it wasn't so sick --- my mother informed me that she got them to throw in oil changes for the life of the car! Everytime I look at that vehicle I want to go postal! Not knowing how to fix this problem has torn our lives apart.

PLEASE, HELP ME! CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT TO DO? OR IS THERE NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE? IS IT JUST TOO BAD, SO SAD? THANK YOU IF YOU READ THIS.
Comments:32 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-10-28
Posted by Alain on 2010-10-11:
It appears you've had problems with the states attorney on this, but never the less here's a website that may be useful: http://www.atg.wa.gov/ProtectingSeniors/default.aspx or (this is a private attorney by the name of Gagley--maybe be helpful or provide a reference--I don't know them, but they do serve the Renton area) http://www.gagleylaw/elder_law.html (call 253-854-1244).
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-10-11:
Alain, I'm going to refrain from commenting on this, but I hope that information helps the OP.
Posted by momsey on 2010-10-11:
Is the car she bought a hybrid? Is it 4WD? What does her sale contract say?
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
Get Jesse Jones at King5.com.
A local newsstation consumer advocate that aggressively fights for consumers and gets businesss to make things right. KIRO 7 news has their own consumer advocate also.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
ript, that's a great idea. They love to help people in these kind of jams.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
It may end up being too late for your Mom if the paperwork is all in order...it really comes down to her word against theirs, unfortunately.

In addition to what Alain suggested, file a complaint with the BBB (dealerships do not like poor BBB ratings) and here: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/dealers.htm

I dealt with Sound Ford a few years ago and was nearly a victim myself. They tried to sell me a used car that had been purchased and returned just a few months later...turns out it had been a rental car in Canada that had been involved in an accident. Thankfully I did my research before I signed on the dotted line.

Keep us posted if you make any progress.
Posted by trmn8r on 2010-10-11:
I got a headache attempting to figure out what happened. First of all, a 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid, stripped or not stripped, should be a lot more than $13,961, which is the price the ad stated evidently. Then there is the time shift element - it sounded like this just happened, but then it is Christmas 2006.

The price of $36,600 sounds like what you would pay for a 2007 Escape hybrid new in 2006. Did she GET a hybrid? The bottom line is going to be what is on the invoice. She didn't get ripped off $20,000 if the car received listed for $30K++. She simply bought a higher priced car.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
This is despicable. I would definitely bring some public attention to it :( Keep in mind OP that it is the nature of auto sales. They don't make any money until they take it from you but it is awful that they seemed to have preyed upon your elderly mom. That said though, I have a question...

You said: Even though my mother knows nothing about vehicles, she was given the green light from the Attorney General's office and off she went to pick up the car she had been trying to get.

Was the AG Office involved BEFORE the sale? And if so, why?
Posted by yoke on 2010-10-11:
It is sad what happened to your mother, but it was not bait and switch. She ended up buying a more expensive car then what she wanted. Before she signed the contract did she see what she was signing? Did she not notice that the price was much more than what she wanted to pay? That is when she should have questioned it, not after the fact. Why was she there alone? Why did nobody go with her? There had to be someone from the church that could have gone with her.
Posted by steve101 on 2010-10-11:
When my mom was elderly even though I lived 1500 miles away I would always come up to assist her with any major purchase, health or financial decision. It is sad that seniors are taken advantage of.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-10-11:
Steve101, good advice, I did the same think for my parents.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
I don't know why some comments are directed at blaming the OP. Most car salesmen are deceitful by nature...it's no surprise she was taken advantage of.

If I read the review correctly, the OP's mom ended up paying $36k for the basic model..it's right there in the first paragraph.

Having dealt with these scumbags myself, I know how they operate.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-10-11:
+10 J_C
Posted by yoke on 2010-10-11:
jc, I was not blaming the OP, but I don't see what the dealer did as unusual. It may have been wrong, but that is how they make their money. Did they take advantage of her, probably, but at no time did they force her to buy a car she did not want. If at the time of signing she saw the price $20,000 more than the add she could have walked away. Since this thread is not by the mother but by someone who was not there it sounds like the OP got upset when she found out mom bought a car and spent more than the OP felt she should have.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
It's all right there, yoke. The mom wanted an Escape with all the bells and whistles, and ended up paying for one with all the bells and whistles... but walked away with a basic model. That is deceitful and wrong, I don't care how you want to pick apart the review or make assumptions that the OP got upset about how much $ his mom spent on a vehicle.

Bottom line...Sound Ford took advantage of an elderly person that they knew was not car savvy.
Posted by yoke on 2010-10-11:
jc, I read the complaint. If what the mom is saying is true then all she has to do is bring it back to the dealer with the contract and ask them to prove all this stuff that she paid for is on it.
It is hard to know what the mother was told there since she was alone.
Posted by momsey on 2010-10-11:
jc, if that's true, then she should have a sales contract showing EXACTLY what she bought and for how much. If anything doesn't match up, then it's a no-brainer. That's why I was asking if it's a hybrid (they are more expensive) and/or a 4WD (they are more expensive.)

I don't think anyone's picking anything apart, but as with any review, when there are holes or questions left open in the story, it's right to check those out.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
Momsey..I hear you..there's a difference between asking questions like you did and making assumptions that somehow the OP's mom is at fault. Sure, at the end of the day, she should have realized she was being taken for a ride, but she didn't. It happens to a LOT of people, so it's pretty safe to say that most car salesmen are deceitful.

I hope the OP comes back and lets us know what happens.

Posted by shootingstar1284 on 2010-10-11:
The Kelly Blue Book value of a used 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD with leather seats, navigation, and side airbags is about $20k, so I think it's reasonable to assume that the car cost about $36k new in 2006. MSRP for that model, in the OP's area, today (2011 version) is 32k-36k according to KBB, so it does seem like the dealership took advantage of an elderly woman. The problem, I foresee, is that if the woman already signed the documents stating she agreed to the price and the contract describes the car she has, that she would most likely be bound to that, wouldn't she?
Posted by trmn8r on 2010-10-11:
There is a lot of conjecture here. That is what happens when insufficient details are provided. Hey, I did it myself. There is no way of knowing if the OP's mother 1) was upsold, 2) thought she would get the hybrid for $13,961 (which she should have known couldn't be) 3) actually paid $36K+ for a $13,961 car (which would have been easy to prove three years ago with the invoice and serial number of the car). IMO, we can't tell.
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-10-11:
Trmn8r, that's why I didn't comment. I got a headache trying to figure it out, too.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
I think jc hit the nail on the head.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-10-11:
Check out a robocar.
Posted by chna spot on 2010-10-13:
IN RESPONSE TO SOME OF THE COMMENTS, SINCE I DIDN'T WANT IT TO WRITE TOO MUCH THE MAIN ISSUE GOT LOST TO SOME OF YOU. I'M UPSET BECAUSE:

MOTHER WAS SCAMMED WITH "BAIT & SWITCH" CON. THERE WOULD BE NO PROBLEM IF WE RECEIVED THE CAR WE PAID FOR. WE DIDN'T. WE PAID $36,600.32 AND IN RETURN WE GOT THE VEHICLE LISTED IN THE CLASSIFIED AD FOR: $13,961. WE PAID FOR ALL THE OPTIONS OF THE DELUXE MODEL AND WAS GIVEN THE CHEAPEST MODEL MADE. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO PUT A COPY OF THE CLASSIFIED AD INTO THIS COMMENT OR I WOULD DO IT SO THAT IT WOULD EXPLAIN WHICH VEHICLE WE PAID FOR AND WHICH ONE WE GOT.

HOW THE ATTORNEY GENERAL GOT INVOLVED: AFTER 3 WKS OF ADS (TOTAL OF 9 WKS) AND GOING TO DEALERSHIP TO BUY AD VEHICLE, FILED FALSE AD CLAIM WITH AG's OFFICE. IN SHORT, SEATTLE TIMES ACCEPTED ALL RESPONSIILITY FOR PRINTING ERROR -- THEY PRINTED WRONG "VIN #" & SF NOT RESPONSIBLE. AG'S OFFICE WAS IN CONTACT AND SAID EVERYTHING STRAIGHTENED OUT JUST CONTACT SF AND GO PICK UP THE WANTED VEHICLE. WITH THUMBS UP FROM AG'S OFFICE AND WHEN TOLD BY DEALERSHIP SHE WAS GETTING VEHICLE SHE WANTED FROM AD, IT WAS ASSUMED IT WAS SETTLED. BEING A PRIEST AND AN OLD SCHOOL ASIAN, THINKING THESE MEN WOULD BE LYING TO MAKE A SALE DIDN'T EVEN ENTER THE THOUGHT PROCESS.

NOBODY DRINKS LATTE'S, LISTENS TO FRANK SINATRA MUSIC AND LOOKS AT FAMILY PICS WHEN BUYING A CAR!! NOBODY PAYS $36,600.32 FOR A VEHICLE SELLING FOR $13,961 AND NO OPTIONS LISTED! NOT IN MY WORLD. THAT'S THE ISSUE. PAYING THAT MUCH MONEY AND RECEIVING THE ONE COSTING THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! PLEASE EXPLAIN IT TO ME IF YOU HAVE PAID THAT MUCH AND HAVE RECEIVED THE ONE OF LESSER VALUE. I CAN'T MAKE SENSE OF IT.

FOR AN EXAMPLE, ACCORDING TO THE AD WE WERE TO HAVE A GPS NAVIGATIONAL SYSTEM IN VEHICLE. THERE WASN'T ONE. ONE WAS PURCHASED FROM FRY's LATER. LEATHER SEATS - NONE, 6 WY DRIVERS SEAT -NONE AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON OF WHAT WE PAID IN DOLLAR AND CENTS AND WHAT WE DIDN'T RECEIVE. WE PAID FOR A 4WD - WHERE'S THAT HIDDEN? I WISH SOMEONE COULD UNDERSTAND THE ANGER AND FRUSTRATION THAT I HAVE. THESE MEN ARE LOW LIFE SCUM AND I'M BEING NICE! I CAN'T PUT ON THIS REVIEW WHAT I THINK OF THEM. THANKS AGAIN
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-10-13:
why are you shouting at them? ... looks like most of the people here were on your side.
Posted by chna spot on 2010-10-16:
Mom paid for a 4WD, a Hybrid, a GPS, leather seats, 6 wy driver seat, deluxe cd/stereo system and more of the deluxe options.

SHE PAID FOR ALL THE NICER OPTIONS AND GOT NONE OF THEM. SHE GOT THE CAR SELLING FOR $13,961 AND PAID $36,600.32, THAT'S WHY I'M SO UPSET. IF SHE HAD GOTTEN THE CAR SELLING FOR $25,961 LISTED IN THE CLASSIFIEDS, THERE WOULD BE NO ISSUE BUT SHE WAS GIVEN THE $13,961 AND PAID $36,600.32.
Posted by chna spot on 2010-10-16:
Mom didn't think the $25,961 price tag was out of line when it came to the $36,600.32 total because that's the one she wanted --- the nice one with ALL THE OPTIONS. What they gave her was the stripped down model the cheapest one in the Hybrid Escape line. If I had known that a vehicle was going to be purchased, I would've flown up to assist. Unfortunately, I didn't find out until I just moved home.
Posted by Sound Ford Service Manager on 2010-10-21:
chna spot,

Good afternoon,

I just became aware of this review today, and I am very concerned because I have known your Mom as a long time Customer and Friend to myself and Sound Ford, and as I have been here for nearly 10 years, I have talked with, and visited several times with her in the Service Department, and I believe the puppies you referred to were from my Great Danes, I only mention that so she knows this is really me and will keep this as basic as I can to protect her ID and privacy.

I have reviewed the info on your Moms purchase from January 2007. The original price of the Hybrid Escape FWD (Front Wheel Drive), she purchased was $25,461.00, but she also still owed money on the trade in car that had to be added to the price of the new loan.

In the end the salesman that helped her, received a $75.00 commission, and Sound Ford actually lost $771.69 on this sale.

I understand that I wasn't there for the sales conversation as I work in the Customer Service area, but the paperwork looks like it is all in order, as well as the window sticker that lists all the equipment the Escape came equipped with from the Factory.

I also want you to know if you or your Mom, have any questions at all, or if you would like to come in and talk about this further you’re more than welcome any time.

Sincerely,
Gary D.
Service Manager
Sound Ford

Posted by Venice09 on 2010-10-21:
Nice response, Gary. Interesting info.
Posted by chna spot on 2010-10-28:
In response to Gary D from Sound Ford, I agree the vehicle purchased was the vehicle in the classified ad for $25,961. THAT WAS NOT THE VEHICLE RECEIVED. There isn't a problem with the amount of money spent. The problem is the higher priced vehicle was purchased and THE VEHICLE GIVEN MY MOTHER WAS THE VEHICLE SELLING FOR $13,961. She got all the options listed for that vehicle. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 4WD, LEATHER SEAT, NAVIGATIONAL SYSTEM, ETC. all the options listed for the $25,961 vehicle. She has the classifieds she circled & starred for the vehicle with the selling price of $25,961. w/the options I already named plus many more. She didn't get any of those options. That's the problem, it was a BAIT & SWITCH. She paid for the more expensive vehicle and was given the cheaper. That's the problem, not how much she paid, but THE VEHICLE SHE WAS GIVEN FOR THE AMOUNT OF MONEY SHE PAID. NONE OF THE OPTIONS LISTED FOR THE $25,961 VEHICLE WERE ON THE VEHICLE SHE RECEIVED. MY MOTHER NEVER EVEN SAW A VEHICLE UNTIL SHE HAD SIGNED THE CONTRACT AND WAS TAKEN TO THE PARKING LOT AND TOLD THERE'S YOUR CAR, NO COLOR CHOICE, NO EXAMINATION OF CAR BEFORE SIGNING, NOTHING. JUST SIGN HERE AND HERE IS THE VEHICLE. THAT ISN'T THE NORMAL PROCEDURE FOR THE DEALER OR THE BUYER. In my opinion, Sound Ford saw they had a "fish on" and they ran with it and it is low and underhanded, even for a car dearler! Wheeling and dealing is one thing but when it's obvious the other party doesn't have a clue . . . does that give the go ahead to stomp the victim to the ground? Have we really sunk so low that we take advantage, to such a low level? To be fully aware you have a "live one" and then to take them for everything you can get. Most people would feel guilty for doing this to someone.
Posted by chna spot on 2010-10-28:
Also to Gary D, when the vehicle was purchased there was a balance owed and it was PAID IN FULL ON MARCH 23, 2007. That was 2 months after purchasing the vehicle on January 23, 2007.
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-10-28:
I can't imagine ANYONE buying a vehicle under those conditions. How could anyone be so unaware of what they are receiving, especially when spending a large amount of money? The most trusting person in the world would have realized that something wasn't right. Your mother signed a contract without even seeing the vehicle and then accepted delivery without noticing that it didn't have leather seats, navigation system, etc. I'm sorry, but that is just so hard to understand.

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