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Why I Hate Car Dealerships

Last week, Bill got a phone call on his work cell phone.  It was from a local Dodge dealer or so we thought (it ended up being from, I guess, Chrysler).  They were supposibly looking for my year of a van (2006) with low miles (which I do – only 48,000).  So Bill signed us up to get the van appraised.

We went on Saturday night (and because they screwed us around, I lost out on Bill taking me out to dinner!!!!!!!).  We get there, they take our keys, and we wait for the appraisal.  In the meantime, they take us to look at another van.  Here’s where things get interesting — the new car lot is someplace completely different (and no, we hadn’t been to this dealer except for service before.  And their service center sucks.  A lot.  Like I’ve made 2 appts there, and both times they didn’t have a record of my appt when I got there.  Needless to say, I was pissed.  Both times.)

Now, I have a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT.  It has a little over 48,000 miles on it.  It is paid off.  I don’t need a new vehicle  at all.  However, we were going to an excellent trade in amount for it.  I mean they only repeated that to us over and over and over again.

They only would show us SEs.  Now, the SE van is a step down from what I currently have.  I also asked what the difference between the SE, the SXT, and the Crew vans were.  Well, weirdly, this dealer only carries SEs.  If you want something like power doors or seats, you have to pay for the upgrade (whereas that comes standard on the SXTs).  What made me upset was that our sales guys answer was that the difference was trim levels.  Which is a complete lie.  I am still trying to figure out why this dealer doesn’t both to carry ANYTHING but SEs.  I am still floored by this.  Obviously, they must get a kickback from the vendor they have come in to add aftermarket stuff like power doors.

So we get back to the dealer.  And sit.  And sit some more.  They have our keys.  We can’t leave. 2 hours into this ordeal (and I hadn’t eaten in like 8 hours so I was starving and crabby at this point) and we finally get a number.  Wait for it . . . . . . .

The number they gave us?  $1000 less than Kelly Blue Book.  You could have literally picked me off the floor.  Because I am a bitch, I told them that too.  At that point, they took another 1000 off the purchase price of a van that is a step down from what I have even though I told them several times that this van was a step down.

OHHH, and Bill asked what the current loan rates were.  Our sales guy replies that people with really good credit could get as low as 2.9%  What rate were they giving us?  3.9%.  Now, we have pretty much perfect credit, so that even pissed Bill off.

At some point in this, we have the sales manager in there who tells our sales guy that we want an SXT.  Which, you know, I’ve repeated about 20 times at this point but nobody listens to the stupid woman.  Now, this sales manager is another piece of work since every question I asked, he looked at Bill when he answered.  Let’s just say that didn’t go well with me.

SOOOOO here’s my advice:

When Chrysler calls you and tells you they are looking for your vehicle, hang up!  I now will be spending the next month avoiding their phone calls since you know they aren’t going to take no as an answer!

Reader Interactions


  1. Yes, we used to have Dodge vehicles (up until last year). However, we knew the sales manager personally at our dealership. So, we never had to deal with this type of stuff. Also, my dad used to sale cars back when he could work. We usually just ignore whatever stuff we get like this (regardless of the brand). I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Although, I think KBB is supposed to be just a guide and it depends on the actual vehicle, location, etc. I don't know that they gave you a fair price though as it sounds like a weird setup to me. At least you know not to go there again. :)

  2. Wow, how annoying. I've never heard of a dealership calling like that and then having them be so rude. I only buy used vehicles and since the Obama bailouts I will only buy Ford.

  3. I agree, car dealerships are the worst! When we get our last family car I was 7 months pregnant and had my 3 year old with us. We were there for over 6 hours. Buy the time the finance lady came back with all the ridiculous numbers I just walked out. I just could not take anymore of it. My back hurt and I needed to eat. We did go back and get the car. But the lady had the nerve to remind me a few years later when we got another car through them on how horrible I was that day. Needless to say, I will not be getting a 3rd car through them!

  4. oh Lordy – NOT COOL! I do NOT like when sales men do not speak to me but look to my husband. Well, guess who pays all the bills in our house? ME – my husband wouldn't know how to sign on to our ban account if he tried!

  5. That would be very annoying. I've never had a dealership call us and ask to appraise our vehicle – and we have two dodges! Did they know that you were in the market for a new car or was a it cold call?
    Either way, annoying. I'd probably call the manager and complain!

    • We weren't in the market at all! They just called us out of the blue and we straight out told them we weren't looking for a new vehicle at all unless they gave us a kick ass trade in price.

  6. This is just a sale tactic to get you in the door by calling people and saying whatever fits for the cars they know you have. You had it there for service so they knew how many miles you had, etc. When a car dealer calls you with any kind of pitch politely asked to be taken off their call list (and you will have to do this many times) and do not go in. Chrysler dealers seem to be the worst at these types of practices for whatever reason. When you are trying to make a deal to buy a car, give them your bottom line and if they say no, say ok thanks anyway and walk out the door. They will call you back. I've bought several cars like this.

    • That's the thing Robyn — we aren't looking for a new van. We straight out told them they would have to give us a kick ass trade in price to make it worth our while. I have no car payment and have a van with less than 50,000 miles on it. I've got at least 5 more years on this van!

  7. Wow! I've never had a dealership call me, but I only buy used vehicles. I think it's wrong for them to use that kind of sales tactic to get you in the door in the first place. If I want a new vehicle I'll contact them, and trying to get me in the door like that would guarantee no business from me!

  8. Hello Lisa, my name is Andrew and I work as a car salesman (Toyota) myself in Jacksonville, Fl. Being in the business, I hate the cold-call sales (referred to as extreme leads). People should ask for the service instead of us asking for their business. These types of stories only make my job harder which sucks. When a dealer calls you like this, it will more than likely be a bait and switch. Yours is a classic case since they switched you to a lower trim level thinking you and Bill would only look at the total purchase price instead of focussing on the trade-in value. Unfortunately, the dealership I work for does this too.

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