Tuesday, March 25, 2008

News Flash! Car Dealerships are shady.

At Big Red you can have a job, 199 dollars and a ticket to hasbeen town if your name is Rhett Bomar.

What!? I'm working here.

Warning! Do not go to Big Red Sports and Imports, at 418 N Interstate Drive Norman, Oklahoma, for service or sales. They will leave you disappointed in both departments. They get the worst kind of bad review from me. Two thumbs down, a big fat F and a PTTTTHHHH!

Pull up a chair and let me tell you a little tale.

I stopped in to the Big Red dealership on March 12th to LOOK at options for a used car.

My other car was in the shop at Big Red because they had put in a new engine improperly and now had to install another new engine. I had no transportation because they did not give us a loaner car even though they caused the damage to my car.

I had done my research and knew I wanted a Kia Rondo. That is the only reason I even went to Big Red. I figured they were my best bet for finding a used Rondo because they are the local Kia dealership.

The salesman was very friendly and helpful. They didn't have any used Rondos with the 3rd row seat, a necessity for my 3 kids and 2 car seats to fit. They did have a few new 2007 Rondos with the 3rd row. I didn't want a new car. I have never bought a new car because they depreciate so much. He convinced us to just take a test drive.

I had no intention of buying a car that day. I told them I wanted my payments under 300 a month (I didn't think I would be approved for more then that)and that I was waiting for my tax return so I could use that for a down payment. I did not have any money that day.

They convinced me that it was not a problem. I didn't need a down payment. I could walk out of there with a brand new car for 380 a month and just keep my tax return for other things. A new car not a used one. Used Rondos are hard to find especially with the 3rd row because they have only been made for a few years.

I had a trade in that I had purchased from Big Red probably 6 or 7 years earlier. It is a Kia Sephia that has a cracked front axle. It starts and drives but I was afraid to drive it because it is difficult to turn and makes a horrible noise. I told them all of this and they said it didn't matter. They would give me 1,000 for it. That with the factory rebates and the owner loyalty rebate put the cost of the car at 15,339.50. Less than many used cars. It seemed too good to be true.

I kept asking if they were really sure. I didn't want to take it home and show the kids and move the blasted car seats into it just to have them change their minds and want the car back. I know that they have done this many times to others in the past. They kept assuring me they would not BS me, it was a done deal. No problems.

I signed paperwork and everything went fine. Edwin Marx is their finance person. I got a weird vibe from him. He doesn't make eye contact and he is not very personable. He tried to bamboozle me into getting the extended warranty contract. Why do you need an extended warranty on a car that comes with a 10 year 100,000 mile factory warranty? He just slipped it in with all the other paperwork and said either sign here or here. He did not say it was optional. He also tells you it only costs you such and such per day instead of giving you the quote for the month. Do not get the extended warranty. It is not worth the cost.

So I went home in a new car. The kids were thrilled. We were able to fit the whole family in all at once and go places all together. We got insurance for it, a little over 100 a month.

Eight days later on the 20th they called my husband and told him they forgot to have me sign something and I needed to come back in. They also said they needed us to get our trade in to them because they had someone who wanted to buy it. We had it towed in that night.

On the 21st I went in with my Mom to drop off the other car that they had failed to repair again for the 3rd time and to sign this forgotten paperwork. Edwin Marx made us wait a very long time. He kept walking past us and saying I'll be right back. I was thinking you called me to sign something why can't we just get this over with. I have to go to work soon. So I was just about to get up and leave when he finally called me in to his office. He said we can't make this deal work. We need you to give us a 3,000 down payment today to keep the car. WHAT?! Are you kidding me?

What a bunch of liars. They lied when they called and said they needed me to sign more papers. They lied when they said it was a done deal and no problem. They lied when they said they would not BS me. They lied to get the trade towed in so they could have an additional bargaining chip. They pulled a bait and switch. Sure you can have this car at this price with no down payment. Take it home for a week then we will tell you we need more money and you will just give it to us because it is too hard to back out of the deal now. Your trade in is already here. You already bought insurance. You don't want to have to move those car seats again and tell your kids the new car went bye bye. Plus we have your other car in the shop again because we can’t seem to figure out how to fix it and we won’t give you a loaner so you are stuck. You have to get to work so just give us the money. Yeah, right. I am not that desperate.

There were a few things they didn’t bargain for. One, I would rather walk away without the car than deal with unscrupulous, smarmy, unethical, business practices. Two, I did not have the new car with me because I drove the broken car over to get repaired and Three, my Mom was with me to give me a ride home. My Mom is the nicest person you ever want to meet but don't mess with her family. She was quite awesome at putting them in their place.

They thought they would be able to bully me because they asked for me to come, not my husband. They thought I would be alone and they thought the car would be there so they could take it from me while I was in the office. It didn’t work out exactly like they planned.

My Mom proceeded to give them a piece of her mind and told them she wanted to talk to the owner. They sent in the general manager. He told us he could put us in a different car if we didn’t have the 3,000. I don’t want a different car. This is the car we all fit in we can’t put everyone in a little car. He then told me the bank they are using to finance the car doesn’t finance Kias so we would have to pick out something else or give them the 3,000 extra. Why would a Kia dealership work with a bank that doesn’t finance Kias? That makes no sense.

They also said I didn’t tell them the trade in had problems. So not true. I told the salesman what was wrong with it and he said it was no problem. I told them that they had reported it as a 1999 when it was actually a 2000 and that they said it had 150,000 miles on it when it really had 74,000. They dropped that argument.

I told them to forget it and I would go to another dealership. He then told me no other dealership would be able to help us. I’ll take my chances. They gave me back the keys to my trade in. Not that I can drive it away.

The dealership was full of potential customers at the time that all this happened and they looked a bit worried. Maybe a few of them will be worried enough to walk away and not make the mistake we did. We went outside and the car salesman followed us out. He said he had talked to the owner and was trying to work something out. He felt bad because he had told us it was a done deal and then the finance department backed out. The general manager joined him. He wanted us to come back inside so he could work something out. I said we are done. I have to go to work. I need to go check on the kids. I don’t have time for this.

He said he would go inside and work out a new deal, get it printed out, and call us back. So I went to work in the new car. My feeling is that if they made the mistake and offered a deal they couldn’t make work then that is their problem. They should deduct that 3,000 from the profit they will make on the sale of the car. It wasn’t my mistake so I shouldn’t have to cover it for them. The car is not new anymore. We have been driving it for almost 2 weeks now. It has almost 500 miles on it now. They won’t be able to get as much money by selling it to someone else now anyway. Plus someone put a lovely scratch down the right side the first day we drove it.

We didn’t hear from them on Friday. Saturday someone from the dealership left a message on my machine after I had gone to work and they were closed when I got home. Sunday they were closed. On Monday my Mom got a message on her cell phone from the general manager, he said they got it all worked out and please come back in. My husband called the dealership and they said they were calling to see about getting the car back. He told them that the general manager had said it was all worked out. He said he would ask his boss and call back. Tuesday - still haven’t heard back from them. We are still driving the car and are happy to continue to drive it for free as long as this drags out. The dealership seems to be quite disorganized. The different departments don’t know what is going on so every time we talk to them we get a different answer from a different person.

Also, I have a problem with them discussing my contract and my finances with anyone who happens to come in or call up and ask them about it. When I went in with my Mom the General Manager kept asking her if she had the money to give them. That is not his place to ask. If anyone should be asking for a loan it should be me. It is my decision not his. I don't want my Mom to give them money and I resent him putting it upon himself to ask her that. That is not his business.

They should not be discussing my financial arrangments with outside parties. They have had several conversations with my Mom and Step Dad about financing the vehicle. I am the one who has a contract, I am the one who purchased the car. If they need to discuss finances they should be talking to me. I couldn't walk into a bank or a mortgage company and discuss someone elses business. I would need to have written permission from the individual to talk with their bank/mortgage company. It should not be any different with a car dealership.

It is no way to run a business and from other comments we have heard we certainly are not the only ones to have these problems. You can see some examples here:



Not a single positive review.

This reminds me a bit of my time spent as a juror at the OKC federal courthouse. I heard a case similar to this. A lady bought a Kia and they told her it was a done deal, don't worry about a thing honey. Then they realized they weren't going to make as much profit on the car as they thought so they called her in to pick up some paperwork.

When she showed up the men from the dealership tried to physically force her out of the car. She panicked and drove off but she and one of the men were injured. They charged her with a felony count of larceny of a motor vehicle and assault with a dangerous weapon (The Car). They had her arrested and she lost her job. They also employed an off duty police officer as after hours security on the lot. He contacted the lady (while off duty) as a form of intimidation.

She sued the dealership for wrongful repossession and assault and battery and won. Her criminal record was expunged and she won a large amount of money. She got a new job and I am sure she can afford a much more expensive car now.

I don't understand why car dealerships are so crooked or how they get away with it most of the time.

You can read about some of this dealerships other problems and illegal activities here:


Yes, I know the owners have changed several times in the last few years but many of the employees are the same and the unethical practices are the same.

I have to add that their commercials are really stupid too.

I still like the car, just wish it had come from an honest source.

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