Toyota enjoys their reputation for great customer service, but does that mean they should stop selling cars to cranky customers who might complain? We don’t think so, but at least one Toyota dealer in Berkeley, California did just that. Berkeley Toyota refused to sell a car to one of our readers because he and his wife were “in a bad mood,” and made the salesman “feel like dirt.”
It started when J and his wife called Berkeley Toyota to ask if they had a gray Prius with a certain options package available. The salesman said they did, and they made an appointment to see the car. When they arrived at the dealership, they found out that there was, in fact, no available gray Prius. That’s when things got weird.
From J’s website:
Javier returned about five minutes later and told us that the car he assured us was available on the phone had actually been damaged and needed repairs before they would sell it to us. Mr. Rios said his manager noticed that we “were upset or in a bad mood,” and wanted to be sure we would be happy.
Of course, we were not happy about coming in to the store to discover the car we wanted wasn’t available. We told Javier on the phone exactly what we wanted, we had already researched the car and wanted to close the deal, not re-negotiate the deal or be offered a different color. They didn’t have the car they promised us available, so we left.
My wife phoned Mr. Rios a few hours later to ask what the manager might have meant by that comment about us being in a bad mood. She explained that at this point she was interested in ANY Prius with a Package #2 and a dark interior, and she was willing to come back in to discuss another color. Javier agreed and said that he would look into what was available and call her back.
Imagine her shock when Javier phoned back a few minutes later (presumably after discussing it with his manager) to say that he “feels uncomfortable selling us a car” since we were so angry and that her husband made him “feel like dirt” on the phone. She reminded him about the circumstances of our experience–that we were ensured that the car was there, that we had no time to negotiate, that we could come right in and sign the papers if they had the car we wanted, and that we were rightfully upset. Nevertheless, Mr. Rios insisted that he could not sell us a car, that he was uncomfortable taking our business.
J suspects that because Toyota ties compensation to customer satisfaction, that explains the salesman’s odd behavior. What do you think? —MEGHANN MARCO