It’s a tricky business, trying to make the world safe for consumers. Long ago, during my short-lived mystery shopping career, I had the assignment to sign up for a membership at a warehouse club. I was treated so poorly by the staff member registering new members that day that had I been spending my own money and not on assignment, I would have walked out.
Our sibling publication Consumer Reports, as you may know, actually purchases all of the items they test, including vehicles. In the case of cars, this means they have to go to a dealership and buy these cars from a salesperson, just like you or I do. Which is why Rick Small endured an almost comically disastrous experience purchasing a Chevy Equinox to test and photograph.
First, the demonstration Equinox was filthy, reeked of cigar smoke, and was a color that didn’t photograph well. Small put a deposit down on another Equinox from a different dealership, which they then proceeded to sell to another customer. When the correct car was eventually located, he traveled to the dealership to finalize the deal, and again faced a wait because the “finance guy” was otherwise occupied. This dealership apparently wasn’t all that interested in selling a car to him.
My frustration began to boil since the dealer set the 3 p.m. appointment. I waited an additional half hour and a manager comes over and apologizes for the delay and gives me his card and says that I can have a free oil change when I come back. Finally, I get to the finance guy, fill out the paperwork and buy the car. I’ve been at the dealer way too long and I just want to leave.
Just when I thought I was free and clear, the salesman comes over and asks me to wait “just a minute” so he can go and fill the car up with gas. Of course, he had been doing nothing for over an hour and then he suddenly decided to fill the car. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
It was now late Friday afternoon and the peak of rush hour. And I wound up waiting yet another 20 minutes. He finally came back and again offered to go over the car with me. Again I declined. The salesman thanked me for the purchase and hoped that I would come back if I wanted to buy another car. Ha.
A+ job, dealership. Way to guarantee repeat business.
The joyless experience buying our 2010 Chevrolet Equinox [Consumer Reports Cars]