The 78-year-old recently called the Newark Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column after his local Hyundai dealership called to tell him that his military discount had been denied and he would have to pay back the $500.
The car owner says he didn’t even know about the discount when he went to the dealer to buy a 2013 Sonata, but when the salesman learned he was a former officer in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, he told the customer about a way to save a quick $500.
“At the time of sale, I filled out the form for the military rebate,” the customer recalls to Bamboozled. “At that time I provided them with a copy of my official retired military identification card, which clearly identifies me as a U.S. Army retired officer.”
Everything was fine until a couple of days later when the dealership called to tell him that Hyundai HQ had rejected his paperwork and, since it was a corporate discount, he’d have to pay back the $500.
And so he says he made several attempts to reach the car maker’s corporate offices, and even furnished them with official documentation showing his discharge from active duty, but the best he could get was that his case would be reviewed in a few weeks.
After a month of riding on the unmerry-go-round, he finally contacted Bamboozled. Within a day of a reporter reaching out to Hyundai, the customer received an e-mail letting him know that his Military Incentive Discount had, in spite of everything he’d been told, always been approved.
“It looks like the discount was there all along but just needed some explaining to [the customer],” a Hyundai rep tells Bamboozled. “Everything is good now and it appears everyone is happy.”
So why was the customer repeatedly told by the dealership and by corporate customer service that his discount had been rejected?
“The discount was already part of the final transaction at the time of purchase,” replied Hyundai, doing its best to not answer the question. “There was just a misunderstanding at the dealership on how it was communicated.”
The dealership doesn’t seem to think this was a matter of miscommunication with the customer, saying it repeatedly submitted the military discount paperwork to the corporate office.
“I’m totally disgusted by the manner in which Hyundai handled this matter,” says the customer. “It’s certainly left a bad taste in my mouth, and destroyed what should have been a very good customer relationship.”