Chevy Takes Time Away From Failing To Try To Rip Off Customer

UPDATE: Vincent To Get Car He Wants

The key phrase in Vincent’s story of how he didn’t buy a car from Curry Chevrolet is “gold mist.” That’s the color of the car the dealership tried to get him to buy against his will even though he was promised blue, and a euphemism for what else they tried to do to him in the sale process, including adding someone else’s car to his insurance policy! His full story is over at his blog, but really, with the amount of trouble these guys are in, it’s amazing they’re still trying to pull the same sneaky tricks instead of bending over backwards to please customers and move cars off their lots.

Do Not Buy a Car From Curry Chevrolet in Scarsdale [Insignificant Thoughts] (Photo: afagen)


Edit Your Comment

  1. taking_this_easy says:

    is this a common sight ALWAYS, or only since the economy crash?

  2. ugadawg says:

    I hate to be pedantic but isn’t that supposed to read ‘Chevy’ instead of ‘Chevvy’?

  3. Snarkysnake says:

    Chevy ,Ford and Chrysler are lying to you. Dealers are lying to you. The National Automobile Dealers Association are all lying to you. Two days straight now,we have seen an eager,willing buyer treated like its 1999 on dealer lots when attempting to purchase a new car.
    How can this be ? Detroits “Big” “3” claim that this is the worst economy since…Since ever. How fucking absurd is it that they are demanding billions of dollars with no strings attached to “save jobs” when we read this shit every day ?

    When we start getting stories about eager,cheerful car dealers moving mountains to make a sale,I will believe that there is a real crisis among manufacturers.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @Snarkysnake: This is what happens when car salespeople believe they can sell more cars for higher prices with deception and intimidation than they can with good customer service. I’m not sure whether this belief is a fallacy or not…

    • Patrick Henry says:


      I think you nailed it. For full blown red-seeing rage, please remember that the gov’t bailed out not only these crooks, but the lending ones on wall street too who got us into this mess.

      Run on sentence.

      • Serpephone says:

        @Patrick Henry:


      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @Patrick Henry:

        The dealers are not the manufacturers. “These crooks” are not the ones being bailed out. Indirectly some of them are, I guess…the ones that ONLY sell Chevy or ONLY sell Ford or ONLY sell Chrysler.

        They don’t give a shit because they got the manufacturers by the balls. They have protected positions in the marketplace…the manufacturers cannot legally get rid of them.

        The only way they’re going to take the plight of the manufacturer into consideration in their actions is if they start thinking about their own action in terms of “what if everyone else is doing it?” Part of the problem with that is, everyone else is doing it, even dealers for other non-threatened brands. So there’s almost nowhere for a consumer to turn to get away from it.

        The incentive for dealers to be sharkey is the same thing that has airport vending machines selling a bottle of coke for 3 bucks. There is no alternative, the exclusive position is protected by law and geography (in small towns, a dealer may be the only one around for that brand), and most importantly, because it is more profitable to sell one item to one sucker than 5 to non-suckers with the same total margin. It’s better sell one car for 5000 dollars over cost than five at 1000 each.

    • econobiker says:

      @Snarkysnake: “Two days straight now,we have seen an eager,willing buyer treated like its 1999 on dealer lots when attempting to purchase a new car.”

      Problem is that the dealers are SO desperate to rid themselves of cars that they are sharking anyone with what ever they (the dealer) can get away with…

      • Snarkysnake says:


        Good observation. But they better ditch that shuck and jive or they will drive lots of buyers into the arms of eager private sellers.

        If any of you dealers can read,you better take to heart what is posted above…

  4. Homerjay (insert star here) says:

    “You didn’t order the metallic pea?”
    “Metallic pea? No! Antarctic blue!”

  5. nataku8_e30 says:

    I spent a decent portion of 2007 and 2008 looking at several different Chevy models that I was interested in, and tried 3 different Houston dealerships (one of which was the infamous Bill Heard). Every time I really liked the car, but the process seemed similar to dealing with Nigerian scammers on craigslist – they were completely concerned about the deal, and the car itself was an afterthought! Every time I went into the dealership, I ended up leaving disgusted after being blatantly lied to. I ended up buying a used Saturn from an independent dealership.

    • econobiker says:

      @nataku83: Wow, you survived a Bill Heard dealership.

      You sound about right since most dealers are no longer making money on the cars, they focus on the “deal” to make money. Kind of like multi-level marketers who no longer focus on the end product but the sales process and anciliary support materials to make money for them…

    • Serpephone says:


      The same thing happened to me at a Saturn dealership. I wanted a Sky.

      Then a Ford dealership looking to buy a new F150.

      Ended up with a Lexus IS250–very pleased, no strings attached.@econobiker:

  6. cabjf says:

    I’m not so sure about this. Sneaky sales tactics, sure, but is he sure that wasn’t just an auto generated message or phone call from Geico regarding the car he had put on his insurance earlier? It could have sent that out or at least generated the call request before he called Geico to cancel it. In fact, from my experience, they won’t even touch the insurance policy unless the policy holder calls.

    • dangermike says:

      @cabjf: honestly, the guy in the original post sounds like a total hot head. While there are nitpicky little details that throw the story into a questionable light, the resounding question is why he didn’t tell them where to go after they said they sold the car he bought. That’s all it takes. One quick, “Well, that’s too bad. I was ready to buy the car and now I’m not going to. Please return my deposit immediately.”

  7. Princess Leela says:

    Isn’t Vincent the same guy who famously got an AOL rep fired?

  8. tc4b says:

    I can’t read the story here at work (yes, I’m on lunch, not company time), is there any way we could see it reprinted on Consumerist?

  9. WBrink says:

    Wow, check out this guy’s “about me:”

    I’m a 33-year old Bronx livin’ sarcastic bastard. If you cross me, I’ll shred you. I have no problems sharing my opinion whether you want to hear it or not, so get used to it. I also shoot video, take pictures, and I’m the Executive Editor of Apple Thoughts, a web site devoted to Apple and its products.


    • Mike8813 says:

      @WBrink: That’s the first thing I saw when checking out his blog… Then I stopped reading. Interesting story I’m sure, but I just couldn’t get past that.

      • Charlotte Rae's Web says:

        @Mike8813: He responds in the same manner to some comments too. I hate to say it but left his blog feeling a lot less sorry for him.

  10. tc4b says:

    I’ve never had a problem buying a new car, as long as I know exactly what I want and exactly what I’m willing to pay. If I’m patient, polite, and persistent, I can get it with minimal drama. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, though.

  11. Corporate_guy says:

    From the comments they actually did sell him the car. The paperwork had the VIN number on it. This dealer is clearly mismanaged big time.

  12. wildhare says:

    “it’s amazing they’re still trying to pull the same sneaky tricks instead of bending over backwards to please customers and move cars off their lots.”

    Once a scum sucking dog, always a scum sucking dog. What makes us think there should be any reason to reform selling tactics for the sake of the customer? They’re just money flesh bags after all…

  13. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    How about the car dealers bending over “forward” to please the customers for a change? In fact every large corporation should be adopting the policies of small business to please the customer because once your company has been recognized as the “town whore” because they’ve screwed everyone, no one wants to touch you anymore.

  14. Anonymous says:

    GM dealerships are independently owned businesses. While GM has some influence over how dealers act, it only goes so far. This is why you see such a wild range of customer service experiences.

    There is no antitrust issue. Only American manufacturers have third-party dealerships, for historical reasons. They wish they didn’t and if they could dump their dealer network and direct sell, they would do it.

  15. Outrun1986 says:

    Wow, I think we have the reason why auto sales are down so much. People don’t want to go into the dealership because they know what kind of an experience they are in for. Buying a car is a rather unpleasant experience, perhaps if it was made pleasurable like shopping in other stores, we would have more car sales. Especially in this economy, no one wants to be taken, and when you walk into a dealership you pretty much know that you are going to have some sleazy tactic pulled on you while you are there.

    • econobiker says:

      @Outrun1986: They need to take a lesson from Harley Davidson in the sales respect and enjoyable dealerships.

      (Of course, HD makes most of its money from logoed crap versus the actual motorcycles…)

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @econobiker: There will be a car purchase made in my household probably within the next year or 2 (or maybe longer if we can hold out, I hope we can hold out!) and I have read similar reviews of the local Dodge dealership which is now under different management than it was when I purchased my car. They pulled the scam where they take your keys (its been on the consumerist a few times). Needless to say we will not be back.

        The fact that HD can sell logoed crap is a testament, people are actually proud enough that they own a HD that they feel the need to buy logoed stuff to show off that they own one. You don’t see people running out to buy GM logoed stuff unless they work there.

    • m4ximusprim3 says:

      @Outrun1986: My wife and I recently got a car at Carmax, and I talked with the salesperson for a while. He had worked at all sorts of dealerships, and his opinion was that working at carmax was great when the economy was down, because so many people come there rather than get jerked around by a dealership.

      when the economy was up, he’d rather work at a dealership because he could make more money selling cars on comission, which carmax is not.

  16. beboptheflop says:

    This is why I’m still driving a 97 Volkswagen and my husband drives a 95 Mazda. It’s not that we don’t have the money to buy a new car. It’s that I just don’t want to take 2 days (because it always seems to take at least that long to buy a new car) and the headache involved in dealing with dealerships. The thought of the haggling and deal making is right now making my stomach ill.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @beboptheflop: You should be fine as long as you don’t have to sink a lot of money into the repairs. This isn’t video games at Gamestop or haggling at a yard sale, a car is a significant purchase. My family and I do not purchase cars unless its very very clear that the car we are driving is ready for the junk yard, and we have been running pretty much every car we have ever owned into the ground, and this has been going on long before the recession started.

  17. Nighthawke says:

    Who would be in their state of mind to buy a car with a color that was born in the 70’s and died at the start of the 80s?

    Chargeback, don’t screw with them on this, jack’em and file FRAUD claims with your CC and bank. It sounds like they truly deserve what is coming to them.

    As for GEICO, they had better shut down that coverage or the AG will be all over them for allowing the dealership to override the person’s orders.

    Before this is all over with, I suspect that more than a few folks will either be in “retraining” or outright dismissal, with prejudice.

  18. zentec says:

    I don’t want to sound mean, but I’m glad this guy’s wife at least has a set of balls. I mean, c’mon, it was pretty clear that the dealership was trying an upsell technique and trying very hard to sell him what *they* wanted to sell him, not what *he* wanted.

    I seriously doubt Geico is going to insure a car he doesn’t own. He should be mad at the fact that if he was willing to commit to a car that day, he should have been able to drive away with the car that day. Instead he was forced to play a game of footsie with a bunch of typical dirtbag car salespeople who were hell bent on manipulating him.

    The part that really bothers me is “We finally, after ten minutes of nagging, got her to just let us go.” Excuse me? Why do people insist on surrendering their autonomy to these people? Don’t like the deal? Leave. Don’t like how you are treated? Leave. You can leave at any point before you actually own the car. And even then, you might get a buyer’s remorse clause.

    It’s not the car they were promised. There is no part of the prior deal that is binding at that point. If they can’t provide suitable replacement…leave.

    • trujunglist says:


      I was at a dealership a while ago and sat down to speak to them. I didn’t like the deal they were offering, so I basically just said OK, thanks for your time but no and I got up to leave. The guy looked absolutely shocked and insisted I sit down to try and work out a deal. I said no, you’d have given it to me in the beginning if you were serious about making a deal. He said that was how it works. I said if that’s the case then I don’t like “how it works” and I’m not playing stupid ass games, especially if its with my money. I left while he followed me trying to convince me to come back in and work something out. Thankfully I didn’t buy the car and decided to just hang onto my old beater.

      • CarnageSIS says:

        @trujunglist: @zentec:

        Clearly you both missed the point that he had given the dealership money.

        Agreed, if you walk in and sit down trying to work out a deal with them and no money has exchanged hands then yes getting up and walking out is an option.

        However since the dealship had $2000 of his money it was in their best interest to try and avoid ticking off anyone involved in the transaction. Since we don’t exactly have all the details of what happened in that ten minutes it’s hard to say what was going on. Most likely he was trying to get them to confirm that the deal was dead and his money would be given back to him while the sales person kept trying to pull him back into the deal thus “nagging” him.

  19. tinmanx says:

    Honda also sold me a car they didn’t have when I got my Fit. I was supposed to get it the same day, I even added the car to my insurance, but before I was to pick it up that night they called me to say that they sold me a car they didn’t have.

    I was mad but they said they’ll get another one in 2 days, so it wasn’t so bad. But half an hour later they called again and said they have a shipment that night and it included a car that matched what they sold me. In short, I got a big headache and waited a few extra hours, but in the end got my car on the same day.

    So I’m not surprised at all that this guy was sold a car the dealer didn’t have. Maybe they sold it but didn’t update it on their database yet, that’s what happened to me. The other stuff that happened to this guy is just bad business. I wouldn’t go there for a car now that I’ve heard this.

    • dako81 says:

      @tinmanx: How did they sell you a car, and you add it to your insurance without a VIN #?

      • tinmanx says:

        @dako81: They got the VIN # right off a computer print out that told them it was available, only to find out later that it is not.

    • dangermike says:

      @tinmanx: if they sell you a car and then say they don’t have it, that’s when you take your business elsewhere. Don’t let them screw you around. Punch them right in the wallet and they’ll learn the lesson.

    • CarnageSIS says:

      @tinmanx: Okay I can see where this was abit bothersome, but I think you’re being abit oversensitive about it.

      Okay they made a mistake, but they owned up to it and with only a delay of a couple hours got you the exact car you purchased.

      Really? That’s sooo horrible? I mean damn, sometimes mistakes happen, no one is 100% perfect. Most of the time though they are mishandled or ignored, seems to me this worked out rather well for you and you’re just tossing around sour grapes.

  20. Pylon83 says:

    Who in their right mind adds a sales rep at a car dealership as an authorized agent to change their insurance policy? Seriously, adding a new car to your insurance isn’t rocket science, and some schmuck from the car dealer certainly shouldn’t be handling it for you.

    • Rob Weddle says:

      @Pylon83: Last car I bought (Hyundai), the dealer made the call for us. He didn’t provide any personal information or make any authorization on our behalf, but he did initiate the call for us. What surprised me was that he was able to get through to a rep immediately…no phone tree, no wait time. That was a nice courtesy and one less hoop to have to jump through.

  21. Heartless says:

    I had a similar experience with a GM dealer. I had done my research, got my own loan that I knew was better than what they could offer, and a set price for a GM sierra. We had discussed with the dealer what we wanted, what we were paying, and that was that. The deal went great, up until time to sign and pick it up. Lo and behold, the truck was gone! They had seen on the paperwork we were approved for about $7000 more than we offered for the truck. They acted like it was no big deal, but hey! we have this one over here…for about $6000 more than what I was willing to pay. We went straight to the competing Chevrolet dealership, told them what happened, what we were willing to do, and in 3 hours walked away with a Silverado.
    Then I got called for an “opinion survey” on the bad dealership. Needless to say it wasn’t nice. Especially when you let a huge truck deal walk away from you in these types of times, because you were an idiot.

  22. Mark Peters says:

    The problem with the industry today is that they’re run by a bunch of MBA’s who have only known great economies with a few good years thrown in just to scare them a little. These guys have never built there own companies from scratch or even worked in the industry they’re running. I think this is why at least Ford is still in fair shape…it’s run by a Mr. Ford. The rest of them (GM and Chrysler) are run by guys who had to make pretend businesses selling widgets at Harvard for their class projects.

  23. Imaginary says:

    Having owned a Chevrolet I can say with absolute certainty that I will never buy another car from any of their dealerships ever again. Dealerships have always been anxious to sell cars, usually doing anything and everything to keep you there until you walk out with something. The salesmen are the most amoral people I have ever come across, and they justify it with “I only get paid this much per car I sell, if I sell a car.” Yo buddy it’s your fault for taking the jod.

  24. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    Chevy sprayed a hot stream of “gold mist” all over this guy…

  25. ElizabethD says:

    Car dealerships don’t want to bend over backwards for us. They want *us* to bend forward and clasp our ankles.

  26. albear says:

    OMG! why dead dog are automobile makers still selling gold colored cars!

    I hate that color on cars, as burnt orange that was the rage a few years back.

    I guess they are trying to sell cars to pimps.

  27. RoswellMarten says:

    My thought exactly! I have Geico and when you buy a new car, you have something like 10 days of coverage before you have to officially add it to your policy.

    Another thing I don’t understand why the salesman showed them the car then “grabbed the keys from a similar car ” for them to test drive. Why wouldn’t you test drive the exact car you want to buy?

    Overall this customer sounds a little naive and with red flags popping up all over, the deal got way farther than it should have in the first place. That line about hte trade in is classic…what a crock!

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @RoswellMarten: His wife brought him back down to his senses after he “fell in love” with the car. I know its hard but this is one thing you should never do, when the salesperson sees that a customer falls in love with a car they will be all over you because they know you will buy no matter what. They had the “oooo shiny” attitude, and the attitude that we are getting this now and we don’t care, and the dealer saw right through it and proceeded to take advantage.

      They also walked into the dealership with no intentions of buying but they ended up buying anyways. It doesn’t sound like they had a pressing need for a new car either, so they could have taken time to shop around a bit and not let their emotions and feelings for the car get the best of them, which is what happened here. If your going to fall in love with a car, fall in love with it after the test drive, and come back a few days later when your emotions have settled down.

      Now that does not make what the dealer did right in any way shape or form and I am not blaming the victim either, but when buying a car you have to be a little more transparent, and not fall in love with it.

  28. vdragonmpc says:

    You know its not just Chevy or Dodge…
    We have a dealer in Colonial Heights VA called ‘Priority Toyota’… not only do they NOT do the complete job when servicing a vehicle they make car buying almost as painful as a dental visit. Lets see how my mom’s visit went:
    She asked me to go to help her get a corolla she liked. We researched the car on the net and talked to some friends that had the car. Then we went over to talk to a friend that worked there. He wasnt there that day so some girl decided it was her mission to sell us a car immediately. She kept asking for my moms drivers license and was very pushy to get personal info. We wouldnt give any but she got our names. That lost my friend the sale as she was now the ‘first contact’.

    Now remember we knew the pricing for the car and I had a friend’s co-workers delivery price on the same car. When I quoted the price for the model that we wanted to buy the girl got very nasty and wanted to know the man’s name. I told her it was none of her business but the car was sold out the door for that price. She would do nothing. (there were some follow up calls later that week that pissed my mom off as she absolutely refused to by a car from a girl that scammed a sale from a friend of ours)

    I went to a different dealer that the quoted price had come from. They were farther but had the deal. I had to get my mom. What makes this a fun story is that while I was waiting my mom was on the phone with the dealerships president (priority) reaming him out. She told him it was sad we had to drive 45 minutes to get a car when they were so close. He apologized and asked what price she was getting the car for.

    **He sold her the car for what she wanted** It was a slightly better car and we had to deal with the ‘options girl’ but mom got the deal she wanted. The little sales girl never helped with the sale and ate ice cream in the show room while our friend cleaned and prepped the car alone. She got half the sale for doing NOTHING.

    Also the ‘engine for life, oil changes and free inspections for life’ are a rip. The engine warranty costs you more in unneeded maintanance costs than replacing the engine over the life of the car.

  29. NICU says:

    I’ve had just as bad experiences with Chevy dealerships in the past. My last dealing with Chevy a service garage damaged my vehicle, acknowledged that they broke it, then when I asked for them to pay for the damages they said they never touched it and that it was broken before I brought my car in.

    I went out and bought a brand new Hyundai the next day (for the same amount as a used Chevy). I’ll never look at a Chevy or GM for the rest of my life.

  30. theblackdog says:

    I think we lifehacker’d his blog, I can’t access the story or even his main page.

  31. josephbloseph says:

    anyone have a mirror?

  32. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    What I would love to know is why car manufacturers put up with their cars being sold by jackasses?

    A lot of these car dealers have the car company’s name or logo right on the lot’s signs and they’re just totally dragging their name through the mud and the manufacturers have this see no evil hear no evil type attitude.

    Am I just crazy? Yes, I am, but am I crazy about this? If I were producing something I stood behind and believed in I certainly wouldn’t let it be represented by Carnies in pinstripe suits.

    • tc4b says:

      @Applekid: Is there a car company whose dealerships have a good reputation?

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @tc4b: None that come to mind. Too bad I don’t have the financial scratch to really capitalize on such a huge hole in the market (which equals opportunity).

        • Beerad says:

          @Applekid: I thought Saturn was supposed to be “the good dealership experience,” largely due to the no-haggle policy. Never having bought a new car, I have no personal experience to share. I think it’s like trying to find a good mechanic, though — most people have virtually no experience doing these things (like you buy a car once every several years while the dealership sells a dozen before breakfast each day) so it’s easy to be taken advantage of.

          Still, I think the internet has gone a long way toward promoting word-of-mouth on individual dealer business practices, via Citysearch, Yelp, etc. Not perfect but it’s something.

          • marsneedsrabbits says:


            Our first experience with Saturn was great, but subsequent ones have not been.

            We had owned a Saturn station wagon for a couple of years when we decided to get another car because we were expanding the family again. My husband knew which car he wanted, having done previous research, and we were really going just to test drive one to make sure that it handled well, then we were going to buy it.

            We went to the same Saturn dealership that my husband had bought the first car through, and it was nearly empty of customers. There was no one to help us, though, as the sales guys were too busy talking and watching TV. When one of the salesweasels finally sauntered up after finishing his coffee and chatting with the girl behind the counter, he told my husband that they didn’t make the car we wanted, even though we passed one on the way in.

            We ended up walking out and going home. We bought the car that would have been the Saturn about 10 days later.

      • KyleOrton says:

        @tc4b: As long as you’re white and well-dressed, I’d say Lexus has a great reputation.

      • tcolberg says:

        @tc4b: had a post that had the JD Power ranking for Dealer Customer Service as well as a link to Edmunds’ Dealer Reviews Database; here: []

        The JD Power Top 5 were:

      • chris_d says:

        I’ve heard nothing but good things about the local Honda dealer, both sales and service. My coworker has a Honda station wagon with 200,000 miles and the only service it needs is regular lubes (oil change, etc.). I’m fairly certain at this point that my next car is going to be a Honda.

        This is really one of the biggest problems the Detroit guys have is the large percentage of crooked dealers. That being said, there are a few exceptions — I found a good small town Chevy dealer that my dad bought a Silverado from and it was an easy process. They were surprised he wanted to pay upfront without financing, but had no problem with it. I think the whole thing took less than 30 minutes, and they gave him a good price as well.

      • FLConsumer says:

        @tc4b: My experiences with Lexus dealerships has always been quite good. Salesholes have been very un-hole-ish, building & service areas have been clean, etc. I only wish they’d make cars which weren’t so boring and isolated. I’ve found Infiniti & Merc dealerships to be hit-or-miss with no inbetween. You either have a top-notch dealership or one which is absolutely horrid. (Great: Devoe Infiniti-Naples,FL, Mercedes of Daytona Beach) Also have to give a thumbs up to Dimmitt Automotive in Clearwater, though at this level service better be absolutely outstanding. Anything less and I’m sure some of the manufacturers they represent WOULD bring the hammer down on them.

        This is an area where the manufacturers should play hardball. Other franchise situations (hotels, restaurants, etc) have periodic inspections and secret shoppers. The auto industry desperately could use it.

        Also, speaking of autos… I never thought I’d say this… but if you bought a Bentley (Continental GT or even the Flying Spur) last year or even the year before, it would have been a better investment than putting it in the stock market. So, ignore the Prez’s misguided advice to buy stocks. Buy Bentleys instead! :)

    • jeffbone says:

      @Applekid: They hide behind the “our dealers are independent businesses, therefore we can’t control all of their activities” logic. I think there’s some kind of antitrust issue (IANAL) involved, otherwise you’d be able to buy a car directly from the manufacturer.

      I agree with your premise, the Big Three (especially) would be getting a lot more sympathy for their troubles if the average person’s interaction with them wasn’t through the stealership idiots.

    • ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

      @Applekid: I’m currently pursuing litigation against my local Ford dealer, because they charged me for services they simply did not do. They were supposed to change the brakes and didn’t. They were supposed to repair an oil leak but didn’t. They were supposed to give me a tune up and did not. It’s shameful they lied about fixing a car when they didn’t.

  33. zacwax says:

    Links dead Jim

  34. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Don’t really blame Chevy, they have surprisingly little control over their dealers. The dealership lobby is hugely influential at the state level, and they’ve got tremendously protective laws. For example, GM had to pay out (by law) about $1.1BN when they shut down Oldsmobile to pay off the Olds dealers – they couldn’t just say “we’re not making these anymore, sorry.”
    These payments were often a couple years worth of profits, plus repayment for any improvements the dealers made to their facilities.

  35. SheHatesComcast says:

    I know of Curry Chevrolet, and they’ve had a bad rep locally for eons. Personally, I’m glad to see them get some national recognition for their constant douchebaggery.

  36. minsky says:

    And the Big Three wonders why they’re not selling their crappy cars!

    The entire dealer system/concept should be radically revised, to make it easy and simple to buy a car.

  37. starrion says:



    My friend who own them still gush about them.

    I was impressed when I watched them soft sell my friend on a replacement to his dissolving SL2. He didn’t buy but the salesrep did a great job of making my friend want to buy.

    150K and the little thing won’t die.

    This is the division that GM wants to cut loose of course.

    • wagnerism says:


      Same here about my 1995 SL2. Since that glorious year, GM mixed Saturn up with all the other brands. The “badge engineering” means that a car can be had by different names, including “Saturn”.

      They’re not cutting out anything important, unless the no-haggle situation still applies.

  38. CFinWV says:

    @tcolberg: I can vouch for the BMW dealers that I’ve used, those employees are top notch.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @CFinWV: I’ve been very disappointed with BMW dealerships’ support of their older models. They clearly want to get you into something new and shiny rather than supporting their heritage (I’m an E30 owner). I suppose they make more money this way, but they’ve lost any replacement parts business they might have gotten from me by treating me like crap every time I go into the parts department – and I have had this same experience at every BMW dealership I’ve gone to.

    • wagnerism says:


      Brecht BMW in my old hometown of Escondido, California has shown up here on Consumerist a few times for bad reasons.

      After getting the brush-off by some prick salesman there, I bought a 1yo used BMW and took it there for the included service. I pointed out my purchase and experience to the sales manager.

      My first/only/last service at Brecht outside the included period had them ding me over $10 to top off the windshield washer fluid. That car hasn’t seen a dealership since.

  39. gttim says:

    When I went to buy my 1994 Ford Ranger, I took the sales contract of an employee of mine. He had bought the same truck a few weeks earlier. His dad spent 2 days negotiating and wore those suckers out. I said I would take the same truck for the same price. They balked, and I was ready to leave. I bought it for just $200 more.

    When we were out on the lot looking for the navy truck, we zeroed in on one. It was the last navy one on the lot. Another salesman and a guy were heading toward it. We beat them and I liked the rear view mirror, marking it as mine. I now have 424,000 miles on it- original motor. What a great truck! My 2000 Mustang has like 115,000, but I bought it used.

    But yeah, I would rather order a new one online just to avoid any dealership.

  40. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: I had Saturn refuse to show me cars because they thought I looked too young to be buying one. So guess who I didn’t buy my first car from. :P

    (And I was TWENTY-FRIKKIN-TWO at the time!!!!)

    @Applekid: I remember reading the system is based on an earlier era when demand outstripped supply and haggling and so on made sense. It doesn’t make sense today, and it just makes the whole experience maddening.

    I’ve had generally good experiences with the various Ford dealerships I’ve dealt with getting service in the various places I’ve lived, and the original sale only involved tolerable levels of sleaziness. But I wouldn’t say it’s an interaction I particularly ENJOY. I know my local Ford dealership service department pretty well at this point, and I think they do a good job and have some real sharp mechanics, but I still hate having to go deal with it.

    (And I know it varies dealer-to-dealer and neither my Saturn nor my Ford experiences are representative.)

  41. Anonymous says:

    My experience with the first Ford I owned (and the last Ford I will every own) is that the company does not really care what the dealership does, as long as they sell LOTS of cars.

    Despite too numerous to detail here unpleasant experiences with this dealership, the only thing I ever got from Ford was a call from some low-level phone operator in “who knows where” telling me that they had my 10 page letter and would place it in the dealership’s “file”.

    I have had bad experiences with other makes of cars and dealerships throughout the US over 50 years of buying and repairing autos, but Ford makes all the other problems look minor in comparison with this particular dealership and Ford’s corporate reaction to my complaints.

  42. Joe Hass says:

    @Applekid: The very short answer: the auto companies wanted to do exactly that in the mid-90s, as the Internet began to grow. The problem was that dealer associations in states campaigned for franchise and dealer laws that make it extremely onerous for the car companies to simply drop a dealership. GM experienced this in spades when they shut down Oldsmobile. Having worked with auto companies in a past life, lemme tell you: the boys and girls in Detroit, Dearborn, and Auburn Hills know very well how lousy the dealership relationship is with customers and how negatively it impacts the view of car companies.

    I’ll give you a great example: For about the past eight years, GM has pushed something called Maintenance I and II when it comes to regular maintenance. The idea is to use the Oil Life Monitor in all GM cars to dictate when to change your oil (which uses actual data of how the car is being driven) as opposed to mileage, and you alternate between Maintenance I and II for other things. The problem is that dealerships want you to come in every 3,000 miles because service is *extremely* profitable (even though the 3,000-mile rule has been widely debunked). So the dealerships promptly ignore what GM suggests and keeps their own profitable system. It drives GM corporate insane, because their own dealerships are contradicting the manufacturer.

  43. valthun says:

    The problem is these are the dealerships doing everything they can to get rid of inventory. This has very little to do with GM, Ford, etc. Yes they want their cars sold. But years of allowing dealerships to get larger and not really caring how the product is sold as long as it leaves their factories and results in money for them. The dealerships award sales, not service.

  44. datruesurfer says:

    I have learned from buying my new ’09 Focus that it is worth it to take a trip to a smaller dealer, as you often get much better service compared to a volume dealer. When my dad and I went to the Ford dealership down the street to get prices and whatnot, they treated us like dirt much like how the OP was treated in this story. When we went to the next closest dealership, they not only had exactly what I wanted but their service was really top notch and we left satisfied.

  45. beboptheflop says:

    Is there such a thing as car brokers for the every day person. I know they exist for the wealthy who buy the most expensive, elite autos. But what about someone like myself (middle class American) who the thought of having to negotiate with a dealership makes them physically ill?

    • theblackdog says:

      @beboptheflop: I don’t know for sure if other insurance companies do this, but if you’re with USAA they offer a car buying service. You tell them what you want and they take care of buying it for you. I might consider using that with my next car purchase.

      • beboptheflop says:

        @theblackdog: Yeah, I forgot about USAA and yes I do have them. Among many other things, this is why I love USAA so much. They are really looking out for their members. Thanks dog.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @beboptheflop: I think AAA has a similar service as well, check into it.

    • jswilson64 says:

      @beboptheflop: If the “everyday person” is a Credit Union member, then the answer is “probably yes.”

  46. Tiber says:

    It gets me thinking that dealerships are going to have to change sooner or later.

    It used to be that they could rip people off because it’s knowledge that most people don’t have or really use, since people buy a car every few years. Many people never figured out that they overpaid, and even if they did the damage was limited to a circle of friends/family.

    Now, with the internet, we can read up on their tricks, compare prices, and hear a complete stranger’s horrors and/or success stories. Now, treat the wrong person too badly, and it’s like a guy cheating on his wife is being put up on the jumbotron at the Superbowl.

    Between the fact that consumers are getting smarter and businesses are getting desperate, I foresee keeping a good reputation as being an important factor once again.

  47. intellivised says:

    Lexus. I’ve seen them mentioned above and… I maybe white but I’m also a professional rock musician and I definitely stick out. I toured with a former & current Lexus tech and he found me a bitchin’ used LS.

    Everytime I go in for maintenance/repai I’m treated like gold. I was given a discount once since I helped the staff fix their macs in their office center. Mechanics don’t offer expensive solutions I don’t need, I get free! lunch, free WiFi and my car comes back to me spotlessly clean.

    Also: this is only marginally more expensive per service hour than the local shops. I use local shops for universal stuff and Lexus for more critical/intensive repairs.

  48. rexmus1 says:

    A lot of dealerships are on the “grandfathered” side of the law. What I mean by that is that their dealer agreements are so old, they don’t cover any of the “outs” that the mfg’s put into current agreements. An example: my husband worked for a 65-yr-old dealership, and once saw the actual agreement: it was 2 pages long. Current agreements are well, not quite the size of a dictionary, but not too far off either. This makes it more trouble than it’s worth, in some cases, for mfg’s to give these guys the figurative boot.

  49. quail says:

    The sleaziness in lots of car dealerships starts with their hiring practices. Car dealerships often use a sleazy hiring firm when they’re out looking for new sales staff. This firm will do the interviewing and will hook up as many potential salesmen hires as they can. The possible hires then have to pay the firm a fee to train them. So there’s a good 20 to 30 people paying training fees and they have no idea how many will actually get hired.

    Looked into a sales position once and was repulsed by the hiring tactics that felt more at home at a multi-level-marketing / lake-lot-sell-a-thon. In the end the potential hire would be out a good $1K with no promise of being hired and having their training reimbursed.

    It was like all the bad in the industry is bred from the ground up. Blech!

  50. fatcop says:

    The prophet Bennington, once proclaimed that there are only 2 kinds of people in this world: Carnies and Rubes.

    Which side are you on?

  51. Anonymous says:

    Thats almost how I was treated at the dealership I went to. I was yelled at by their finance manager because I didn’t like the car he tried getting a deal on, they refused my keys 3 times even after I walked into my parent’s vehicle and tried to hide from the man trying to sell the car my mother had to chime in while I was to ask him to leave us alone for awhile, then when I tried to return the car the same day I was refused. I knew something wasn’t right with this Cobalt. I come to find out later the dealership gave me a car with a cracked oil pan, faulty radio, horrible fuel mileage, and an engine that loves to shut down in the middle of driving. Chevy will not do anything to help with the matter other than have me drive around the state finding a dealership nice enough to investigate the issues. Last time I tried using Roadside I was asked for money by the tow drive with whom I refused his service and told him to move along while I waited on the car to regain its composure and restart. The dealership was a complete scam artist with little scammers all over the lot. I have been refused service by 5 dealerships since the problem began citing they will not get paid for the work by Chevy. The original dealership doesn’t do a thing to assist but laugh at me and talk smack when I’m on the lot because of my complaints about the dealership to Chevy corporate and the BBB, with whom the dealer ranks awful with. When I had my car there for service their service man used it to do his errands in. He comes back eating food and drinking a soda in the front seat and asks when I experience the problem with the shut down and I stand there trying to figure out why he’s eating and drinking in this POS. Now they want to put a data recorder in my car after 6 or so attempts at this problem trying to get resolved. I’m at a loss and too poor to push lemon law. Chevy just needs to shutter and disappear or do something drastic to get back onto the side of the customers with whom they ignore. They explain that their dealers are independently owned but they are free to stand up for them when complaints arise instead of investigating the problems and sorting things out. Customer satisfaction number is a joke it doesn’t exist even tho its listed in the car manual as being a resort to call if your unhappy with the performance of your car. I called this number on the third day after leaving the lot after the second attempt to give it back and while I was paying out of pocket for damage they done to a brand new car.

  52. kpetree10 says:

    My local Lexus dealer is amazing.

    Eyebrows McGee said above “I had Saturn refuse to show me cars because they thought I looked too young to be buying one.”

    I stepped onto the lot at my Lexus dealer at 18 and the sales guy came out and I pointed out the 2002 RX300 I wanted, he asked if I wanted to test drive it and I sure did, he ran inside, got me the keys and sent me off, he didn’t even ride with me! Later I test drove a 2003 ES300 and the same thing, I later bought the ES. I bought probably what was the cheapest Lexus on the lot but every time I take it in for service it is like I dropped $80k on a LX! The service managers are extremely nice and the waiting area is like nothing I have ever seen! What other dealerships have 70-inch HDTVs and leather chairs? None around here! On top of that I pass the dealership at least once a week and they give me a free car wash every week, and not all Lexus dealerships have to do that.

    I went back there recently, I’m 19 now, and they let me test drive a brand new 2009 RX and again the sales guy didn’t come with me and he made sure I got the copy of my license back when I was finished.

    That is the kind of service that has made me decide that I will not buy anything other than Lexuses for as long as I drive.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Car dealers are independent businesses heavily protected by state franchise laws. The car companies cant control the price or the deals or the process. The people who work at the car companies put up with the same crap everyone else does.

  54. jswilson64 says:

    Sorry, he lost me when he “fell in love” with the car. Isn’t Consumerist owned by Consumer Reports now? Isn’t that something like the #1 thing on “Things not to do when buying a car” ??

    Plus which, it’s a Chevy, for cryin’ out loud. How can anyone “fall in love” with a freakin’ Chevy?

    That said, he at least needs to call the state office that provides Insurance oversight, to see if the dealership committed any breach of statute or insurance rules…

  55. jswilson64 says:

    Oh, and P.S. – Depends on the state, but in Texas you have several days to add a new car to your insurance policy – it doesn’t have to be done before delivery.

  56. Heresy_Fnord says:

    Not every single Chevy dealer in the America is horrible. That dealer may have bad tactics and that is completely inexcusable, but you can’t say the entire company as a whole is terrible. There are good Chevy dealers out there, just as there are rotten import dealers. I went to a Honda dealer and was told I couldn’t test drive a car because it was only reserved for people who were going to buy it. I kinda need to drive it to determine that. I ended up buying it elsewhere.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I have purchased 4 vehicles from Curry Chevrolet in the last 4 years and have nothing but positive things to say about them. They went out of their way to see that I was satisfied and made sure that service treated me like a vip. I am shocked by the negative comments and experience. It would not be like them to not try to correct a mistake.