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Interesting but negative dealership experience!


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This isn't a question but an experience I had at a local Honda dealership when I was shopping for my Civic. I want to share it so people are aware of this tactic/method some dealerships use but also for people in my area to become aware of how this dealership sells cars. This happened at Honda of Seattle in WA State.

I wanted to purchase a 2022 Civic sedan sport in one of the two more expensive colors (white or sonic gray pearl which Honda msrp is $390 more for these two colors). My first step was calling local dealerships to find which ones have the second sticker and which ones don't so I don't spend time on those with second stickers and trying to get them to remove those almost always unnecessary dealer additions. Honda of Seattle was one of the dealerships which did not have the second sticker and also advertised selling at msrp and "One price, simple" philosophy. I called them and they said they had one in transit which they would sell me at msrp (actually the price didn't include the $390 extra for the color which sounded very good) and I could go place a deposit so the car would be mine before it arrives on the lot. Sounded good so I decided to go in and get the deposit and paperwork for it done. And this is where the 2 hour circus as I call it now starts.

As a note in my state if the dealership uses an official dealer paper meaning it has their name and information on it it is legally binding and if they try to change it or charge anything more I can legally pursue it. So I definitely wanted everything to be written and signed on such paper.

I got there and told the salesperson I had talked to that okay lets get what is needed for me to put the deposit and put my name on the car done. He brought a plain white piece of printer paper and wrote on it "$500 deposit for new incoming car" and told me to sign it and done. Also, in order to make things look legit he said I would need a copy of your auto insurance and drivers license!! I said this paper doesn't even show anything as far as what model car I'm getting let alone the color, trim, and agreed upon price etc. He said "well you should trust us because we at Honda of Seattle are a family business and have been around for years." I told him no offense to you but in such cases I only trust a signed official paper so I need something that shows all the exact information. He went back and forth with the sales manager and said this is all I can do. Red flag but I decided to see where it goes just to learn what some dealerships are doing to be more prepared for next dealership interactions.

I didn't accept the paper and then the salesperson said if you want everything officially written and signed you have to go through the finance office and get everything done meaning you can in no situation cancel the contract. I said okay lets do it. He went to the sales manager and comes back saying we can't go to the finance office because we don't have the VIN #. Another red flag because the car gets assigned a VIN # when it goes for production. I said but you told me the car is in transit which means it definitely has a VIN # assigned to it.

Again he goes to the sales manager and comes back with a printer paper again with no sign of the dealership information on it with a VIN # and saying here is the VIN # and you can put the deposit and sign the bottom of this paper. I said if this is the real VIN # then lets go to the finance office and get everything done. He went to the sales manager once again and brought back that same paper with some initials saying "my sales manager put his initials so it's official now." I said no apparently you guys don't want to sell this car transparently so bye. This was where the sales manager got irritated and in not nice tone said "we did all this stuff because you wanted and now you're saying you don't want it. You can't find this car anywhere else so it's your loss." I knew other places had the same car in transit so with a very nice smile I left.

That day and after this I talked to a friend's friend who is a finance manager at a dealership for a different manufacturer and he said these people wanted to not make everything official and legal so that they could sell it to anyone who is willing to pay a higher price when the car comes to the lot. Which makes sense.

Two days later I went to Honda Auto Center of Bellevue (which I had initially crossed out because of second sticker) and salesperson was Beau Price which was a great experience. They didn't have the car I wanted on the lot but willing to take deposit for an incoming one. The process took 20 minutes. Negotiated price (msrp), took off additional stuff I didn't want (worth $800), only fake fee was prep fee which he took it off in 30 seconds, proper paperwork signed by me and sales manager, put deposit and done. One thing which showed they are doing business right and really want to sell a car properly was without me even asking he printed even the initial quote on official dealership paper. When filling out the final deposit contract I asked him to put "new" instead of VIN to prevent possibility of being sold a used car and he said okay without any opposing it.

Car arrived a bit later than they had anticipated (nothing unusual because the salesperson had told me because of chip and supply chain issues Honda is falling back on their initial schedule) but I was informed of all updates, got vin number when available, and picked up the car and got paperwork done in an hour. I had told him I am paying cash and nobody in the finance office even tried to get me into financing it and no pushing to sell me warranties and stuff I didn't want.

So if looking for a Honda in Washington State I definitely suggest Beau Price and Honda Auto Center of Bellevue!

2 Answers

Just dealerships being stealerships..

Totally agree. Even more unbelievable than this was one other dealership I called told me they will take the full price of the car as a deposit and then let me know when they get one!!! Literally wanting a free loan is what I call it.

The audacity..!

they're getting cocky

And I'm sure the car shortage hasn't made it any better.


"we did all this stuff because you wanted and now you're saying you don't want it."

Yeah dealers have used similar lines on me. When they feel the deal slipping away, they try to reel you back in with this guilt trip. As if now the negotiation has somehow inconvenienced them, even though it's their job. *sigh* Going to a dealer is like going to the theatre. Such a performance. Roll  

Don’t forget to wear your finest Sunday linen, or else be ignored/not being taken seriously..

With the sales manager's tone I feel like it was more of an "you put us through trouble so now you owe us buying the car." Feeling guilty when stepping out of a dealership is definitely the last thing I might do.

I really felt like telling them to kiss my heiny. I just came here to look at cars. YOU were the ones trying to pressure me into buying, so you got what you deserved ya clowns!