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To be completely fair, we've only heard one side of the story. Still, it is disturbing to believe that any part or the story below could be true given that our industry is making strides towards a stronger, more ethical reputation.
Regardless of whether the story is true or not, it's "true" enough to make it onto several blogs and ratings websites, including DealerRater and Consumerist (a top 4000 website in the world and top 1000 in the US according to Alexa). At this point, it no longer matters whether or not it's true. The stories are printed in trusted sites and soon a search for the dealer's name will yield these horror stories.
Here is the letter from the consumer:
Two weeks ago I attempted to purchase a 2010 Hyundai Elantra SE from Long Island City Hyundai in [redacted], NY. I left a $500 deposit on my credit card and $4500 via an electronic check transfer. After a lot of seemingly intentional confusion regarding matching a competitors price (I showed them the prices for both cash and financing and they matched the competitors cash price but only if I were financing), and then being made to wait close to 4 hours for their finance department (and losing a day of work) I got disgusted and canceled the transaction. No contract had been signed and per New York law the deposit is fully refundable. The salesman himself confirmed that the money would be refunded.
The dealer's posted policy is to refund Credit Card deposits on the Friday following the cancellation. As I canceled the deal on Thursday the 17th of June, I expected to see the credit card deposit refunded on the 18th. As of Today I still have not been refunded. I spoke to Jack (who is a manager or possibly owner) on June 29th. He "wanted me to come in so we could talk about the deal falling through." I wanted my money returned before I would entertain anything of the sort. At this point I believe it became clear to him that I was not going to buy the car from him. Since then I have called back a couple of times every day and he is always conveniently "out" (despite a friend calling immediately afterwards and speaking to him).
All I want is to get my money back. I already purchased the car from another Hyundai dealer and had nothing but a wonderful experience.
I've filed a complaint with Hyundai and the Better Business Bureau. I can call my credit card company and dispute the $500 deposit but I'm not sure how to proceed with respect to the deposit from my bank account. Is there a similar mechanism for "disputing" such a transfer. Obviously I can and will file a case in small claims court- but I would prefer to avoid that as it takes a lot of time and effort. Is there someone else I should be contacting? It is possible the dealer has gotten the message and will refund my deposits now- but since they are actively ignoring me I have no way to determine that.
Again, we only hear one side of the story. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people will also only hear that side. This dealer will not be given the opportunity to defend themselves. This article will be emailed, shared on Facebook and throughout social media, and the story itself wil be talked about across the dealers' local area.
Moral of the story: it's a digital world and news travels fast. One person treated poorly can change a dealers' reputation for a long time, perhaps permanently. Simply stated, "Do the right things."
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