Guest post by my husband David F.
Buying or leasing a car can be a pretty unpleasant process. With all of the dealer nonsense and shenanigans it can give you much stress. I wanted to share with you my most recent experience I had in shopping for a new car. For the past 6 months or so we have been getting notices and offers in the mail regarding early lease termination specials. We were leasing a 2010 Toyota Rav 4 and the lease was due to expire at the end of 2012. We were pretty sure that we didn’t want to lease another Rav even though we had no problems with ours. It was more a matter of wanting to drive something different.
So on the day before New Years Eve we all jumped in the car and headed over to our local Toyota dealer. We had seen a Toyotathon commercial advertising a lease on a 2012 Toyota Highlander for $259 per month. It looked like a great deal on paper and we wanted to get in and take a look at it in person. Upon arriving at the dealership we told the salesman what we were looking for and the price we wanted to pay based on the advertisement. This is where we came up against our first roadblock. The salesman came back to us and said sorry we don’t have any 2012 Highlanders left. I was like, “There are no 2012 Highlanders anywhere?” He replied that they didn’t have any but maybe another dealer did. They then offered to give us the 2013 model for the same price. So we said sounds good. Then the second roadblock came up. They claimed to not have the base model that was in the ad but a higher model with more options. And of course it would cost more money, about $20 dollars more per month. And they didn’t have it in silver only gray or black.
Now if I am going to be driving a car around for 3 years I want it in my color choice. We told the dealer no thanks but we want it in silver. At this point my wife started eyeing a Prius V that was on the showroom floor. She was comparing it to the highlander and she liked its size and style. I was very excited about its great gas mileage and low environmental footprint. We new that Toyota was running a special on the regular Prius and the Prius plug-in but not the Prius V. We asked the dealer what the price per month would be for the Prius V. He came back and said it would be well over $300 per month. We said if you can do it for $279 per month for the same money down as the highlander and throw in tinted windows, then we have a deal. After going back to his sales manager they countered with another option but we stood our ground and eventually they agreed to our terms. After giving them my credit card for a deposit we filled out a credit check form and an order form. They said it would take several days to get our car in Silver and tint the windows.
So we were pretty happy and headed home. The next day I started think about this other Toyota salesman named Mike P. over at Penn Toyota. We had previously met him when visiting Penn Toyota over the summer and spring. He was a really upfront and no nonsense type of guy. I felt bad that we hadn’t given him our business. So I decided to call him up to see if he could beat this other dealer’s price. Mike wasn’t working when I called so I gave deal details to the receptionist and she said she would speak to the sales manager. About an hour later my phone rang and to my outmost surprise it was Mike P. He was calling me from his home to talk about selling me the Prius V. He went over all of the details from the other deal and said he could beat their deal. After about 15 minutes he called me back and gave me the new numbers. He did in fact beat the other dealer’s figures by about $500 dollars. Plus they agreed to tint the windows as well.
This was great news so I decided to call the other dealer and cancel the order. When I reached them the salesman told me that there was a problem with my deal and that he couldn’t throw in the tinted windows for free. He also quoted me a much higher price for the license, registration and tire disposal. I said, “Don’t worry about it, I found a better deal anyway and am canceling this one”. He wasn’t in front of me but I’m pretty sure that his jaw must of hung open upon hearing my news. He then offered to beat the deal from Penn Toyota. I told him I am pretty sure he couldn’t and even if he could I wasn’t too happy with their dishonesty.
So after canceling that deal I had to pester them for a week or so to get my deposit back, luckily I put it on my credit card and ended up filing a dispute. With the bad dealership behind me I was eager to pick up our new Prius V at Penn Toyota. Mike P. told me that they could try and have it for me by the weekend but it may not happen. The car eventually arrived at the dealership the Tuesday after the weekend and they said with prep and the window tinting I could pick it up on Thursday.
On Thursday I headed over to Penn Toyota driving my 2010 Rav 4. It would be the last time I would be driving the Rav so I was a little emotional. Sounds kind of weird but I get attached to my cars and the Rav was one of my favorites. Upon arriving at the dealership Mike P. greeted me and started taking care of my lease return before we finalized everything with the new Prius V. I was so eager to see the car I asked him where it was. He took me over to the new delivery room at Penn Toyota. It is really nice. They have this really nice room with bright lighting where they park the 1 or 2 new cars they are delivering that day. Our Prius looked great. It was freshly washed and waxed and the tinted windows really made it look nice. I started checking it out immediately there were so many new gadgets and things to get used to. I couldn’t wait to drive it out of there.
Well my desire to get in and just drive would have to wait. After sitting down with Mike to go over the final paperwork we hit a snag. My old registration from the Rav had expired in December and even though I had renewed it the permanent sticker hadn’t come yet. All I had was a temporary registration, which was expiring that day. The business manager said that the DMV person at the dealership would not be able to release the new vehicle because I was transferring the plates over. Ugghhhh… I was so upset. I really wanted so badly to bring our new car home. My wife and kids were eagerly awaiting my return. What we I to do?
Basically I was told that I needed a copy of the new registration and the only way to get one was to go to the DMV. Those three letters strike fear into my heart. Visions of long lines, crowded waiting areas, and very long waits came into my mind. And how would I get there? They already took the plates and registration sticker off of my RAV. This was horrible. Out of nowhere Mike P. stood up and said, “Lets go, I will take you to the closest DMV”. I was amazed. He truly did not have to do this but that just shows you the type of guy he is. We drove to the DMV in one of the Toyota courtesy vehicles. I took about 15 minutes to get there.
When we got there I could tell there was going to be trouble right away. The DMV was jam packed with people this was not going to be good. I waited on the information line to get a form for a copy of my registration. I told them my story and pleaded for leniency from the long wait that was ahead of me. Of course my pleas fell on deaf ears and I was forced to take my ticket of C-509. (I think that’s what it was) I looked up to the number calling screen and saw they were old up to C-445. There were 64 people ahead of me in the C line. That did not include the A, B, D, E, F and G lines. This was going to be an all day event I could feel it. Anyway fast forward 2 and a half to 3 hours and they finally called my number. The great thing is that Mike P. stayed there and waited for me. Seriously I was thinking this guy is great. In my mind he is got to be the most dedicated car salesman I have ever met.
So after getting the copy of the registration we headed back to the dealership. By this time it was dark and around 6pm or so. Mike still so patient continued the paper work and got everything ready for me. After I paid the balance of my deposit he took me over to the car and gave me a brief tutorial on all of its features. I was then introduced to the service manger and she explained to me all about Toyota care and my warranty.
Finally it was time for me to leave. Mike came over and asked if I had any more questions. I didn’t have any so I thanked him for all his help and said goodbye. At this point he came over to the passenger side and put a dollar on the floor of the car. For those of you that are not familiar with this it is a custom that is supposed to bring good luck to a new car.
I have to say my experience dealing with the people over at Penn Toyota was fantastic. Mike P. went above and beyond in his role as salesman. His dedication towards the happiness of his customers is superb and unparalleled. I would highly recommend Mike P. to all of my friends and readers. Next time your ready to buy a new or used car head over to Penn Toyota in Greenvale, New York and ask for Mike P. (the pilot). Make sure you tell him Dave sent you.
I received no compensation for this publication. All opinions are my own.