The pain of dealing with dealerships – big and small

red square with white words it was not meant to be; again the pain of dealing with dealerships

Once again, no car for you Tonya!

It was a couple Saturdays ago. I had spent all week emailing back and forth with a sales rep at a small car dealership. We were discussing a 2010 Subaru Impreza.

I was excited. It was going to be the first time I drove one, and I was looking forward to feeling the difference of an all-wheel drive.

Right after my meeting ended I drove across the city to find a small and crowded dealership/garage. The cars were dirty and dusty. I found my way to an equally dirty and dusty office.

There was a young man holding a tire. I asked to speak to my sales representative and was told he was gone and they were closing in five minutes. Did I want to come back on Monday?


Annoyed, I swore off these fly by night small dealerships. Only big name dealerships from now on.

On my way home I decided to stop by a brand name dealership just to see their inventory.

As I looked at the cars, I quickly spotted a gorgeous blue-grey coloured hatchback. I didn’t stop to check out the price. It was hot and I wanted to cool off in the air conditioned showroom.

I found a sales representative and as we walked into the lot I told him my requirements. To my surprise, he took me over to that blue/grey beauty!

Different dealership, better luck?

We popped the hood. Everything looked great. We put the back seat down; I noticed there was no cargo tray. Mental note – ask for a cargo tray.

The sales rep and I took it for a spin. We chatted about his career, his family and his love of soccer. The car felt great; so much so that I wanted to stop by the house to show Gary.

With the manager’s permission, we drove the short distance to our house so Gary could see it. After a perusal, we all drove back to the dealership. Gary waited patiently as I chatted with the finance manager.

I had learned my lesson. I wanted this car, but I also wanted to know their bottom line. My requests included a better price, a cargo tray and winter tires included. I got the price down from $7,995 to $6,499. I was proud of myself.

The sales rep told me he would be back in on Monday at 2:00 pm; we agreed I would call at 4:30 pm to figure out when to I could take the car to my mechanic.

Monday morning I arranged a Tuesday morning trip to the mechanic and emailed my sales rep.

Everything was set.

Until the voice mail on Monday at 2:30 pm. The words “the car is sold” crushed me.

I was livid. How could they do this to me? I was deeply disappointed and quickly felt my reptilian brain hijacking my rational brain. I think I was even more upset because both the sales representative and finance manager didn’t seem to understand or care about my upsettedness.

Simply put, first come, first served. If I was interested, I should have made a deposit.

I informed them that I had not been told about this. This didn’t matter to them. They sold the car for $7,500, and I doubt they had any intention of selling it to me for a lower price.

That evening Gary pledged to find me a car, created a list and spent the evening researching.

I did what I normally do- I crafted a message and shared it on Facebook.

I needed help. 

Lessons learned this week:

1) If you see even a potentially good car, put a deposit down and start the process

2) Not everyone is going to care

3) Everything really does happen for a reason

4) The power of teamwork

5) Keep going!!





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