wine by the color

Monday, October 06, 2008

Today's mail delivery included a letter from my friends at the local Toyota dealership. Ooh, I thought, this has potential...

Dear Jersey Girl:

Greetings from all of us at our dealership! In a few days you will have driven your Toyota vehicle for five full years.

Are you getting ready to trade in your vehicle? If so, please get in touch with me. We currently have great incentives and products, and I would be happy to help you take a look at your options for your next vehicle.

Blah, blah, blah.

Toyota Man
General Manager

Well, HELLO Mr. Toyota Man. I'm surprised to hear from you. Given our history, I would have thought your dealership would have a red flag next to my name, with "Never Contact Again" written all over it.

Might I present perhaps my finest letter ever, the gold standard in my Angry Letters and Rants folder...

October 22, 2003

Local Toyota Dealership
Local Highway
Local Town

Dear Mr. President:

I received your letter of Sept. 30 and was sorry to learn you were disturbed to hear the news that I did not purchase a car after visiting you. Imagine my surprise, having purchased a Highlander less than 24 hours after my initial visit.

But since we’re addressing disturbing events at your dealership, I thought perhaps I would share my experience.

On Sept. 29, I visited your dealership with my brother and we met with Saleswoman Nancy. We test drove a 2003 Highlander, and then came back to discuss cost and the value of my vehicle, which I intended to trade in. After her initial offer, I told her I wanted to think about it. She then brought over Sales Manager Pete, who offered me what I felt was a fair price for my trade-in, and a financing rate of 3.99% over 60 months. I told Nancy and Pete I wanted to sleep on that offer, and that I would call Nancy the next day.

Early Tuesday afternoon, I called Nancy and we discussed the offer, confirming that the trade-in value would be $8500, and the financing rate would be 3.99%. I then agreed to the purchase, and she called me later that day to advise me that my car had arrived and I could pick it up that evening.

I arrived at your dealership at 7:20 p.m. on Sept. 30. After a quick ride in my new vehicle, I spent the next 75 minutes sitting in a chair at Nancy’s desk, waiting while she sat in the glass-windowed office. At the time, I didn’t know what the delay was, although I figured she was processing paperwork for my new vehicle. She later told me that she had just been offered a Sales Manager position. While I’m happy for her, I question why that discussion was being held while two people (a gentleman, another customer of Nancy’s, was delayed even longer at the desk next to me) were made to wait so long to spend in excess of $20,000 each on new vehicles.

Finally, I met with Frank in the financing department. We reviewed the necessary documentation, and when we got to the financing paperwork, I noticed that my financing rate was 4.99%. I pointed out the discrepancy to Frank, who told me that the 3.99% was not available, and that Pete should not have offered that rate as it was not available. He also assured me that “the one point wouldn’t really make that much of a difference anyway.”

Because it was now 9:05 p.m. and I had been there almost two hours, all I wanted to do was take my car and leave. Thus, I signed the paperwork and departed at 9:25 p.m.

As far as I’m concerned, there are two options regarding the financing rate discrepancy. Either Pete is poorly informed, or he lied to make the sale. I don’t think either reflects well on your dealership. We had indicated to Nancy that my brother was in the market for a new vehicle. I can assure you that purchase will not be made at your dealership. It’s unfortunate that you have lost my family’s business over what can’t amount to more than a few hundred dollars.

My troubles did not end there. After Nancy removed my license plates from my trade-in, I asked her if I would be able to keep the same plates, as it was the same class of vehicle. She indicated that would not be a problem. Frank later informed me that I could not keep my plates. Again, did someone lie, or were they poorly informed? If it’s the latter, why do people respond to questions when they don’t know the correct answer?

As a final insult, my temporary tags expired on Oct. 20. On that date, I called the dealership to inquire about the status of my license plates. When I asked Nancy that question, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I should have called you. They just came in Saturday.” She also mentioned that I really had 30 days to put plates on the vehicle, and “not to worry about the expiration date.”

So I came to the dealership on Tuesday, Oct. 21 to pick them up. When I signed my name on the clipboard to indicate I had received them, I noticed the date next to my name was 10/8/03. When I asked the woman at the desk what that meant, she said that was the date my plates had arrived. She asked if I had received a phone call regarding the arrival of the plates from my sales rep, as is the protocol, and I indicated I had not.

Based on your dealership’s reputation and my experience buying a vehicle from you in the past, I came to your dealership because I believed it to be a business where integrity and honesty play an important role in how the staff provides service to its customers. I can assure you that my recent experience has destroyed that image entirely.

Mr. President, I appreciate you taking the time to read my letter and would be available if you had any questions regarding my concerns. I should also mention that despite the troubles I’ve encountered, I very much enjoy my new vehicle and am quite happy to be behind the wheel of the Highlander.


Jersey Girl

I'm really surprised you've all forgotten about me. I mean, let's not forget our later tussle about the pre-paid service contract, which someone in the sales department eventually admitted did not cover the service scheduled dictated as optimal by Toyota. That was a good phone call. Surely someone there remembers that one?

Yes, your vice president called within minutes of receiving my letter and eventually wrote me a check for almost $1,900. But I have not stepped back foot in your dealership, preferring to drive 72 miles one way to have my car serviced (the fact that it is around the corner from my parents' house might also play a part in that). They were surprised the first time I came in. Don't worry - I indeed told them it was because the dealership where I made the purchase was full of incompetent asses. They didn't seem surprised.

And I guess your latest letter shouldn't come as one either...


  • At 10/06/2008 11:24 PM, Blogger SJPSandman said…

    Sometimes I think you sit around hoping you get wronged just so you have occasion to fire off one of these letters.

  • At 10/07/2008 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you really sign your letters "Jersey Girl"? If not you should sign it "Your name" AKA "Jersey Girl".


  • At 10/07/2008 4:15 PM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    Sim, this was actually the letter that got me started. While I do not welcome such episodes, I do what to do when the do occur.

    And BB, I do not really sign my letters thusly. I am all about the aliases here. As if all eight of my readers doesn't know every damn thing about me...

  • At 10/07/2008 10:55 PM, Blogger ClarkKent said…

    Eight? Does that count the Toyota guy?

  • At 10/08/2008 12:01 AM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    I don't think he's a reader.

    My friend from Continental, yes.


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