Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Part 2 - The Switch

(scroll down or click here for "Part 1 - The Bait")

So, I'm sitting there at the salesperson's desk, waiting for her to wrap up her "meeting" with the sales manager. After a few minutes they come over to where I'm sitting. The sales manager sits down across from me and proceeds to tell me "there's been some kind of mistake".

But, of course.

There had to have been.

Things were proceeding much too smoothly, after all.

He then tells me the price on the truck I'm looking at is actually $24,XXX, not the $22,277 from the e-mail I had printed out from their Internet Sales Manager, who told me to be sure to print out the e-mail so I could get that special low internet pricing, and not the $22,277 from the the [website name] website page, a copy of which I had also printed for his light reading enjoyment.

Next, he asks to see the e-mail I was referring to, you know, the e-mail with one of their famous "lowest internet prices in the area" in it. He peruses the e-mail, looking down to find the price I was talking about. He points to the "Price: $22,277", and asks me...

Did it come like that, or did you just "fill that in"?*

Yeah, that's it.

You got me, buddy.

Of the three people in close physical proximity to this desk, I'm the one committing fraud right now.

Fortunately (I think), the part of me that wanted to reach across the desk and punch this accusatory little prick in the nose was over-powered by the part of me that said, "Let's just wait to see what this asshole says next."

He then proceeds with some sob story about how he'd lose money if he sold me that truck for that price, and that there was no way he could accept my offer, as if I had pulled some fictitious lowball number out of my ass, plopped it on the table, and ten peed on his dog.

Of course, the fact that I had the original e-mail on my BlackBerry, and was able to shove it in his face certainly helped my case. And, had the added bonus of causing him to shut up, even if it was only a temporary blessing.

Well, he takes my paperwork over to his desk and opens up the dealership's website on his PC, which shows the higher price of the truck. He calls the guy who e-mailed me what he claimed to be a coupon needed for getting the special internet pricing. They then proceed to have one of the shortest conversation in post-Paleozoic history.

Sales manager guy then turns to me and says he'll sell me the truck for $24,000. I explain to him that I don't want to buy the truck for $24,000, but I do want to buy the truck for the price that the individual who had identified himself as a sales manager had sent me earlier, along with the message stating that "THE PRICING YOU RECEIVE IS VALID ONLY THROUGH OUR SALES MANAGERS."

He then went on about how his internet sales manager must have mistakenly entered the price of the truck in the listing I had seen, and had mistakenly responded to my e-mail with the same incorrect price.

I told him to go fuck himself.

Well, I wanted to tell him to go fuck himself, but again, I took the high road and suggested they get their shit together, because I just burned ten dollars in gas to drive down to buy a truck for the price I was given by one of his sales managers, only to be told that truck would cost me an extra two-grand.

This dickwad just stared at me as if I had sprouted a third head, and then a fourth, unable to comprehend why I was more than a tad irked over the whole situation.

Now, if he had just apologized and given me ten bucks out of his pocket to cover my expenses (or even a fiver), I might have just picked up my shit and walked out the front door, forgetting the whole thing. But, seeing as he didn't make even that simple gesture (after suggesting earlier that I forged the other guy's e-mail), I simply picked up my shit and walked. And, now I'm sitting here debating what my next course of action will be (and that short list of options list includes revising these posts, putting all the names and phone numbers of the parties involved back in where, previously, I had redacted that information).

No, that wouldn't solve anything, but it sure would make me feel better.

The thing is, this could have simply been an honest mistake. But, it wasn't my mistake. And, from where I'm standing, this appears to be nothing more than an old-fashioned 'bait n' switch' scam. Who's to say they didn't post a lower price on-line to lure a dozen or so potential buyers into the showroom, hoping they could get at least one of them to bite of the $2,000 worm?

I've been unsuccessful in reaching their internet sales manager by phone and by e-mail. I figure I'll start with him, and see what he has to say in his defense. If I can reach him, I'll ask him to tell his dickwad buddy there if my writing a letter to Massachusetts Attorney General's office, filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and telling my story to any and all persons interested in hearing it was worth the $2,000 he saved by not selling me the truck for the price given me by one of his sales managers.

Bad news travels fast.

But, blog posts about fraudulent sleazeball businesses pulling shit like this on would-be customers usually blows the doors off of bad news like it was standing still.

* Yes, that question, and the tone of voice in which it was asked, is pretty much the only reason I'm still debating what to do. I'd have been more than happy to chalk this whole episode up to their incompetence, but when he all but flat-out accused me of doctoring an e-mail in order to swindle them out of $2,000 dollars, that did it. And, it's the main thing making me lean toward printing all their names and numbers on this website right now.