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WTF: car dealership customer service standards

WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:26 pm
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Default WTF: car dealership customer service standards

I had an interesting experience buying my first car here. Nothing serious, but it made me scratch my head.

Yes, I know the car dealerships are supposed to be sleazy.
Yes, I know the sales people are under pressure. Still...

I started looking for a car together with a place to live, and found a nice 2015 model - they were getting rid of these in November, so they had a rebate of about $2,800. The sales guy was a bit pushy and asked for a deposit - which was fine with me as the price was good and I liked the car.

Because of the holidays and all, it took me longer to finalise the lease of my apartment and get my SSN, so the rest of my checklist was ready only in early December. I came to the dealership only to be told that "we have a situation here". It turns out the manufacturer's rebate changed to $2,000 so they can't sell it by the original price. "But I already paid a deposit, which kinda locks the price, no?" (At least, that's how it'd be in Australia.) "Well, if we sell it by this price, we lose money, so no. If you insist, we can give you your deposit back." The price was still good, so I decided to go for it despite the price hike.

After a few weeks, I receive an online survey in the email. Were you satisfied with the sales rep? Yes, the guy was helpful and knowledgeable. Were you satisfied with the price? No, I didn't like the hike. (Who would?) Are you OK with making your name available? Sure, why not, if you can fix it, great.

A few days later, I get another email from the sales rep I was dealing with. "Why did you fail me in the survey, I thought you were happy with our service. I work hard and now my spin money from the manufacturer is gone." I said, sorry but I was just answering the survey, and I did mention you were helpful and knowledgeable. "OK, well, you shouldn't take it on the person or the dealership, I have no control over the rebates, that's not the way in your home country, too." (How do you even know how the things are done in a place you've never been to?)

Again, I might be expecting too much from the US. But:

1. Weren't they supposed to keep the price no matter what once I gave a deposit?
2. Is it normal for the involved party to contact the customer after a survey? I wasn't bothered or harassed, but, say, in Australia it would be a no no.
3. Why would the manufacturer withhold money from the sales rep because of a survey? Sounds like an excuse to stiff people. I am not getting the difference anyway.

Last edited by Galilite; Dec 30th 2015 at 6:30 pm.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

If they wanted the sale, they could have honored the original price and then some. Dealers often sell individual cars at a loss in order to make an overall profit.

BTW, they would probably tell you that the deposit was only to prevent them selling the car to someone else, not to lock the price. Whether that is actually legal would probably depend on any paperwork you had signed.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

That's what I thought.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

I would definitely report this to the manufacturer. You are owed an apology from both the manufacturer and the dealer. It's not your fault that the salespeople are under this kind of pressure. Sounds way out of line to me.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:39 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Well, the manufacturer is already aware, since the survey is theirs. Maybe they'll contact me, maybe they won't.

Apology is nice but the money would be nicer . On the other hand, I am not vindictive and don't want to get that guy in more trouble.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:44 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

When you (or anyone else looking for a car) have some time, this is a very instructive listen: 129 Cars | This American Life

The last part of the broadcast is particularly interesting as they pull out all the stops in order to shift a last couple of cars to meet the manufacturer quota for the month.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:49 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Happens in the UK too. The Vauxhall reps were always telling me that I had to fill in the survey that followed a car purchase of they didn't get a small kick back from Vauxhall and if the survey was negative they also didn't get it.
They were very blatant about telling me, then again, I got great discounts and service so they always got a good write up.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Originally Posted by AdobePinon View Post
When you (or anyone else looking for a car) have some time, this is a very instructive listen: 129 Cars | This American Life

The last part of the broadcast is particularly interesting as they pull out all the stops in order to shift a last couple of cars to meet the manufacturer quota for the month.
I remember hearing that. Very interesting it was. Obviously everyone is different, but I could never understand why anyone would go into sales as a way to make a living.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

When I bought my new Honda from the dealer in 2011, I also got sent a survey. I answered all questions honestly, giving some questions a lower satisfaction rating. The sales person called me to ask why some ratings were low, and I told him. He then got a bit upset and said those things were out of his control, and now that the survey wasn't scored higher, he won't get a bonus. I said sorry, I answered honestly, not because I want you to have a bonus. That call was wrong, so I went in person to the dealer and told his manager about it. He was glad I did, and said the sales person should never have called me to begin with, and then to mention the bonus was totally wrong.

Rene
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 7:25 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
When I bought my new Honda from the dealer in 2011, I also got sent a survey. I answered all questions honestly, giving some questions a lower satisfaction rating. The sales person called me to ask why some ratings were low, and I told him. He then got a bit upset and said those things were out of his control, and now that the survey wasn't scored higher, he won't get a bonus. I said sorry, I answered honestly, not because I want you to have a bonus. That call was wrong, so I went in person to the dealer and told his manager about it. He was glad I did, and said the sales person should never have called me to begin with, and then to mention the bonus was totally wrong.

Rene
Never forget that it's all a game. They aim to win by maximising their income. You win by convincing them the choice is between selling the car at a discounted price or not selling it at all, instead of the choice being between selling the car near full price or selling at a discounted price.

The sales manager is like the salesmen, except he's even better at playing the game. He got to be manager by being able to win the game even when playing against other salesmen. His mantra is "the customer is always right" (unless agreeing with her cuts his income), so if you are upset that the salesman called you, he will tell you that he shouldn't have done that, even though he probably did exactly the same thing himself when he was still a salesman.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
When I bought my new Honda from the dealer in 2011, I also got sent a survey. I answered all questions honestly, giving some questions a lower satisfaction rating. The sales person called me to ask why some ratings were low, and I told him. He then got a bit upset and said those things were out of his control, and now that the survey wasn't scored higher, he won't get a bonus. I said sorry, I answered honestly, not because I want you to have a bonus. That call was wrong, so I went in person to the dealer and told his manager about it. He was glad I did, and said the sales person should never have called me to begin with, and then to mention the bonus was totally wrong.

Rene
Sounds like the manufacturer is using the survey to screw the dealership.

Consumers are used to completing post sales surveys in order to offer frank advice 'how could we have done better?'.
Even under exceptional circumstances there is always room for improvement, and most people will offer something constructive believing that they are being helpful.
So the motive and implications are not clear to the consumer.

Also, surveys are completely subjective, and open to interpretation. What one person calls a nine, another night rate as seven. In the end it's the lowest guy on the totem that gets the screw.
He still shouldn't have called you, though.

I've had sales guys tell me straight up that if I liked their service, then please give then a ten... or else they just don't get paid. Sucks for them because their income is at the mercy of the consumer.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Being a tourist with a typewriter (E-3), I increasingly feel pity for the Americans. Seems like a 3rd world country in disguise. Waiting staff working for tips, sales people's salaries at the mercy of random remarks in surveys...

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Old Dec 30th 2015, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Just to let you know, my survey came from the dealership. ..it was one of those "how did we do" ones. I thought they did below average, so I gave them lower marks accordingly.

Rene
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Old Dec 31st 2015, 12:49 am
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

It turns out the manufacturer's rebate changed to $2,000 so they can't sell it by the original price. "But I already paid a deposit, which kinda locks the price, no?" (At least, that's how it'd be in Australia.) "Well, if we sell it by this price, we lose money, so no. If you insist, we can give you your deposit back." The price was still good, so I decided to go for it despite the price hike.
You should have walked here. You could have said how disappointed you were not to conclude the deal but fully understood their position.
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Old Dec 31st 2015, 12:51 am
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Default Re: WTF: car dealership customer service standards

Originally Posted by Galilite View Post
Being a tourist with a typewriter (E-3), I increasingly feel pity for the Americans. Seems like a 3rd world country in disguise. Waiting staff working for tips, sales people's salaries at the mercy of random remarks in surveys...
That's funny, I was talking to someone about a job which will not be tipped, well maybe some minor tipping. And would have a commensurate higher wage.

Not happy, wanted the fully tipped position.
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