Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Beware of the AutoNation Scam Vehicle Protection Plan

On 08/24/2016, I was contacted by Autonation Nissan Lewisville (1601 S Stemmons Frwy, Lewisville, TX 75067), in reference to my wife and I having been looking for a specific vehicle, previously online.

I spoke with Justin Sizemore, who claimed to be the “Retention Manager” at that location. Justin stated that he had a vehicle that met our specifications that had just been traded in (2012 Nissan Murano).  We agreed to make the hour long drive from Haslet Texas to Lewisville on 08/27/2016 (Saturday), in order to view and test drive the vehicle.

Once there, and after test driving, we made the agreement to purchase it, with the request to have new tires put on the vehicle, since the tires that were already on it appeared to be the originals, based on the manufacturers date on the tires.

Justin agreed to the tires, and said the vehicle would be fully detailed, specifically some scuff marks that I had found, which he said would be removed.  We asked when the vehicle would be ready, which he responded that he didn’t believe it would be ready on that particular day (Saturday), but for sure on the following Monday, 08/29/2016.

My wife and I advised Justin that we could drive back up on that Monday, but it wouldn’t be until the evening (around 7pm).  He stated that would be fine, and provided us with a loaner vehicle.  Up to this time, the car buying experience was pleasant.  The Sales Manager (can’t recall his name, however he looked like “The Rock”), was very friendly and acted as if we had been friends all our lives.

Monday evening, my impression of the sales staff had totally changed.  My wife and I made the hour-long drive back to Lewisville to pick up the vehicle.  After finally locating Justin smoking an e-cigarette outside, I walked up, and he turned around with a surprised look on his face.  I told him I was there to pick up my car.  He stated “You finally made it, huh?”  With this reaction, it seemed to me that the vehicle was ready, and we would be out of there quickly.

Justin then told me that he believes they just finished their Multi Point inspection, but didn’t believe it was ready to go yet.  As he went back to check on it, my wife and I went to the service department to wait for him.  After several minutes, he returned and said “Good news……the inspection was complete and everything checked out, however the tires that were to be on the vehicle, were on back order and wouldn’t be in until tomorrow.”

To me, with these tires on back order, this is something he would have known and I could have been contacted before making the journey.  I asked him why he didn’t call me, which he stated “You could have called me.”

I reminded him that he told us it would be ready by Monday evening, and it was already known that I was going to be up here, therefore if there was a delay of some sort, I should have been advised, so not to make the trip.  He then said “Well, let’s just chalk it up to bad communication.”

I explained to him that I had driven an hour, in heavy traffic (there is no other type of traffic in the DFW area), and now it looks as if I’ll have to do it again.  He then agreed to bring the car to me and meet me half way, on the following evening.  This I agreed to, and we agreed to meet in Trophy Club, Texas in a restaurant parking lot.  He said he would call or text me the next day on when we could meet.

The following day, 08/30/2016, Justin contacted me around 5:30 or 6pm, and said he was with a customer, but shouldn’t take long because it was a “Cash Deal.”  I said, “Ok” and continued to wait for his call.  Once he finally called around 7:45pm, and said he was enroute, the sun had begun to go down, and I began to drive that way.

Once I arrived where we agreed to meet in Trophy Club, I parked under a light, since it was now totally dark.  I still waited for another 15 or 20 minutes or so before he arrived, around 9pm.  Once he arrived, I saw him enter in the parking lot, and instead of parking at any of the vacant spaces (there were plenty) around me, under the light, he backed it into a parking space that was totally dark.

He got out and I had to use the flashlight on my phone in order to make sure the tires were replaced, but couldn’t see any of the scuffs that he said would be taken out, because it was so dark (once it was daylight, it was easy to tell that the detail job that was supposedly performed was poor and that the scuff marks weren’t taken out as I was told they would be.

He then said, “Oh man, I was almost here, looked down and saw that no gas was ever put in the car.”  He said “Normally they will top off the tank, but since they didn’t, I will give you 2 free tanks of gas.”  I asked, “Where do I have to go to get the gas?”  He said “Any time you’re around the dealership, just stop in and I’ll fill it up for you.”  I, again, explained to him that I live an hour away and I never go to Lewisville.

He then asked, as if it was the first time I told him this, and said “Oh, you never go there?”  He then said, “I’ll talk to my Manager and see if he’ll do a gas card or something, and he would send it to me.”  I agreed to that.  Justin then handed me a single key (vehicle is a keyless, with push button start).

I asked him where the other key is.  He said “Oh, there is only one.  The previous owners said they lost the other one.”  I asked why I wasn’t told this before?  After all, I did pay Autonation’s asking price for the car and didn’t haggle with them.  I then asked if it would be possible that, instead of getting a gas card, could I get another key fob, since if this one was lost, there is no hope in starting this car.

He said he would check.  I asked when he would know for sure, and he said he would contact me the following day and let me know what his manager said.  We then went our separate ways.  When I started up the vehicle, I noticed that it not only was low on fuel, there was no fuel (just enough to get to a gas station).

On 08/31/2016, I received a text message from Justin, saying that his Manager agreed to provide me with another key.  I said that was great, and asked if I could get it a closer location, since there are Autonation stores near my house.

He said “No, it has to be done in Lewisville.”  I clarified with him that “I now had to drive another hour back to his location, just to get this?  There wasn’t any way I could get it at another location.”  He said, that I had to come there.  This being my only option, I agreed to go up there on Saturday, 09/03/2016 to get the new key.

He told me to call him before coming up and he would make sure they were ready for me so I wouldn’t have to wait.  I called him around 12:45pm on that day, and said I was on the way, and he told me who to ask for (Ivan Perez).  I asked him how long it was going to take, which he responded “About 15 minutes or so……should be in and out.”

I arrived and checked in with Ivan at 1:59pm.  He began to write information down and proceeded to put a number tag on my rearview mirror, indicating to me that they were keeping it for a while.  I then asked Ivan, “How long is this going to take?”

He told me about 2 – 3 hours.  This took me back, and was a lot different than the 15 minutes originally told it was going to take.  He asked if I wanted a complimentary wash, and I said “No.”  I wanted to speed up the process, plus they didn’t do a very good job of detailing it previously (this wasn’t told to him.  This is what I was thinking).  After waiting for nearly 3 hours, my car was ready at 3:47pm.

Figuring I wouldn’t need to go back to the dealership, assuming everything else was operational, due to it having been run through the inspection and a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle, a 1000 mile road trip was planned for my wedding anniversary.

Prior to leaving, on 10/10/2016, I was leaving my house to run an errand in the vehicle, however, it wouldn’t start atAll.  It wouldn’t even attempt to turn over. The only thing that I could think was wrong was the battery, however it had just been inspected and should be fully operational.  After jumping the battery with my other vehicle, that is what appeared to be the problem.

I then took the car to AutoZone and had them check the battery for me.  They ran their diagnostic on it and found out it was a bad battery and needed to be replaced.  I then was out another $187.59 (core charge removed) just to replace a battery that I was at the understanding was operations, since it was just inspected a month previous.

Fortunately, this occurred prior to me leaving, or I would have been stranded in West Texas with a new car that wouldn’t start.

After I had switched the battery, I called customer service back up to Autonation Lewisville and asked to speak to Justin.  I was told that he had quit, and no longer worked there.  I then asked for the Sales Manager (the one who looked like “The Rock.”  They told me that he had quit as well.  I was then forwarded to the new Sales Manager, Thomas Quintana.

Thomas seemed very helpful, and genuine on the phone.  I explained to him what the situation was, and that the vehicle was just recently purchased, and I had already had to replace the battery.  He told me to send a copy of the receipt for the battery to him, via email at quintanat@autonation.com.

I sent this receipt to him that day, at 12:45pm.  I left for vacation on 10/12/2016, and once I returned I called him back and asked if he got my email, because I hadn’t gotten any response from him.  He told me he had and that he was taking care of it.  I received one email from him on 10/22/2016 stating “I do not think you have received this check yet, I am very sorry and will make sure if it has not gone out, it will go out on Monday.”

After no check had arrived, I emailed him again on 10/28/2016, as well as called him.  He told me that there was an issue with the check, had to get other people involved and should be corrected now, and to let him know if I didn’t get it on this day (10/28/2016).  On 10/29/2016, after letting 2 mail deliveries go by, I still had not received the check.  I again emailed him on 11/02/2016 asking of the status, with no email response.

I’ve called 2 additional times, one time on 11/02/2016 saying he was again taking care of it, and another on or about 11/09/2016.  When I made the last call on 11/09/2016, I was only able to speak with the person answering the phones, who told me that Thomas was busy, and would call me back soon as he was done with his customer.  He even put me on hold and when he returned he indicated that Thomas knew what the call was about, and he would follow up and call me back after his customer left.

Now it is 11/15/2016, and I still haven’t received this check I’ve been told I was going to get.  My complaint, after a long-winded email / letter is that my only satisfaction with this particular Autonation Store (I say this because I’ve purchased a vehicle from Autonation North Richland Hills before, and had absolutely no issues), was the day that I purchased the vehicle.  Since then, I felt I have been lied to, and been given the run around by the staff, from the original Sales Manager, to Justin Sizemore and now to Thomas Quintana.

I have had to make several unnecessary trips to Lewisville because of errors on the side of the dealership, my car wasn’t delivered as originally agreed upon, detailing on the vehicle and inspection was poor, causing me to out my own money for a new battery that should have been fully operational for longer than a month after coming off a Certified Pre-Owned Lot.

Perhaps the salesman just form a persona in order to sell a car, which I get….it takes a special person to do that.  However, Justin made several errors, and didn’t seem to know a great deal about what he was selling, and it’s history (this is a Nissan store with Nissan cars that he sells daily).

“The Rock” kept walking around the building on the day I purchased the car, and at one point pounded on the Finance office window while we were in there, yelling “These are my people……my people.”  On that day, I took that as they were going to take care of us and make us happy customers.  Perhaps he did this to give the illusion of having built a kinship with me due to my military service?

As far as Thomas goes, my main issue is that if you are not going to refund the money or not agree to do anything, just tell me from the beginning that you aren’t.  I may not like it, but I’ll eventually accept it and move on with my life.  I don’t appreciate being left hanging over a months period, consistently getting the runaround.

In short, I don’t really know what good this email / letter will do, but I wanted the powers that be to know, in detail, how dissatisfied I have been with this Autonation Store and I will never return to it again, or refer it to a friend.

I have purchased a lot of cars over the years, and become loyal to certain dealerships, and am willing to drive the distance for good service.  In this case, I didn’t receive good service and feel this is something needs to be worked on.