July 28, 2017

A typical bait-and-switch employed by a car dealership

Not long ago, I totaled my black 2011 Kia Sorento EX in an accident and was looking for a similar one to replace it. Deciding not to buy a new car, I started looking online and found a black 2015 Kia Sorento LX on the Edmunds website at Bob Rohrman Schaumburg Kia in Schaumburg, Ill., called and talked to a pleasant woman about the SUV, received an email from her that promised me an extra savings of $400 on the car that was already marked down from the price on Edmunds, made an appointment for a test drive, received a text from her that the appointment had been scheduled for Saturday, July 15, at 1 p.m., told her I would be there and drove the 160 or so miles to Schaumburg.
         On the drive north from my home in Urbana, I received a call from a salesman at 11:24 a.m. to see if I would be there at one. I told him I was on the road and would be there a little after one. He said, “Fine. We’ll have the car ready for you.”

         When I arrived, I was met by a young man who immediately started looking for the SUV to show me. I told him that I’d been told it would be ready. A few minutes later, he came back and told me that the car had been sold.
         I was stunned after driving more than 160 miles, paying tolls and having been told the car would be ready and available. Another man behind the desk who was sitting beside a man I think was the general manager, Alik Freeman, engaged in a whispering conference with him and then told me they opened at 9 a.m. and the car had been sold shortly afterward.
         When I told him I’d been called at 11:24 and told the car would be ready when I arrived, he apologized, said it took awhile to close the sale and wanted to know if I would be interested in anything else.
         I was quite angry, bit my tongue and said little, but told the man that his apology meant nothing, nor would I even consider buying a car there. Nothing else I could do but write about it on this blog, contact the Kia corporate office, the Illinois attorney general and the Better Business Bureau, post it on Facebook and spread the word.
         Bait-and-switch happens all the time, I’ve heard. I understand they weren’t holding the car for me, but I would have appreciated a call telling me that the car had been sold rather than a call to see if I was keeping the appointment and that it would be ready for me when I arrived. That didn’t happen and when I looked online days later, the car was still on the Bob Rohrman Schaumburg Kia website.
         Another one of life’s lessons learned about trusting what people say.

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