I had been holding off on this post for several days for many reasons, but the first and foremost because when I’m angry, I’m not at my best … and this whole ordeal has made me VERY angry. One of the cardinal rules of blogging is not to blog when angry, so I tried at least. Secondly, because this played out over the course of several days and I had wanted to try to post everything at once, not have to come back every day and post updates. But oh well, I do what I can, so here goes:
Jim’s been looking at cars for a while. I had been carpooling over to UAB with several friends who lived near us and worked a few buildings down from me. Jim had finally decided on getting a Hyundai. We’ve been very happy with my Santa Fe, and honestly when looking at his choices to shop for, I didn’t see anything that I liked better.
We had planned on using Jim’s old Stratus as a trade-in. The engine went out some time ago, but was still worth a good bit regardless (to my surprise). The car was in his ex’s name, but in the terms of their divorce, the car became Jim’s and he had been making the payments, and was to be switched to his name once it was paid off. He only had a couple payments left. His ex had been pushing for over a week to go ahead and pay it off before we went car shopping. (Odd, I thought.)
Day 1: Friday, May 18th
Jim came by to pick me up from work around 1pm. We got to Serra Chevrolet around 1:40 and walked around their Hyundai lot for about 5-10 minutes before being spotted and greeted by “Frank”, one of the sales guys — apparently he had come up there on his day off, and appeared “thuggish” (for lack of a better word, honestly!).
Jim told him what he was looking for and Frank showed us around a few cars. Jim had been eying the Tiburon for several days and seemed to really have his heart set on it, so we took one for a test drive. It purred beautifully and drove very well. The fact that it was brand new concerned me a bit, but I knew that if I co-signed, Jim shouldnâ€™t have a problem getting it. We talked things over and Jim told Frank that we liked the Tiburon and wanted to buy it. Frank invited us into the Hyundai office to start on the paperwork. The three of us spoke for a bit and Frank took down all of our personal information. We expressed to Frank what price range we had been looking for (in monthly payments), and explained about Jim’s car, that it doesn’t run, only has a couple payments left, etc. Frank says it’s fine and Serra will buy it from him and pay it off. After that, we sat and waited. Frank walked in and out of the office several times, went in to see his manager several times, we filled out more paperwork, and didnâ€™t see Frank again for about 2 hours.
During that time, we did what we could to amuse ourselves to help pass the time by walking around the lot several times, coming in around 3 to try to call Jimâ€™s ex. We had never been able to reach her that day and left several messages. Jim was going to need the financing company’s name so he could get the title to Serra and get the final payoff amount verified. After 4 oâ€™clock, Jim gave up leaving messages because she wasnâ€™t picking up the phone, nor could he or I remember if she could even access them if she was out of minutes on her cell phone. At this point Iâ€™m getting antsy and Frank appears and asks us to follow him to the main Serra office. We sat on the couch and waited 2 more hours â€“ during this time, Jim tries to reach his ex several more times, she never answered and he didnâ€™t leave any messages. (He and I had already left 4!)
Between this point and 7, Frank tells us a couple times â€œIt wonâ€™t be longâ€ or â€œYouâ€™re almost doneâ€ â€¦ but he never could tell us any specifics. 7 oâ€™clock rolls around and itâ€™s getting dark. By this point, Iâ€™m starting to get a headache and Iâ€™m mad as all hell because no one has told us anything about our application, or even what stage it is in. At 8:30 Jim and I are getting ready to hand the Tiburon keys back to someone and just leave, when we are ushered into a tiny office with the financial manager, â€œMarkâ€. It turns out that the delay had been in dealing with the banks/lenders â€¦ a â€œblack markâ€ was found on Jimâ€™s credit report and Mark had been trying to find a way to get around it.
Now, I knew that Jim had cosigned on his exâ€™s truck â€¦ that was years ago. Supposedly she had been keeping up the payments and been paying everything on time. I had begun to suspect otherwise when it was repossessed a few months ago. She claimed not to know why and said that she figured that it was because she was a few weeks late. (Yeah, right.) Itâ€™s since been paid off, but what we found out Friday was that she had been late on so many payments so many times that it was repoâ€™d after â€œseveral advanced warningsâ€ (directly quoted from the lenderâ€™s note). In fact, Jimâ€™s credit was quite good except for that. Mark told us that several lenders did not want to deal with us because of that, but he was able to convince two otherwise because Jim had paid off previous (school-related) debts through some sort of school loan consolidation. Mark said that was a good thing and it was enough (plus my co-signing) to get the loan approved.
What Mark DIDNâ€™T know was the monthly payment range we had been looking for. The lender he recommended had the monthly payments set to twice what we were willing to pay. He also knew nothing about the Stratus being used as a trade-in, or that Frank had said Serra would pay it off for us. So after seeing that, I stated that it was unacceptable and asked if Frank had relayed the information we had given him earlier. To no surprise, he hadnâ€™t. So more figuring and negotiation had to be done. By this point, both Jim and I had expressed our unhappiness with the lack of communication by the sales staff and that we had basically been there all day with nothing to show for it. They were getting ready to close up for the night!
After a bit more negotiation, we finally agreed on a price. I wasnâ€™t thrilled with it, but Jim loves the car and to me he is worth it. Serra would still pay off the Stratus and we could get back to them with the final payoff amount and they were fine with that. Jim had already given his ex half of this month’s payment, and was told by Mark not to pay anything, that Serra would handle it. Ok, fine by us. By this point itâ€™s nearly 9 oâ€™clock and I left Jim to go get Jessie. She and I went straight home, and Jim was left to finish up gathering paperwork and details â€“ or so I thought.
I got home and Jimâ€™s ex had left a very heated (UGLY!) message on our machine telling Jim that he was a â€œhorrible father to do that to his daughterâ€ and that he didnâ€™t deserve her, blathering on about how we didnâ€™t leave any messages after 4pm and she knew she hadnâ€™t been picking up the phone, but we could have left her a message to let her â€œknow whatâ€™s going onâ€â€¦
Hello!???! Try picking up the fucking phone once in a while!!! We only tried calling every half hour, you stupid cunt!
Aaaaaanyways, I get Jessie home and in bed and I waited up for Jim. I was already riled up from his ex being a total fuckhead, and Jim proceeds to tell me that he was going to have to come back Monday to get the three scratches I saw (one of them DEEP!) painted, get the car cleaned (they didnâ€™t want to do it Friday night), and get our copies of the paperwork. They had required several pieces of paperwork from me and I was to fax that in Monday morning, so it was strange to me, but didnâ€™t seem totally unreasonable. (I was tired and hungry, and clearly NOT thinking or I would have gone BACK to the dealership and stayed until everything was TAKEN CARE OF!)
Day 2: Monday, May 21st
Ok, so I had to fax in a copy of a letter of employment (no biggie, I had just started a new job, so I could understand this), a copy of my phone bill (WTF? Because I have an unlisted number???), and a copy of mail â€“ they asked that it be a bank statement. I was very uncomfortable faxing these in because it basically gives them access to our utilities and my bank account. Jim had brought up the question of identity theft/fraud, as did several other customers there, and the consensus is: we donâ€™t trust them and will NOT shop there again.
Monday afternoon Jim comes home, they have not cleaned the car because it couldnâ€™t be painted -â€“ apparently the painter only comes in on Wednesdays. WTF??? Why the hell couldnâ€™t Frank tell us this Friday night? Also, he told Jim that he couldnâ€™t give him the paperwork because they mail that to you. Again, WTF??? At Driverâ€™s Way, you got your paperwork right then and in a neat little binder and everything â€¦ what the fuck is this muddled up bullshit?
Day 3: Tuesday, May 22nd
Jim finally gets a hold of his ex … she bitches and moans about Friday night and how WE inconvenienced HER. He had spoken to the financing company for the Stratus and finds out that this month’s payment is already late and they are wanting it right THEN, or they are repo’ing the car. He also finds out that several payments have been late and there are several large late fees that are due. She claims not to know anything about it. (What a fucking surprise.) He then tells her that Serra agreed to take over the Stratus payments and that he would need the half month’s payment that he gave her a week or so back. She told him that she didn’t have it anymore and that she wouldn’t be able to get it back to him for another week or so.
What I’d like to know is: Where the hell is that money? And what about those late payments? Jim always gave her the payments far enough in advance so she could send them in and them be ON TIME. So what the fuck has she been doing with his money!???!
I know one thing, I’ll be glad when this is over and she can’t milk him for any more fucking money. Because as far as I’m concerned she needs to get off her ass and support HERSELF for a change!
So Jim calls Serra to give them an update on the Stratus and the payoff amount. The financial company was wanting him to Western Union the money in. Frank told him that if he wanted to, he could put down a “down payment” to put off the financing company and Serra would pick up the car within a day or so.
WTF? :shock: I think this guy’s seriously a scammer because even though Mark wasn’t there, Jim spoke to someone else and they said that since Serra had already agreed to pay it off and it was in writing, so he didn’t need to pay anything. Who’s to say Frank didn’t want to line his own pockets?
Day 4: Today
Jim was supposed to take the car in today to be painted, but considering he’s been at the dealership for the last 3 days straight, he had to stay in for work. He’ll go next week once the shit with the Stratus has already been handled. I think they are supposed to get it today or tomorrow.
Needless to say, I’ve been very unhappy with the whole ordeal and though I suppose it could have come out worse, I don’t appreciate their sales people treating us that way — basically ignoring us once they had what they wanted. Both of us have called over the past few days and getting someone to call us back is like getting teeth pulled.
So now here we are â€“- still no paperwork, still no paint job, the car still hasnâ€™t been cleaned, and I SERIOUSLY regret buying from Serra. Unfortunately they are the only authorized Hyundai dealer in the metro area — or within 3 hours of here for that matter — so if we ever need work done on our cars, we will have to take them there. Just fucking great … let’s hope their servicemen have more brains and tact than the salesmen. (they’d better, or they’ll be hearing from ME!)
You know, had I had my choice, I would have gladly bought from Driverâ€™s Way again â€¦ but unfortunately they had no new Tiburons and wouldnâ€™t have any for a while. :(
I will never EVER do business with Serra Chevrolet/Hyundai/Whatever again. Next time I’ll go back to Driver’s Way, thank you.