Speak out and Speak up
As a rather determined, independant and sometimes impetuous woman, I have purchased many cars over my 70 years without benefit of my husband so when my husband passed away 2 years ago and my income became nearly non-existent I saw the end coming to my vintage "97 Volvo, one of the few used cars I have ever owned. I was left a small inheritance when my mother passed away last June which gave me the opportunity to purchase what I thought would be a replacement that would serve me until my financial situation improved. I went to one of those tent sales nearby and a very charasmatic and rather forward young saleman approched me saying,"hello sweetheart, how can I help you"? First of all I wasn't his sweetheart so I asked him if I knew him and when he said no I told him that the only person with whom I was comfortable with that term of endearment was my deceased husband. He aplogized and we began to scour the lot of used cars to see if there was one that fit into my tiny budget. I was quite specific about my requirements; low milage, good mpgs, 2004 economy car. There wasn't one that fit my budget so in parting the salesman said that he woud look for just the right car and call me.
After several calls back and forth on a Sunday Morning he called and asked me to come right over to the dealership because he had just the right car for me. Oh yea! So off I went. When I arrived he showed me a "97 Buick La Sabre with only 72,000 miles that had only one owner. The car was in excellent condition however it wasn't an "04 and it wasn't an economy car. I should have kept looking but the air was going out in my Volvo and other rather expensive repairs loomed on the horizon so I plopped down my $4,500 in cash plus my volvo making the purchase a grand total of $ 5,000. Of course I test drove the Buick and all seemed well to me, it ran smoothly, looked great. Now comes the second red flag.(the first being the saleman and the fact that it wasn't what i had specically asked for), I counted out the cash twice with the salesman and left it with him while I went to the lady's room. When I returned he reported that I was $100 short. I was puzzeled because we had counted it out together and he was the only one near the $. I arranged to make up the missing $ and went on my way in a state of confussion.
After driving the car that day I realized that the gas gauge was not functioning so after much ado the company agreed to repair or install a new one. Then the next week as I drove from my city in the Temecula Valley of Ca. to San Diego, my first long drive, the car felt as though it was going to stall giving me a scare. I reported the issue by phone, email and text over several weeks which turned into months. I was afraid to drive my new old buggy more than around my area til what ever the issue was , was remedied, finally I took the car to 2 outside mechanics and the consensus of opinion was that the tranmission was on it's way out. Ouch! The money well was dry so I reported the news to the auto company and was told that for a price they would install a rebuilt transmission. That wasn't going to happen so I continued with great frustration and sadness to limit my driving until about 2 months ago I had had it !!!!
I had never used any form of social media to write a negative review before but I had seen many on face book and Yelp so... I posted the entire story and within hours my daughter and all her friends had posted their reaction to the way the auto sales company had treated a widowed grandmother. The very next day one of the owners called explaining that he was newly appointed and that he had no knowledge of my issues. He said that the salesman in question had been fired for some similar issues. He promised to find me a replacement car that would fit my needs with no extra cost. I assured him that the negative review I had posted could just as easily be changed to a positive one in a heartbeat.
I am now the proud owner of a 2005 Hyundai Accent that has everything I had orignially wanted. I have learned some very important lessons from this experience.; as a senior woman always take a man along who knows about cars and how to deal with used car salesmen, never pay in cash , and test that car out for a week or so before making the final decision, But most importantly, speak out and speak up when you've been treated unfairly, using social media. It's not just for finding out what the kids are up to.-(:
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