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Strange car shopping experience


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Recently I was unexpectedly pushed into the market for a vehicle. My 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis finally got to the point that it needed so many repairs that it was simply not worth it to keep making them. No complaints, though. I was hoping to get six months out of the vehicle when I bought it, and I got nearly 2 1/2 years.

 

I went to CarMax's Las Vegas West Sahara location. I have bought a vehicle from CarMax before at this location, and I was there to sell my old car to them for whatever I could get, and to have a look at what they had on the lot. The sale went through just fine. When we sat down with a salesman is when it started to get weird. We told him that we were interested in late model Hyundai Sonatas and, if they didn't have any, to see what they had that was approximately equivalent. The salesman found none at this location, but looking in other CarMax locations they had a few. I knew from my previous research that theirs were overpriced by at least $2,000. I told the salesman this, and he seemed to lose any interest in helping us. He showed us some cars on the CarMax website, and he went to get a 2014 Chevy Malibu that he wanted to show us. We were finally going for a test drive - or so I thought. He showed us the features of the car as we sat in front of the showroom, then he drove us around the lot, pointing at the cars that he had shown us on the website (as we drove past them), then he let us out at the showroom. We went back to his desk and he sat there and said nothing. We never left the lot, and I never sat behind the wheel, let alone drive.

 

I know that CarMax's sales people are on fixed commission, but this one didn't seem to care whether he sold anything. 

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If I had to guess, he's just not that good. He heard you say the car you wanted was overpriced by 2k, and because of their no-haggle policy, he probably thought the whole thing would be a waste of his time. That being said, driving around the lot and just pointing out cars is a pretty horrible tactic if you want to build interest in a car. And not offering a test drive is pretty bad as well. Also, did he really not say ANYTHING when you got back inside? Anyhow, I think there are only two possibilities. He's either new and very bad at his job, or he wanted to get rid of you (because he didn't think you would buy today) without looking too terrible in front of his boss. If the latter is true, I'm sure he went to his boss afterward and told them you didn't really want to look at anything or test drive anything, but did want to haggle over price.

Edited by Don
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Yeah, I would post this to Carmax corporate, since they don't seem to have a customer service. 

 

Already done.

 

If I had to guess, he's just not that good. He heard you say the car you wanted was overpriced by 2k, and because of their no-haggle policy, he probably thought the whole thing would be a waste of his time. That being said, driving around the lot and just pointing out cars is a pretty horrible tactic if you want to build interest in a car. And not offering a test drive is pretty bad as well. Also, did he really not say ANYTHING when you got back inside? 

 

If he did, it was only a few words. He never asked us what we thought of the car, if we wanted to see anything else, anything. I would have been fine with him saying that their prices were not negotiable (which I already knew, but I figured that if enough people told them that they were overpriced they might go back to the way that they once did business). He made no effort to show us anything that might have been more to our liking. As far as our readiness to buy, I had already told him that I just sold my second car to them and that I would buy something else before the day was out.

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Already done.

 

 

If he did, it was only a few words. He never asked us what we thought of the car, if we wanted to see anything else, anything. I would have been fine with him saying that their prices were not negotiable (which I already knew, but I figured that if enough people told them that they were overpriced they might go back to the way that they once did business). He made no effort to show us anything that might have been more to our liking. As far as our readiness to buy, I had already told him that I just sold my second car to them and that I would buy something else before the day was out.

Sounds like you just ran into the world's worst car salesman. I've done that for a living in the past, and while there are tough days and tough customers, if somebody comes in and tells a salesman that, then leaves without buying a vehicle (assuming there aren't major credit issues and the customer isn't insane) the salesman's job is often in jeopardy.

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Did he do that ****tard thing of asking for your keys right when you walked in the door?

That bugs me like no other.

 

No, but I have had friends who went to dealerships that did that. One had to threaten to call the police and charge the dealership with larceny of an auto in order to get his keys back (this was a rather notorious Dodge dealership in Oklahoma City). Generally speaking, the flashier the sales campaign, the shadier the dealership is. 

 

I don't know if you guys get the syndicated half-hour show King of Cars, but it is shot at Towbin Dodge in Las Vegas. The gimmick is that employees dressed as various different characters (including a blue genie) drive several cars by, the owner known as "The Chopper" will state a price, people in the background will yell "Chop it!" and after two or three rounds of this he gives what is supposedly a final sale price. That place has one of the worst reputations in the local auto industry for pressuring customers and shady sales tactics. They took over a Kia dealership in my neighborhood, and I went shopping there without knowing that Towbin had gotten their tentacles onto it. They turned a really good family owned dealership (keeping the original name in order to fool people) into a miserable place to shop for a car. When you are quoted a monthly payment and they refuse to tell you the interest rate or the terms of the loan, something is amiss. They got mad when I didn't immediately agree to buy the vehicle that I came in to look at, and even more so when they sent me out on a test drive in another vehicle that I liked even less.

 

If you're interested in seeing the gimmicks I'm talking about with Towbin Dodge, you can see what is locally known as the Chopper Show in the video embedded in this web page.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan
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i'm assuming you went ahead and bought the malibu.

 

Damn straight. The salesman might have been mute, but I said "Where's the contract?"

 

Speaking of the Malibu - I had heard good things about them, but everything about that vehicle screamed "fleet car" - from the bland styling to the white paint job to the very industrial interior. It struck me as a rolling definition of a car as an appliance. I'm not one of those guys who has to be thrilled every time I sit behind the wheel, but I have to at least not hate what I'm driving.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan
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Been to Vegas shopping for used cars. Not a good experience. But I'm buying lower priced cars for my kids. So many crooked lots to deal with. Ads that lie and mislead. When you get there the car is trashed and over priced.

 

I do all my own homework ahead of time so I know what I am buying and what everything is worth.

 

When I buy new I go to a local place that finds the cars for me so I tell them what I want and they find it. It's a computer locator dealer who has a used car lot. We agree on a price and they have it delivered to their dealership. I have bought 2 new vehicles from them with no pressure at all and it was a great buying experience. They save me time, money and stress.

 

They can find newer used cars also and have them delivered.

 

I have referred them to people in Las Vegas since we are near and they found nice cars either new or used for them and delivered them directly to their house in LV. If you need their number just PM me

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Damn straight. The salesman might have been mute, but I said "Where's the contract?"

 

Speaking of the Malibu - I had heard good things about them, but everything about that vehicle screamed "fleet car" - from the bland styling to the white paint job to the very industrial interior. It struck me as a rolling definition of a car as an appliance. I'm not one of those guys who has to be thrilled every time I sit behind the wheel, but I have to at least not hate what I'm driving.

 

Carmax does sell a lot of fleet cars. I helped one of my older daughters buy a car their about 6 years ago. No haggling on the price, but lots of inventory. She was buying a Toyota Corolla and we did find a good one. It was a rental car and she saved some money over buying new. Sometimes with the price Carmax asks you can buy a new car for a few dollars more per month and have the 3 year warranty.

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It usually takes me about two years to commit to buying another car. Probably the last place I would shop would be CarMax after combing their lot in the Azuza area. It was the ding and dent sale, every car had some visable damage and were not priced competively along with being high mileage. Basicly low end auction cars.

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CarMax has changed their pricing strategy considerably over the past couple of years. They used to advertise that their prices were based upon Kelley Blue Book values, but any more they don't say that. When we were shopping a couple of years ago we were looking for an SUV. We were going to buy a Mazda CX-9 from CarMax. When we got ready to finance, we were told that the lender wanted almost $1,900 down. When we got home we soon found out why. The amount that the bank was asking for a down payment was to the penny the amount above market value that CarMax was asking for the vehicle. When we bought a car from them in 2005, they beat local dealers for the same car by about $2,000. In this case, I went to a local dealer and beat CarMax by about $3K - and this was with no haggling.

 

I used the website CarGurus to do my pricing research. Based upon market value in a specific area, they rate deals as great, good, fair, poor and overpriced. Every CarMax car I saw on there was rated as overpriced. The car that I bought was rated as a great deal as was, and the site told me that the asking price had been cut by $3K over the past 30 days. I went in, drove the car, cut the deal and waited on the paperwork.

 

No haggle is not an advantage when the price is too high.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan
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Been to Vegas shopping for used cars. Not a good experience. But I'm buying lower priced cars for my kids. So many crooked lots to deal with. Ads that lie and mislead. When you get there the car is trashed and over priced.

 

You really have to be careful. There are a lot of car lots around this town with inventory of questionable origin and quality. I understand that a significant number of flood damaged cars from Hurricane Katrina wound up here - probably because no one would suspect that a lot in the desert would have hurricane damaged vehicles.

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