Saturday, August 24, 2013

Plaza Auto Mall - You May Have Already Won!

Sure, I know what you mean; auto dealers in general have a reputation of being notoriously unethical, so why should I have expected this one to be any different? I wanted to believe them. What got me was the flyer I received in the mail informing me that this particular dealer (about an hour-and-a-half round-trip drive from my home) was willing to offer me 100% OF THE ORIGINAL MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price). I know it seems crazy, but it certainly got my attention just as they intended. As you can see on the flyer (below) - it makes that very compelling statement 3 different times in three different places; each time in large, red, bold, and ALL CAPS lettering.

Click to Enlarge
Georgina and I talked about the distinct possibility that this was some sort of a scam, but I called the dealership and asked some very direct questions (just not the most important question, but I'll get to that in a minute:). Really looking the fine print, I even asked, "is this the MSRP for my car, fully loaded as it is, or are you offering the base price (which would be a significant difference of thousands)?" I was informed that the offer would be based on my car with all of it's enhancements being considered, and after taking my name and indicating that they were very interested in talking with me about my car.

There is a sentence on the flyer, as you can see for yourself, that clearly states, "The only adjustments will be made for mileage, 35¢ to 55¢ depending on models and reconditioning." Yes, I placed those words in bold and in red so that they would stand out. (The dealership did just the opposite of that, for obvious reasons.) Typically, when dealing with car dealers, a statement like that typically refers to mileage in excess of 12,000 miles per year. My car has 27,400 miles on it, and the car is five years old. I figured that I was well within the safe zone. If they wanted to offer me $23,000 for a five year old car, minus a thousand or so for for minor scratches - I'd be really happy. Wouldn't you? 

Without even looking at it, the dealer offered us $10,000 for our car. He gave us that price based primarily on our mileage of 27,400 miles multiplied by .35¢ which, of course, equaled $9590.00 taken off their so called "offer!" 

This was a deliberate, built-in, intentional loophole allowing them to tell an outright lie, while making it appear that they were being as truthful as possible! OMG!

I just captured this quote from the website of the owner of Plaza Auto Mall 

"Always work hard, always keep your word, and always be good to people."

Uh, we really didn't have that experience.

We were more than annoyed, and we left the building. A few minutes later, after having examined the flyer which we were told explained it all very clearly, we walked back in and asked to speak to Marcello Scarrino. This is the same Marcello whose name appears on the flyer, which informed us that their research had indicated:

"Recently we have seen an increased demand for certain vehicles, and our research indicates you could be driving one of these vehicles. If so I have an incredible offer for you. I am willing to purchase your vehicle for 100% OF THE ORIGINAL MSRP base price when your vehicle was new! You read that correctly , we will buy back your current 2003-2011 vehicle for 100% of the original base price as listed in the current National Automobile Dealers Association™ Guide."
The general value of my car in today's market.
As you might imagine, Marcello and I had quite a discussion. He informed me with a blank, though seemingly sincere look on his face, that they were, after all, a car dealership and that the reason they sent out ads was to bring people into the dealership to sell them cars, and wondered aloud how I could have even thought for a moment that they would offer as much money for a used car as for a new one. I wondered aloud the same thing, but then there was all their research to be considered, indicating that there was, "an increased demand for my type of vehicle." With a straight face he said, "well, millions of people sign up for the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes every year." Further, he said, "we're here to sell cars and that's why you got that flyer. It was just to get you in here." He's right I suppose, I should be reading all advertisements as if they were contracts, right?

Interestingly, there is nothing on that flyer that is overtly offering to sell me a car. 
There are however 
There it is then, when dealing with this Honda dealer (or any of the other car sellers all owned by Mr. John Rosatti under the catchall name  Plaza Auto Mall) realize, based on the helpful and well considered information provided by the General Manager, Mr. Marcello Scarrino, that it's really very much the same as receiving an important looking envelope that indicates that, "You May Have Already Won!

I didn't want, nor was I looking for something for nothing. The flyer got me to believe that for whatever reason my car had an intrinsic value beyond what one might realistically expect. Okay, I admit it it - they got me. 

What if we lived in a world where "always be good to people" was not just a collection of words? What would the world be like if automobile dealers became the people known for being honest, dependable, and trustworthy? Impossible you say? 

Such an impossibility could be changed by any automobile dealership if they wanted it to happen. What are they afraid they might become if they were to make such a change?

Here's a possibility: an automobile dealership known for its integrity. 

Would I write about such a thing? In a heartbeat:-)

But in this case unfortunately our evaluation is:  You need to ask? Really?

2740 Nostrand Ave 
Brooklyn, NY 11210

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