Fit to be Tied

My husband and I went to the Seattle International Auto Show with our three teensFitextreme350  late last month to look for an economy car for us to use for commuting.  We decided we liked the Honda Fit.   I doubt anyone relishes the idea of buying a car.   Probably much like getting a mortgage.   We did our homework and decided we were willing to pay a certain amount for the car and no more than that.

We first met with the sales person who spent some time with us at the Auto Show and followed up with us via mail.  He’s very polite.  However, it was almost comical to go through the drill of buying a car.  This salesman had us sign a statement that “We will drive a Fit home at $X”.  Well, we offered “x” and the sticker is “y”.   When he came back from his manager, their price was pretty much smack dab between x and y.   We explained we’re only willing to pay “x” for this car.   And he explained that the car is selling for more than it was presented at the car show due to high demand.  We said “good bye”.

We decided to try calling a dealer and to try buying a Fit over the internet.   Ya’d think I’d know better than calling around for the best deal considering my preaching about doing this with mortgages.  Boy I got some doozie one liners.  In the car biz, it’s all about getting the consumer into the dealership and having them waste invest a significant amount of time on their turf.  At this stage, over the phone no one was willing to commit to our price of buying at “x”.   Their efforts to lure us into the dealership was unrequented.

Meanwhile, my husband was working with the internet sales team at Klein Honda in Everett.  He received this response from their “internet sales manager” regarding his offer of paying “x”:

We have ourselves a deal!  I will do $X plus tax and license for the Black Fit Sport with an automatic transmission.  We need to move quick on this deal before they sell it to someone else for more (I am serious).  When can you come in and wrap this up?  The sooner the better.  We open at 11am on Sunday.  I would recommend coming in and finishing up the deal earlier than later.  That way, we can avoid any back-ups getting into the business office.  If I hear back from you before the end of business today, via e-mail or phone I will place a sold sign in your new Fit and pull it off the lot!  I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for considering Klein Honda!

We made the one hour trek to the dealership this morning to purchase this car at $X as agreed at 11am.  The Internet Sales Manager (ISM) seemed friendly and straight forward enough.  We completed a mini application after reviewing the car and picked out a couple of accessories to go with the car.  ISM lets us know that this is a steal and ask that we refer our friends and family.  While I went to our car to fetch our insurance info, my husband mentions to the Internet Sales Manager that I’m blogger and will probably write about how pleased we were with this experience.

Well well well…sure enough, while the ISM was away with our mini application, the Big Sales Manager (BSM) showed up…aka The Closer.   This guy looked really ticked off and informed my husband and I that ISM did not have the authority to cut us this deal and that it the agreed to price needs to be a couple hundred over $X.   We angrily walked out.   The ISM never showed his face and has yet to call or email us.

Where is the honor to stick with what was quoted?   Stuff like this fries me.  If I quote a rate as being locked in as x and I make a mistake, I eat it.  Sometimes I’ll tell the client; sometimes they’ll never know.   It doesn’t happen often…but hey, we’re all human!   I honor my word.   Their reputation and integrity wasn’t worth a couple hundred bucks to them.  It was pretty despicable.

We were so disgusted with the experience over our hour ride back home, we decided that we didn’t want or need a Fit.  Then Renton Honda calls us from my checking out the Costco auto discount the previous day (at the time, they said the Fit was not in the Costco program).

I explained to the Internet Sales Manger at Renton Honda (I believe his name is Randy) that we just wasted our entire morning trekking up to Everett for a promised price on a Fit and he apologized for our experience.  He wanted to know what color, model, etc. we were interested in and I told him but warned we were pretty worn out from our dealings with Klein.   Randy tells us that we can have a Fit for $X and we told him we wanted his manager to call us to confirm so that we can avoid repeating what happened the last time we ventured into a Honda dealership.   Within minutes Randy’s manager called us and committed to our price.

We journey south to Renton and Randy sets us up with Shain Patrick, Senior Sales Consultant who was very decent to deal with.  Renton Honda did honor their word and we drove home a Honda Fit tonight (my husband was so thrilled that the gas gage didn’t budge the whole trip).

No one wants to feel like a chump or like they’re being toyed with.  We all just want a fair deal and to work with people who honor their words.   Life is too short to deal with those who don’t.

My husband told the ISM at Klein Honda that I would blog about how our experience was (this was when we thought they were selling us the car for the agreed price; before they brought in “The Closer”); I guess he’s right!


  1. Rhonda – First of all, let me know what you think of the Fit. We are also thinking of purchasing one for the same reason…a car JUST for running around town.

    Second of all…I HATE BUYING a car for the same reason above. We have had great luck doing it via the web, howeverwe have had some of the same experience.

    Agree with your example of when YOU make a mistake, you eat the mistake in pricing. A lot of people are not the same. I’ll tell you, when I find someone I trust and know I’m getting a fair price (not necessarily the lowest quoted price), I continue going to them until I feel they are not being fair, ethical, professional, etc….

    Great post!

  2. Tony, the sales guy tried not to snicker when I told him I was a Mortgage Consultant. He then told me that their company saw many car sales people exit the industry to become LOs over the past few years. He added that he’s seeing his former co-workers now leave mortgage and return to selling cars.

  3. Rhonda, this is eerily similiar to an experience I had 4 years ago buying a Honda Civic Hybrid. Made a deal on Sunday. Monday got a call from the “manager” stating could not honor the deal; wanted $300 more. Called around, found the car at another dealership and paid $700 less than the first deal.
    Frankly, I thought then, and now am convinced this is a planned strategy for wringing more money out of customers.

  4. I had a similar experience when I bought my Camry Hybrid earlier this year. I tried to go through the Costco program, and the dealership they referred me to assured me that they would get me a great deal with the program. Once I walked into the dealership it was hard sell all the way. With the Costco program they were supposed to show me their invoice and their markup. Instead they said that they had run the numbers and the Costco program wasn’t the best deal, they could do better with their own – list price. Classic bait and switch.

  5. It was eery to go through the car buying experience, believing you’re doing everything right to make an informed decision and to have a fair deal; then to experience “bait and switch”. This is not something that I do in my mortgage practice. However, it did shed some light on why some clients can “fit to be tied” after working with LOs who are bad actors.

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