There comes a certain age where your wits have started to leave you, but your money hasn't. And that's the perfect time for ripoff artists to strike. Like the story of this elderly couple, whose only stated income was $2,600 a month in Social Security benefits, got talked into, and approved for, a 2011 Cadillac STS with payments of $2,300 a month. Fantastic. Guess now you'll have a really fancy place to eat your cans of dog food in.
Commenter MKIIGTI shared this dark tale of an elderly couple who walked into his dealership trying to get a lower payment on that Cadillac they were driving, and with good reason.
I used to be a sales person at a dealership. Don't hate me... I draw pictures now.
Either way, in June of last year I had an elderly couple pull on to our lot. They were driving a rare breed for the area; a Cadillac STS in decent shape. It didn't look like your average buy-here pay-here Caddie, in fact, it looked like it had just left the showroom floor.
After speaking with the folks for a few minutes, I came to realize that they were here to lower their payment. I said fine, and reminded them that the payment they get on a vehicle is very dependent upon the individual's credit. They said they understood, and followed me into the showroom.
I asked if they were trading in their Caddie, and they nodded. After receiving their keys, I began my walk-around. This vehicle was a 2011 with 900 miles on it. I returned to the couple slightly perplexed. They said that yes, they had just purchased the vehicle, and that they had no idea their payment would be so high and wanted to trade it in to get a lower payment.
I turned in my credit app and trade evaluation to the sales manager and sat down. Typing... Typing... Typing... "Holy Shit!"
"What the hell are they trying to trade?" my sales manager asked (he was the type to demand paperwork he never actually ever looked at). 2011 Cadillac STS with 900 miles on it. He begins typing again and I do what is normally frowned upon as a sales person and walk behind the desk to try to understand what was going on. He was on the Cadillac site building a 2011 STS. He got the price up almost to 70k before he Black Booked the car. The trade was a base model STS. No options. Their credit report stated that their open auto was 75k and some change. Their credit app stated that their only income was Social Security and combined it was $2,600 a month.
I walked back to my elderly couple waiting at my table. "You've already made a payment on this car correct?" I asked. "Yes."
"And how much was it?" "$2,300."
There was nothing that we could do for them. They bought their car for at least 15k over sticker, got jacked on their interest rate (they had very good credit), and they had already made a payment. We had to send them on their way.
The situation was so screwed up the story went up the chain to our GM. He actually stopped by our location and gave them the number to his lawyer before they left.
Working in the industry actively for four years, this is the worst situation that I've come across.
I reached out to MKIIGTI for more information, but he wasn't able to share any contact details for the couple because they didn't buy a car from the dealership, and regulations prohibit him from sharing anything from the credit application they filed.
This story is not only a warning for elderly people to double-check what they're signing, but a wakeup call for their friends and family. If an aged friend or family member living on fixed income all of a sudden starts showing up to barbecues and christenings tootling around in a luxury automobile they shouldn't be able to afford, you may want to start asking some questions.