No one likes spending time at a car dealership. Sure, you might get to drive one of your dream cars, but it comes at the cost of all the dealing you’ll have to do — dealing with salespeople, dealing with finance, and getting a bad deal on a new car. Yesterday, we asked for your worst dealership experiences, and you gave us a wealth of horror stories. Here are some of the best.
2 / 17
Sky High Interest
Sky High Interest
My wife and I walked into our local Kia dealership about 4 years ago to look at. Used Kia Sorento (or something) they they had listed for $17,790. My wife’s car was on its last legs and we needed to replace it.
We drove the car and she liked it, so we started talking numbers.
Their version of “numbers” is greatly different from our version of numbers.
I asked them for an itemized quote and to see what they were listing the car for.
They proceeded to pull out a piece of printer paper and write the “quote” on the back of it.
I said I needed to see one with the selling price of the car, tax, title, license, and any other fees they were quoting.
They tactfully ignored that request and started talking to my wife.
Their back of the paper quote was $419 a month for 75 months…. And that was with $3,000 for the trade in.
I said “you’re quoting us almost $32,000 for a car that’s listed for $18,000 on your site, without an itemized quote that comes out to be about 27% interest”
They didn’t bat an eye and said “well sometimes with credit like hers you have to take what you can get”…
Then they said they would do us a favor and lowered the price to $399/75 months.
We ignored further numbers and their desperate sales tactics. We then went to Carmax, traded in her car for $400, and purchased an almost identical Kia Sorrento for $325 a month for 60 months.
All of this? It's bad.
3 / 17
A Bankrupt Service Center
A Bankrupt Service Center
If we’re counting dealer servicing in bad dealership experiences, I have one that might be hard to beat. I brought my Mustang in to a Ford dealership in Brooklyn for an oil change and a tire replacement, was told I could pick it up the next morning. Except at the end of the day I dropped it off, the dealership went in to bankruptcy. The service center lot was chained up and bolted, and no employees went back, and so my car sat there on that lot with no way of me getting to it. FOR TWO WEEKS. The phone for the dealership and the service center were disconnected. I tried calling Ford corporate and they basically just shrugged and said there was nothing they could do. I called the police and they said I’d have to file a petition with the bankruptcy court to get access to the lot. Eventually I walked past the service lot and saw that some people were in the service building taking out files, and so I just walked in to the building, went behind the counter where they hung all the customer keys, grabbed my keys, and took my car and drove off. Probably could have taken any car I wanted.
Normally a bad dealer experience means being stuck with the people present on the lot. Having everyone disappear, however, seems just as bad — if not worse.
4 / 17
Wasting Their Time
Wasting Their Time
Where to start? Why not at a local Ford store, where 100% of my “worst dealer stories ever” take place (the one below is the most egregious of 4 or 5... but the fact that I have 4 or 5, out of thousands of dealership interactions & dozens of cars purchased over 25 years and ALL OF THEM are at Ford stores is saying something...).
Story 1: Ford store held my license hostage after a test drive & physically blocked my wife & I from leaving first the building then the lot. Condensed: they tried to guilt us into buying a car b/c they we “wasted their time” test driving. Hard sell commenced, 2 more sales guys showed up & blocked the building exit & refused to move. So I got physical w/them, one of whom fell into a plant potter. Then I called the cops & drove over a sidewalk and a lawn to get away from the sales manager who was physically blocking me from backing out of my spot, still trying to sell us a Ford Escape, promising not to “call the police” if we just bought a car from them...
Story 2: Drop my factory warranted Mustang GT off to get a driveshaft vibration looked at. Weeks pass, no loaner, calls to service go un-answered. Any time I want an update I have to physically go to the dealer & stand in front of a service writer. Go as far as to do a test where I’m sitting in their parking lot looking through the window at the service-writer corral and when my call comes in, they look at their phones & ignore it. Have to call sales to walk the phone over to service to get a service advisor then I ask them to look out the window. I’m literally standing right there. Anyway, 4 dealers and nearly 4 months later I finally found a dealer who warranty replaced the driveshaft and wouldn’t you know it, the vibration and interior rattles disappeared.
Story 3: With a friend helping her buy a Ford Ranger. In the showroom, the sales weasel says “oh yeah this is a 4x4" which I knew wasn’t the case. My friend wanted a 4x4. I said “show me the front diff” and he got under the front of the truck with me & pointed to the steering rack and said “thats the front axle, see where it connects to the wheels?” I told him it was a steering rack, he said I was wrong, I even pointed him to the Monroney that said 4X2 in bold print and he said it was a misprint. It took the service manager coming out to tell him that it was a 4X2. He sheepishly told my friend “sorry, uh so how about $500 off?” and we walked.
Story 4: “no ADM on the F150 Lightning... but if you want a 2022 & aren’t a fleet customer (despite a day 1 reservation...), you can pay $15k to get your name bumped to the front of the line...”
There are more but those are the high points.
It’s always fun to prove the sales folks wrong at their own game. When I worked at a dealer, representatives from corporate would always come out to the showroom for vehicle-specific training, but the salespeople would still get facts and features wrong.
5 / 17
Preying On Dire Circumstances
Preying On Dire Circumstances
I once negotiated a OTD price for a new car over the phone. The dealership emailed me a nice, clean itemized quote for, let’s say $25,000. I printed it out and brought it with me to sign for the car. When I arrived, a different salesman greeted me with a number hastily scratched on a sticky note (wtf?). No, see this quote for $25,000 you emailed me? “Oh, yes sir, my mistake, right this way”. Number games and honest mistakes continued for another 30 minutes. For each new sheet they had me sign, I looked at the printed quote to verify it was right. So many red flags.
I’ve bought 5 cars from different dealerships over the years. In my observation, the modern dealership model is built to take advantage of people who are Unprepared, Impatient or in Dire Need. If you are lucky enough to not fit into any of those 3 categories you will probably have a very frustrating experience.
Unprepared - some combination of I don’t really know what I need, I have no idea how I’m going to pay for it, I have little to no down payment, I have no clue what I can afford and my eyes glaze over when you talk about financing.
Impatient - I NEED to have the latest model - here, take my 2 year old model on trade! I don’t have time for all this paperwork and waiting around. Where do I sign?
Dire Need - my car died this morning and I need a car off your lot RIGHT NOW or else I won’t be able to work and therefore won’t be able to eat. Every hour I sit here is an hour I’m not getting paid at work.
Preying on those in dire need of a car is particularly evil. These are people who, by nature of America’s automobile-centric infrastructure, cannot function without a vehicle. In their desperation, they turn to the nearest place that will give them four wheels to get to work. Yet those dealers still rummage through pockets for any nickel or dime they can snatch away.
6 / 17
The Service To Sale Pipeline
The Service To Sale Pipeline
Flashback to 2019 and a certain ‘Zoom Zoom’ dealer chain in Chicagoland. Took in my wife’s 2010 Mazda5 for maintenance. The thing was in great shape (despite carting around a then-3 and 6 year old) and had maybe 40K on the clock.
Someone in service apparently alerted sales. I was approached by two different salespeople, a sales manager, and an F&I guy about trading in my wife’s van...each being more pushy than the next. Turns out that service had gotten done in a matter of minutes, then proceeded to GIVE THE KEYS TO THE SALES DEPARTMENT to try and get me to buy something on the spot.
What was supposed to be a 20-30 minute ‘quick service’ (with an appointment) kept me there for more than two hours until they finally realized a sale was not going to happen.
Having sales people approach you while you wait for your car to finish in service is a classic dealer experience. Having them take your keys, and force you to deal with them, is certainly a new one.
7 / 17
Passing The Phone
Passing The Phone
Tired to buy a VW Jetta TDI (before the scandal) and wanted to trade my 2009 Dodge Challenger SE. They took it to have the mechanic look at it. After this was done, they told me they’d but it, but for ~$5K less than I owed on it. I said no thank you, can I have my car back. They refused to give it back to me as a strong arm sales tactic. I stepped outside, called the police and explained what was going on. They told me to give my phone to the sales manager. They told him that If I didn’t get my car back post haste, they would be coming to arrest them for stealing my car. They produced the key rather quickly.
Calling the cops cannot, almost by definition, be a happy occasion. You wouldn’t expect to have to dial 9-1-1 from a dealership, simply because of its established business practices, but such is the way of car buying.
8 / 17
Confessing To Pen Theft
Confessing To Pen Theft
I have handled 90% of my dealer work through email, so haven’t had a bad experience in a long time. But the experience that led me to this method? Still pisses me off.
I was at my local Toyota dealer, interested in a Corolla as a first new car. I had done a lot of research on the car, and on leasing / financing. Sat down to “talk numbers”. I was interested in a lease because I was already living paycheck to paycheck, and that was how I was going to keep the payment down. Sales guy writes a bunch of stuff on a form and arrives at $350 a month for the car. I said that was more than I was thinking. Before showing up, I had a ballpark idea of where the monthly payment should be, I just didn’t know the money factor.
Sales guy: “let me go talk with my manager to see if we have room here.”
Me: borrows calculator on sales guy’s desk while he’s away to calculate the lease payment myself. I get $300.
Sales guy: “Hey there sport, whatcha doin?”
Me: This is the car price right? And this is the term? And money factor?
Sales guy: “sure is!”
Me: Then maybe you can tell me how when I do the math using your numbers that I arrive at an amount $50 less a month?
Sales guy: “You must have done that wrong…let me … uh .. go talk to my manager and we’ll show you.”
This time, instead of talking about golf or knock-knock jokes, I can see through the manager’s window that he’s glaring at me. For shits and giggles I added a nice round number to the price of the car and did the math again.
Sales guy: “Sorry pal, we redid the numbers and you must have forgotten to carry a one or something.”
Me: Well actually, here’s the math, and when I add $1000 to the price of the car I get the exact monthly amount you quoted before tax. So, are you ripping everybody off? Or are you just behind this month?
The sales guy was pissed. I guess no one checks them on their math? As he sat down, I got up and left. He was blabbing something about “how dare I” and “you’re wrong” and “we’re busy don’t waste our time if you’re just tire kicking”. Which is where I looked at the dude and laughed. I was the only customer there the entire time, and I stole his pen.
Sure, the scam was bad and all, but you’re confessing to a crime here, dolsh. You stole a pen! You’re looking at hard time there.
9 / 17
Layers Of Incompetence
Layers Of Incompetence
Hmm. Got called and absolutely yelled at for “using their parking lot as storage for three weeks!” for a Fleet-owned Tucson. Threatening to tow it if it isn’t picked up in 30 minutes. I responded with “you mean the one which has been towed to you due to engine failure? I take it that you haven’t even gotten started on it, then?”...
Visited them in person, expecting that maybe it was in the back corner, out of sight and out of mind. Nope! Parked right in front of the front retail entrance of the dealer.
They claimed to know nothing about the car, and claimed not to have our contact information. We emailed them, we called them...
I pointed to the other two (branded) cars of ours, also on their lot, and let them know that we know matter-of-factly that they have our contact info. They call us all the time. In fact, the phone number to the business is on the rear of the car and the brand is _very_ recognizable, locally.
The layers of incompetence were incredible.
When a car shows up on your lot, clearly the procedure is to leave it there for weeks and then start making angry phone calls. No initial contact, nothing discussed with the tow driver, just a simply wait-and-rage. Works every time.
10 / 17
Good Sales Person, Bad Manager
Good Sales Person, Bad Manager
This wasn’t necessary a nightmare experience, but I dealt with an older salesman who was great, but was working for a younger sales manager who was an absolute penis. He was a fast talking dork that was doing cartwheels trying to sell me on their nonsense warranty for a used car that the salesman couldn’t give less of shit about, and in general wasn’t letting him do his own job. Then of course, once we shake hands, the manager fucks off and we sit for 90 mins before speaking to financing. We go to talk to our salesman and he expressed visible frustration we told him that, and got us next in line with financing.
As I was on my way out, I got the salesman to be pretty candidly talk about the lack of respect from new management and how he can’t wait to retire. There’s a lot of reasons why car dealerships can be bad, but this is one of them.
Ah, the corporate structure of the car dealership. Sales people are often bad, but managers have to have proven themselves worse in order to rise to the top. Who can be surprised when they act the way they do?
11 / 17
They Always Have A Speech
They Always Have A Speech
Probably not as bad as most but here’s the one I always think about:
I was looking to purchase a Golf R in 2019. One dealership had a markup and wasn’t willing to negotiate so I setup an appointment at another for a test drive. When I arrived, the SA gave me a speech about how they are sallaried and don’t push customers to buy, blah blah. We go out to the car and there’s a tag on it saying it’s $5k over MSRP. Whatever, I test drive the car, love it. We get back and the sales manager comes up and says the markup tag was old and not something they are doing, so I decide to move forward.
Sit down and give them my info to run my credit and the finance dude comes back with $40k in add-ons and points to a monthly payment. Fuckers took my credit, saw that I could get a big loan and decided they should double the price of the purchase. I was dumbfounded. Told him to go back and give me numbers without the bullshit. By then I already decided I wasn’t doing business so when he came back I said thank you but no thanks and left.
The SA was texting me the rest of day pulling every trick in the book to try and get me to come back. I will never do business with that dealership again. I got a call from another dealership later that evening and told that SA my experience. He said, “fuck them” and then offered me their car under MSRP. Ended up buying the car from them and the SA even told his finance guy not bullshit me.
The longer a dealer’s introductory speech, the worse you’ll be treated. Genuinely good dealerships don’t need to tell you — they’ll prove it in the deal.
12 / 17
I’m lucky enough to actually sell cars at a dealership that is incredibly upfront and ethical. We dont require deposits to hold cars, nor order them, if someone gets buyers remorse or has a problem pop up, even weeks after purchase, we buy them back. We dont market adjust anything (except the one Ram TRX we were allocated, and I believe it was like 5k over sticker, and was sold before it was built.) All our salespeople will happily go out and take photos of the undercarriage, send a carfax test drive and send video, and work numbers out entirely before a customer ever leaves their house. But, being a small store in the middle of nowhere with 5 sales guys though, we don’t make massive amounts of money. But it’s as close to a 9-5 job as it gets.
But you asked for the WORST.
So, back before I worked here, my dealership of choice was a small Chevy dealer about 20 minutes up the road. I had probably bought 5 vehicles off these folks, and really never had any issues.
Until I finally got a good union gig at a steel mill, and it was time to buy our first “Nice” vehicle weve ever had: A one year old (2016) Chevy Traverse with around 25,000 miles on it. About 2 weeks after buying it, the air conditioning went out. No big deal, that’s why I bought a new car-it’s got a warranty.
Except they never disclosed that it was canadian, and had ZERO warranty.
1200 fix for the air conditioning, the power steering rack crapped out at like 30k, then the compressor went out again at 35k, and then a multitude of powertrain issues that all should have been under warranty but weren’t. They knew I’d have never bought it if I knew it was a $28,000 “as-is” vehicle, so they just left that detail out.
Getting a car from Canada can give you a major discount, but it’s something the buyer needs to really think through — how much is your warranty worth? If a dealer sells an international car, it should absolutely be addressed long before any paperwork is signed.
13 / 17
Trouble In Multiple Boroughs
Trouble In Multiple Boroughs
Sometime in the mid late 90's, I was about 17 shopping for a used car with my dad in NYC. At the time the internet wasn’t yet a thing and shopping for a used car meant scouring the newspaper/local used car magazines, auto auctions, or visiting and walking the dealer lots. The process was time consuming to say the least.
One weekend we headed over to Queens to try our luck. Northern Boulevard had a number of dealers new and used all within a span of a couple of blocks. We felt that would give us a good chance of finding something.
We eventually landed in Major World’s used lot and found a nice candidate, a third gen Maxima maybe 92 or 93. Took it for a test drive with the salesperson who was friendly enough. We did our best to try to ferret out any issues or determine if the car was in a prior wreck right there in the lot. Again, mid nineties no Carfax/Autocheck and vehicle histories weren’t available or offered. Even if they were it wasn’t something we thought about. You get what you see.
I put down a $300 deposit and we set a future date to come pick up the car and finish off the payment and paperwork. Got a handwritten receipt on those carbon copy sheets with the Major World info stamped and everything looked legit.
Fast-forward a few days and someone from the dealer called to say that the car’s no longer available it’s been sold. I said we already put down a deposit how could this happen. No idea says the guy, but the car was gone and the only reason they called was that they found a copy of my receipt. No apologies given. Despite being extremely disappointed, I had my wits and asked for my deposit back. The guy said just come by to pick it up.
The next weekend I take the subway from Brooklyn and try to find the salesperson I dealt with. Nowhere to be found. Likewise no deposits were refunded. I don’t remember the reason, but it was some bullshit like we can’t find the guy, maybe he doesn’t work here, etc. Anyway, tough shit with the deposit. $300 to a 17 yr old was serious money for me, that was almost a month’s work during the summer washing dishes. Anyway, nothing could be done. The guy suggested calling Major World’s corporate office. In the meantime the new sales guy tried to show me to other cars maybe we can find another one and put down another deposit. Yeah fuck that, I left.
So when I got back home I had the task of trying to track down corporate headquarters. Again, 90's, internet infancy, no remote chat, no email. All I had was that receipt with a number and a phone book. Spent two days playing phone tag trying to get through to corporate. No luck. After about 2 weeks I gave up and figured the deposit is gone.
Fast forward again about 3 months. I get a call out of the blue from Major World saying they got word from a number of customers who got their deposits “lost”. They want to make it right so come down to Queens and pick it up. Again, long slog back to Queens.
In the office was about two dozen people all apparently with their deposits lost. Waited about an hour and eventually a guy in a suit comes into the waiting area and starts handing out our checks. No apologies, just something about a mixup, not a big deal he says.
Thankfully the check cashed and I was done with Major World. To this day any friend or family who asks about cars, I tell them avoid Major World like the plague. I don’t care if they changed owners, practices or gotten better. To me Major World is the stereotypical scumbag dealer who takes advantage of people.
Dealing with shady dealerships is bad enough when you don’t have to take the train between boroughs each time there’s a development in the case. If only they paid you back for all the Metrocards you spent fixing their mistake.
14 / 17
Not Buying Today
Not Buying Today
Roll up to a Honda dealer in Phoenix…
“My fiancé and I aren’t ready to buy and wont be for a few weeks- I don’t want to waste your time on the financial stuff, we’re not even halfway done comparing different CUVs in our price range. All we want is to see and test-drive the new CRV and then we’ll be out of your hair. We’d like to see the EX-L or Touring (top trims) and we don’t care about color or anything like that.”
Them: “Of course! Take a seat we’ll pull one around”
FOURTY MINUTES go by. There’s a sales guy in a cubicle but he looks busy and when we arrived all the other sales guys were standing out front chatting, so I head outside, but nobody is around. I’m trying not to be pushy because I’ve already been loud about not buying today so I know I’m not their highest priority, but I feel like I should at least be on the list. I look around for a second and head back in- I find that busy sales guy with a stack of paperwork sitting with my fiancé and she looks very uncomfortable. I walk back over and say “thats a lot of paperwork for a test drive!” and my fiancé goes “oh no, he was running me through all of the finance options. He wants to run a credit check” and then gives me that “where did you go” stink eye.
At this point, I sit down and push the paperwork back towards him- “we can do the math on payments just fine. We’re here for a test drive because we havent seen the new model in person- can you go check on that? They were pulling one around a half hour ago.”
“Well but what good is a test drive if you don’t know what the payments look like! We’re running a deal right now-“
“We’re not buying today, we’d just like to see the car.”
He’s pissy- gets up and heads back to his desk for a walkie talkie and asks if they have the CRV ready and gets a gruff crackly response I couldn’t hear. He puts his salesman smile back on and asks us to come outside. “Fucking finally” says my fiancé. Indeed.
We get outside and all the salesmen who vaporized are now surrounding the car smiling like one of those creepy “Welcome to the Sorority” videos. One of them dutifully opens the door to reveal cloth seats and the most embarrassingly shitty infotainment screen to grace a supposed 2020 vehicle. “This is an LX… we wanted to see a Touring…” says my fiancé. She double takes the window sticker, “…and this is a 2018.”
Me, trying to get this over with quickly- “well lets just sit in it anyways while they pull around a 2020 Touring” I say this loudly, giving the nearest salespeople a strong look, getting nothing but robotic smiles back. None of the salespeople move. Thats the moment I give up completely, but I’ve now socially obligated us to sit in the damn thing so we do.
So after all that- almost an hour of completely wasted time- we’re greeted by truly the least impressive modern vehicle we sat in our entire time looking for cars. There was obvious water damage on the soft cloth trim under the windows. My fiancé commented that it was all the exact same switchgear and features as the 2014 Civic we were replacing. A random salesperson hops in the back and starts trying to tell us about all the great features and my fiancé is found to be 100% correct- not a single listed feature was something her 6-year-old Civic didn’t have. He asks if we want to test drive- through the open window the paperwork salesman says “they havent filled out the paperwork yet” and the guy in the back says “oh okay well lets run inside and we can get that taken care of!”
“No thanks, we’re good.” We start to climb out. Paperwork salesman goes straight for my fiancé, she’s not even halfway out of the car- “So we can get you guys in this one today for only $225 a month with 0% interest. I know you were looking for the Touring but we sell waaay more of these- theres not really that big of a difference between the models, and you save a ton of money!”
“We’re NOT buying today” snaps my fiancé.
“Thanks for your time” I’m pushing unlock on my Acura’s key frantically as if it’ll help get us out of here faster.
“Fucking waste of time” one of the salespeople says under his breath- “Sure was!” I snap, as my car beep-beeps to life just in time.
In the safety of my car we agreed that even though we were both raised by die-hard Honda/Acura families and had continued to drive Honda/Acuras as adults, we’d never again even consider one. I’ve never had my entire worldview shifted so dramatically in an hour.
Interestingly, Toyota was probably second worst for also trying to shove paperwork and quotes and credit checks down our throat when we really just wanted to drive a fucking Rav4. Hyundai and Mazda stood out as FANTASTIC experiences- knowledgeable, excited salespeople who understood why we were there and each got us behind the wheel of multiple cars in the time it took Honda to pull the wrong one around.
A bad dealer experience can be all it takes to turn you off of a brand forever, especially when the sales folks get too pushy. You recoil at the thought of owning that car, just because you were forced into it — and you may never return to that brand again.
15 / 17
Fleet Sales Forever
Fleet Sales Forever
In 2013 I was in the market for my first brand new car. As a Toyota enthusiast for over a decade and owning two classic Toyotas, I decided I hop into the local Toyota dealership.
After strolling around for 15 minutes without anyone asking me if I needed anything I decided to ask for help. I made clear that I was a Toyota enthusiast, owned two classic Toyotas and I was interested in buying a brand new Toyota. They asked me if there was anything I liked in that showroom and I replied I did like the looks of the Ubran Cruiser and the Auris. I jokingly said the GT86 (or Scion FR-S for the US) was also my thing as I used to own an AE86. I was given a tour of the display models (not the GT86 as they didn’t had one) and made an appointment to test drive the Urban Cruiser the next day.
The next day I showed up for a test drive and drove the Urban Cruiser. It looked better from the outside than the inside, but it drove decent. It was clear Toyota Netherlands left out a few options as the dash contained some blanking plates. Also this test vehicle covered some rough 40K kilometers already and looked very sorry. After the test drive I hinted to the sales person I wanted to buy an Urban Cruiser but would like to have it fully decked out. That actually turned out to be a problem: they forgot to tell me there was no new car available in the whole of the country. The display model was already sold to another customer. Even worse: I couldn’t order a new one from the factory as the model was on it’s way out. I would be able to buy the test vehicle if I really wanted one, but it would be as is as factory options couldn’t be added anymore. Also the stock for dealership installed options couldn’t be guaranteed. Naturally I felt cheated by the dealership.
So I asked them what options were left: wait for the replacement model (whic wasn’t planned) or choose another car. The sales guy was very sorry, but the all new RAV4 wasn’t available yet either so he showed me a bland Yaris in dark grey and a bland Auris in silver and, apparently uninterested in selling a car, he walked off. I fled from the dealership never to return again (except buying parts for my classic Toyota) and walked into the Honda dealership a few blocks down the road and bought my next car over there.
If the Toyota dealer just did a bit a tiny bit of extra effort they could have sold me a fully decked out Auris. Or maybe directed me to a Lexus dealership as that might have been more up my style and kept the money inside the Toyota company. But sadly this wasn’t the case as they clearly weren’t interested in selling a car to a private individual when they could sell many bland Auri and Yari to lease drivers. It was clear they didn’t care about Toyota’s past at all. It was clear they didn’t care about the Toyota cooperation (including Lexus) as a whole. It was clear they didn’t care about their customers at all. It is sad dealerships like this exist and remain in business.
Fleet sales are easy, with high volumes to turn profits for the dealer. Competent shops will have a sales person or two specifically assigned to handle that, with everyone else on the floor ready to deal with consumer buyers, but this doesn’t sound like a competent dealer.
16 / 17
Working At One
Working At One
Worst dealership experience? I worked for one for almost 12 years (internet sales, then an upper management position in the internet/tech team).
The traditional dealer model is a vile, toxic industry. Everyone is exploited by the people at the top. The customers, the employees, and the third-party contractors they do business with. Everyone. Know why the salespeople (and the people in the service department who aren’t working on the cars, they’re salespeople too) are so sleazy and conniving? Because they get rewarded for it, and because that’s how they’re treated too. Everyone’s getting fucked (not in a good way), from the customers all the way to the people one level below the executives. The industry is built on squeezing as much cash as possible out of the customers using every method under the sun, and then working equally as hard to not share any of the profits with the people who worked to obtain them. And to top it off they claim they’re providing a service to the community and that’s why they need laws to prevent automakers from selling to customers directly.
I don’t think direct-to-consumer sales is the way to go (it eliminates competition while driving up prices and lowering quality of customer service) but I wholeheartedly believe the stereotypical local dealership business model needs to go extinct (and it’s already declining, people are starting to spend their dollars elsewhere). Probably the best solution for consumers is a large-scale retail model similar to how we buy other goods... similar to what places like CarMax and Carvana are doing. Lay everything out clearly and let the customer choose what they want. No games.
When even your employees hate your business model, you know something’s got to change. The dealership model has served its purpose — it’s time for something new.
17 / 17