June 3, 2000
I was interested in a 2000 Ford Explorer XLT and visited Marietta Ford 810 Cobb Parkway S.E, Marietta, Ga. 30062 (Tel: 770 422-1100) After looking several times I got a faxed quote from Russell Porter 'Sales Manager' and the quoted amount was $25,999, less a $1,000 rebate and plus a Dell Computer or Dell Certificate.
I showed up with a certified check for $25,000 made out to Marietta Ford but when they brought out the paper work the quote had been increased by an extra $267.55 for "Delivery Handling" and $99.00 for "Administrative Fee". This was NOT acceptable and they did not get the sale. They did however get:
1) a complaint to the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs,2 MLK Blvd Ste 356, Atlanta, Ga 30334,
2) a complaint to the Better Business Bureau - Atlanta,
3) a complaint to the President, Ford Motor Company, P O Bx 6248, Dearborne, Mi 48126, and,
4) a listing on every consumer web site I can find.
5) Coming: complaints to every newspaper that carries their advertisements!
This tactic is called "Sporking" and is discussed at www.edmunds.com/edweb/advice/Games.Dealers.Play.html It involves giving a firm quote but then adding bogus charges, usually (as in my case) using a pre-printed sales contract with the charges listed on it so as to look like "official" costs - (who would doubt a pre-printed form?) I quote in part:
". . . This is where you'll get "sporked". The dealers invoice now shows a list of items you've never heard of, and you don't know whether you should just sign off on them or really negotiate further...there are 4 prongs to the 'spork' technique: Advertising fees, flooring or handling charges, administrative fees, and appearance/protection packages...all of these items are negotiable and most should simply be removed...Delivery & Handling: Delivery of the car is paid for by the destination charge, and does not need to be paid again. And "handling"? your guess is as good as ours. Ask the dealer; the story may amuse you. The fact is that every dealer is paid a certain amount of what's called PDI - Pre Delivery Inspection. PDI is what the manufacturer pays the dealer, covering any type of adjustments to the vehicle, washing, waxing, prepping, etc. By asking the customer to pay for this, the dealer is trying to get paid twice."
Marietta Ford's practice of giving out firm quotes then after this supposed agreed upon price they will put nearly $400 back into the dealers profit by bogus/made up charges.
Q. What do whores and car salesmen have in common?
A. They both make their living by screwing people!
Watch out for Marietta Ford!