In contacting Mazda American Credit (financed my first and second Mazda) the morning of January 24, 2000, at 10:30 am (spoke with Christy), I have found that my account for my former vehicle, 1997 Mazda 626 DX, has not been closed out. Though the account should have been closed out within days after purchasing my new vehicle, it was not properly closed out as promised by Terry Bumgardner (General Manager) on the 20th of January. Specifically, he stated that he would send the Odometer Reading and Condition Report in on Saturday, January 22, 2000. Again, Mazda American Credit has not received the appropriate paperwork to close out my account.
Furthermore, the representative stated that two payments and a late charge, totaling $711.63, have been taken out of the $3,844.00 that was sent and received by Mazda American Credit on January 5, 2000. And, fees will continue to be withdrawn from that total amount until those documents have been received.
Respectfully, it was my written request that the Odometer Reading and Condition Report be sent to Mazda American Credit on January 24, 2000. In speaking with two representatives, they both stated that faxing the reports would be adequate. Also, I requested a copy of both documents for my files and to be notified by personnel at Rosenthal Mazda when the documents have been sent to Mazda American Credit.
To this date, January 27, 2000, I have not been notified by the dealership that the appropriate paperwork has been submitted. And, in calling Mazda American Credit daily, I have discovered that Rosenthal Mazda has not sent the paperwork by fax nor by mail--this after the 21st of December sale of my new vehicle. So, currently, I have two open accounts with Mazda American Credit.
This is the most recent issue, however regarding the sale of my vehicle...
At this moment, I am taking time to address some concerns to you regarding my sales experience at Rosenthal Mazda in Arlington, VA.
I have just completed the after-purchase survey, and it really made me rehash the ordeal that took place the day I purchased my vehicle-2000 Mazda Millenia.
Assuming there is a certain mystery and "wheeling and dealing" that goes into the selling and purchasing of a vehicle, I would like to state that I feel that I was treated as an unknowledgeable, time-expending, nervous, paranoid customer. Of which, there was no reason for. I am and was on that evening I purchased the vehicle, December 21, 1999, a customer that wanted to know the facts and the simple truth about the numbers presented to me.
Although I had a pre-approval for another leased Mazda, I was dealt with in the manner that I had never purchased a vehicle from Mazda before and that I really did not know what it was that I was talking about. The finance manager along with the salesperson initially told me that I would not be able to get into the vehicle that I was requesting, though Mazda American Credit has three years of solid credit history on me. And, in both sales situations, I gave the dealership documentation to substantiate everything on my credit report (adverse and positive). Since I purchased my vehicle in 1997 (Mazda 626 DX) I have held steady employment, arose to the ranks of management, and increased my salary $20,000 plus. There is no reason that I should not have been basically in and out of the dealership in a shorter amount of time (approximately four hours) with a better deal than was presented. I felt as though I was being "toyed" with.
The finance manager, Jeff, told me there was no way that Mazda was going to allow a $200 increase in payment. From there, the salesperson proceeded to show me other vehicles. As I was walking out, the salesperson said we'll see what we can do on the Millenia. This is what I wanted initially!
Getting on to the finance portion of the sale, which is the main issue. It is a sad case that neither the salesperson, two finance managers (Chris and Jeff), or the sales manager could explain or would explain, correctly, precisely, or accurately or approximately, how they arrived at the total value of the vehicle. I was told lies-"it includes taxes and tags"; "it does not include a dealer mark up"; "that is the sticker price". First of all, the math simply did not add up to include taxes and tags. Second, I personally was convinced that the number included dealer mark up, however no one was willing to give me a straight answer on this--though I insisted time and time again this is the car that I wanted, and all I wanted was a straight answer. And, I asked that someone get the sticker off of the car I was purchasing. The numbers did not match. So, again, this was a "magic number" that someone put on the sales sheet and no one was willing to explain to me how that number was conceived. And, that I got at least three different answers says that I was not hearing the truth. Both of the finance managers and the sales manager can attest to the fact that I did the math on paper as well as with a calculator, and called upon the expertise of an outside car salesperson and a finance manager. Again, the numbers did not add up.
In haggling and debating over the numbers, I asked the sales manager to at least take $2,000 off of that "magic number". He stated that he would not do that, but still did not give me a precise or accurate account of how that number was conceived. After another 30 minutes of debate, he did print out another invoice with $1,500 off of that "magic number". However, not thinking that I would notice, he placed that $1,500 on another line item on the invoice-the ole' switch-a-roo. This is really where I began to feel that the dealership was taking me for a fool! I then said to the sales manager if you are confident in this revised invoice, would you be willing to do the deal. He said no. I did not understand. You switch the numbers to your satisfaction but are not willing to stand behind them. In this whole process, I told Chris (one of the finance managers) that he and the dealership, as financers, have a fiduciary responsibility to deal ethically and fairly. And, simply, for not doing that we all could end up in court. It is my feeling, based on adding the numbers and talking to a number of your personnel at the dealership, that ethics, fairness, and fiduciary responsibility were compromised for the sale of a vehicle that I was told that I would not be able to get into initially. For your information, my former payment was $323/month, and now my payment is $517/month.
I did all of the things that a knowledgeable consumer would do-asked questions, did the math, made comparisons, and tested the product. I took the deal because Mazda American Credit was gracious enough to pre-approve me and deal with me once again (though I earned the privilege).
As an aside, I attempted to get my hard tags on January 20, 2000. I found that Rosenthal had not communicated with the Motor Vehicle Administration of Maryland concerning the registration of my new vehicle and was not willing to renew the temporary tags issued at the point of sale. In attempting to get my hard tags, I called on at least three different occasions to check on the readiness of my tags. The ladies that I spoke with each time said that my tags were not in, but if time expires, they would issue a new set of temporary tags. Instead, I was told that I owed $517 for a down payment of which they could not locate in my sales folder and had no real recollection of me paying the $517 downpayment at the time of deal-signing. They would not issue tags or proceed with registration until they had that money. This was monies due as part of the deal for the car--a deal in which the Finance Manager (Jeff) said that Mazda American Credit approved. However, they neglected to collect that $517 at the time of signing. Furthermore, no one contacted me prior to me going into the dealership attempting to get my tags letting me know that they were owed additional funds.
Instead, I was told the following:
Jeff (Finance Manager): The $517 has been sent to collections. They could not and would not provide documentation of this, and Jeff stated that they did not have to provide documentation. Then he stated that it was sent to their corporate office, and that I needed to contact the corporate office.
I did request the policy on tag issuance. Jeff told me that it was in the corporate office, and that it was not for distribution. I asked him if a copy was kept on premises. He said no, much to my disbelief.
Terry Bumgardner (General Manager) insisted time and time again that I did not want to pay the $517. I told him that I would not have come back to the dealership twice if the $517 was an issue.
Being that I was given to separate answers as to where the $517 downpayment was going, I asked Terry Bumgardner to give me a straight answer as to where the payment was going. Initially Jeff said that it was going to the dealership. Then, in Terry Bumgardner discussing this issue with, who I assume, was one of his record keepers or administrative assistants, he asked her if my payment was sent to Mazda American Credit. Finally, he stated that the payment was going to dealership. Very confusing.
In Jeff and I arguing back and forth over the hard tags issue, he said to have your lawyer contact our lawyers. I never stated that I was going to sue them.
Terry Bumgardner admitted that there was a number of pieces of paperwork that his Finance Manager (Chris) did not complete upon the sale of the vehicle. For this, I am supposed to be inconvenienced?
Going back to the sale of the car, at one point the Finance Manager (Chris) and the Sales Manager closed the door to what turned out to be a non-ventilated office with extreme heat blowing down on us. Both stated that it was hot, but did not bother to reopen the door right away. It was neither cold in the dealership, nor were we discussing something in private. I took this as a ploy to rush the deal, get me out of the office, and put pressure on me--none of which worked.
In the end, I took the deal because Mazda American Credit was gracious enough to consider me for another vehicle. However, to this day, I am still suffering the effects of the treatment from this dealership on a number of different issues. If you can avoid it, please DO NOT do business with this dealership! And, I know that everyone might say this, but if these incidents had never occurred and I felt comfortable with the dealings, I would be their greatest fans, and would have told all 250 employees at the place of my employment.
All in all, the dealership's treatment, mannerisms, and reputation and integrity are in question.