A friend’s 80 year old mother recently bought a car from Mark Mitsubishi of Glendale, AZ. When she returned to the dealership for an oil change, according to her daughter, she was told by a sales rep that there was a braking-system safety recall for the vehicle but no worries, he could put her in a new Mitsubishi for the same price. The octogenarian agreed, and signed the contract. It wasn’t until later she discovered two things:
- She had committed herself to an additional $4000 in auto payments
- There had never really been any recall
She and my friend returned to the dealership and talked to the sales manager, who told them they were out of luck, as she had signed the contract.
I have to stress that I wasn’t there, and that the information comes from an 80 year old who might not have gotten all the facts right, heard correctly, or been duly careful about understanding what she was signing. Nevertheless, it certainly seems as though fraud might have been perpetrated here, not to mention that salespeople need to be cautious and very very clear with an 80-year-old attempting to transact business on her own. The best thing might well be to ask that senior to return with a younger family member or trusted advisor. UPDATE – she was not alone. Attended with her granddaughter, who had never bought a car before.
My friend and her mother have solicited the help of one of the local television stations, and I encouraged them to review the dealership on every auto review site they can find – especially DealerRater. Additionally, they’ll be rating it on Yelp and discussing the issue on theirs as well as the dealership’s Facebook page, and Google+ and other presences including Twitter.
While I want to stress that I was not a fly on the wall when any of this happened, I would caution any vehicle shopper to ask questions, take names, document, and perhaps even record every conversation and transaction between you and this or any other dealership. Most are reputable – this one might not be.