Rant Archive (May 1999)

Car Salesmen and why they are lower than Pond Scum!

Sometimes I wonder to myself if people mess with my life so that they can garner their 15 minutes of fame on these rant pages. Recent statistics show that of the 17,000 per month or so that visit this site, the rant pages are the most popular. So that must be it. Car salesmen are lower than pond scum. OK, maybe not all. Just every single one I have ever dealt with without exception.Here is what has happened to me. I signed a lease three years ago for a 96 Jeep Cherokee. The lease was for 15,000 miles/year.

After I took delivery on the vehicle the salesman called and I was informed a mistake was made and somehow I need to agree to lowering the mileage to 13,000 miles/year. I admit it. I was asleep at the wheel. I let them change the mileage. At the time I had no idea what the consequences would be. Please… I already feel stoopid enough!!

When it was time to turn it in for another vehicle, I told the salesman what my concerns were and how dealing with the same company after being screwed so badly the last time was a small leap of trust. He assured me my situation was an isolated incident.

The deal we agreed to was that I would pay off the remaining lease payments and any additional costs, such as excess mileage, taxes, disposition fees would be included in the finance agreement. So imagine my surprise when after financing all that stuff, I got a bill in excess of $3,000!!! The best part was when after going to the deal to inform them of this oversight they denied ever making such an agreement. So It all boils down to my word against his. Of course on paper everything is airtight. On the other hand how credible is the word of a car salesman?

Guess what folks! They lied! Now they are trying to cover it up!

The lesson I have learned today is that car salesman count on these elements of human nature:

-That most people want to trust each other.

-That when all the complicated math comes out, the average customer glazes over but is unwilling to admit to confusion.

-That once the car is delivered, it is now the customers’ problem to deal with from that point on.

-That if a guy gets screwed, he will generally keep his mouth shut so his buddies don’t know how stupid he is.

-Sometimes guys will speak out and confront the salesman and even make a scene.

-That if a lot of hot air is blown, it passes quickly.

What they have not counted on are these things:

-Musicians like me will readily admit their inability to deal effectively with complex financial figures.

-Sharp criticisms are just a part of life. We tend to filter out what we want and leave the bullshit behind.

-Many performers are unaffected by certain types of fear. We just ignore it. Threats of doom usually fall on deaf ears.

-While an airtight paper trail is good, musicians are often experienced in dealing with contract disputes.

I have to admit I was tempted to rip their necks off when I found out what a beating I have taken. I took silent pleasure out of gently asserting to the sales manager that I was lied to and nothing else is really relevant to me. As he tried to explain their position, I simply listened and let him talk himself in to a corner. When he did, I just said, “You could be right, but as far as I am concerned, he lied.”

But the story is far from over. I have vowed to do my part in getting myself a fair resolution. I plan to do it in a way that keeps my blood pressure at an even keel. When I visited today, they started to explain their position further why I was in the wrong.

I just told them there was little point in discussing it.

What I have fantasized doing:

-Leaving the Jeep in the middle of the parking lot with the “panic” mode engaged, doors locked, take the keys home and throw them away.

-Visit them every single day, and like the guest that wouldnt leave, gently remind them they lied to me. Every day.

-embarking on a media campaign that would expose them for the slime they are.

What I will do is wait until I am calm enough to think rationally. Then I will take small and measured steps toward finding a satisfactory solution. And no, I will not feel the least bit guilty if several men lose their jobs in the process. Their dishonesty is not my fault.

And while I don’t hope this happens, it would not surprise me to learn these salesmen have been experiencing a long bad luck streak.

Karma really does work two ways. And what goes around really does come around.

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