My sister found a great car online on cars.com at a dealership in Queensboro, NY. It's a two door 2003 Honda Civic with about 60,000 miles on it, but it's listed at $9,500 which is in our budget. She calls up the dealership (Paragon Pre-Owned Honda, an incredibly shady, sketchy place!), speaks to two different people about the car. It's still for sale, we could drive it home today, there are no issues with the car, there's no deposit on it yet. Great! She's excited, tells my mom and I about the car, and we decide since it's about 2 hours away from our house in Dutchess County, NY, so my mother, my sister and I decided to make a road trip down there.
If you've ever driven from Dutchess County through lower Westchester, on the Tri-Boro bridge, near Manhattan, it's incredibly stressful. We make the trip down there, and we find the dealership. Of course we have to walk another 3 blocks down the road because the dealership is incorrectly listed, and we drove to Paragon Honda instead. There is a Paragon Acura, a Paragon 'Bad Credit No Problem!' dealership, a Paragon Toyota, and a Paragon Mazda. We finally get to the right dealership. We ask to speak to someone about the car. We start talking to one of the salesman about the car. He looks up the car and tells us "Oh that car isn't for sale. We don't have the title yet". It won't be for sale for about another 10 days.
My sister flips. She then says "I spoke with TWO people TODAY about that car. Why didn't someone tell me this before we drove two hours down here to look at it?". He has no answer, but he says he'll talk to the manager, but in the meantime 'Can he help us find another car?'. He has plenty of other Civics in the the $13,000-16,000 range. Too high. We can down specifically because the phantom car was listed so cheaply. The guy can tell we are PISSED...so he goes out for a smoke. And brings us each a nice bottle of warm water. I didn't mind because it was Poland Spring, but I thought it was a cheap attempt to quiet us down. He tells us he will see if his manager can give us a lower price on a comparable car.
First he assumes my sister wants an automatic. She doesn't care, she can drive either. Then he asked her what color she wanted. She doesn't care about that either! She's more concerned about the miles on the car, if it has A/C, a CD-player, those sort of things. The he starts talking about a car he has. Apparently it's "certified". I was getting a pretty shady feeling from the guy, so I asked him what "certified meant". Does this mean they pay for repairs, etc until 100,000 miles or what? Apparently, we BUY it certified, but it's not actually certified. He confused the hell out of me explaining it, but basically at one point in the time the car was certified, but it won't be certified after we buy it. We are not interested in that car, and he seems annoyed.
So he takes us on to the Honda lot. We find something we like, but the manager won't budge from the $13,000 sticker price. We find an Acura, but the manager wouldn't budge from a $14,000 price. It's about 2pm and my mom wants to start heading home because NYC/Westchester traffic is a nightmare, and she has two other kids, and a puppy at home. The guy decides to show us the car we came down for. It is located in a totally separate lot, the Paragon 'No Credit No Problem!' lot. This isn't a bad thing, but obviously it wouldn't be certified, and we felt like we had been lied to. The car doesn't look like the car in the pictures...there are aftermarket rims on the car, and a weird spoiler on the back. We thought this car was certified also? Guess again...the website says it certified, but the salesman tells us it's not because of the aftermarket rims, and radio. We are PISSED.
We decided to leave. A few days later...one of the receptionists calls my mother about the cars we looked at, and asks why we didn't buy a car from them. My mom tells her that the car salesman was sleazy, the website was extremely misleading, and we felt we had been lied to.
So basically, see a nice car on their website, drive 2 hours to see car, car is not sellable. Dealership lied to us. Dealership is sketchy. "Certified cars" aren't really certified, and the managers thought water would calm our anger. Don't buy a car from Paragon Honda in Queensboro, NY!
On a happier note, we found a different car, in a little used auto dealership in Peekskill. The salesman treated my mother and my sister like gold, offered them water or coffee, knocked down the price, and produced all records of oil changes, and repairs, and offered a 2 year warranty on a car with 95,000 miles on it. They left happy, and my sister finally has a car.