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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
USE EXTREEM CAUTION WHEN BUYING A CAR FROM:

:evil: STERLING McCALL TOYOTA / HOUSTON :evil:

I've been in the market for a new 05 Prius. I did an internet build which at the end sends you to a dealer. In my case it was Sterling McCall Toyota here in Houston. I told the salesman what I was looking for. He contacted me a few days later with the Prius I wanted on the lot. I went to look. Told the salesman I could not bring myself to buy it with a $1500 markup since I have a friend that works for the Toyota distributor and I might be able to get a demo someday without a markup. So I left the dealer and did not buy.

30 minutes later my salesman calls, said he told his manager about me having a friend at the distributor and the manager said he'd sell me the Prius at Sticker Price, quoted the price, and said give them a credit card to hold. I said I'd call back in 30 minutes.

I called back in 30 minutes and said I'd take it, send it to make ready and here's my credit card. He said the manager told him they don't need the credit card, just come in to the dealership.

I was on the dealer lot in 30 minutes, shook hands with the salesman and the sales manager. Then I began to fill out the paper work, they ran the credit check, then appraised my trade in for $1500. I said no thanks I'd sell my car myself. The salesman then asked if he could get $3000 if that would be good enough. I said no, that the trade in value is $5000 and retail value is $7000. He then asked that if he gets me $4500 would I take it. I said yes. He went off for a few minutes, came back and said: THEY HAD JUST SOLD THE PRIUS TO SOMEONE WHO WOULD PAY THE MARKUP PRICE.

I spoke to the sales manager and told him that they had entered into a binding contract with me when they offered to sell me that particular car, stated the sticker price as the offer price and then I accepted that price, offered a credit card as money down told them to send the car to make-ready that I'm on my in to sign the papers. STERLING McCALL TOYOTA broke their contract with me and sold the car to a higher offer. We had a verbal contract. I believe their action was illegal, but it most certainly is VERY POOR BUSINESS PRACTICE.

I've called Toyota USA and filed a complaint against the dealer. NOT because I didn't get the Prius but because they made an agreement with me then broke it and didn't even care. It really appeared they view this as normal business practice.

I did ask to speak to the sales manager who said, "bottom line is the Prius is sold" and at that point there was nothing more to say.

So I urge anyone who would buy a car at Sterling McCall Toyota to use caution. Nothing said here is inflamitory, it is a factual experience. I hope it might raise the awareness of others, especially about this dealer with who I had this very distasteful encounter.

This part is a GUT feeling: I thought it was odd for the sales manager to be talking to the internet salesman when I walked in. I'm thinking the deal was, they would sell me the Prius without the markup if they could get my tradein at a low enough price to make it back. They offered me $3500 below tradein value. When I wanted tradein value or I'd sell it myself, suddenly the Prius had been sold to another offer that was at sticker price. Only a gut feeling.
 

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:( I had virtually the same experience last December with a San Marcos Dealer.

:D The good news is that Champion Toyota of Corpus Christi found me a new Prius at MSRP in a month. This dealership was a joy to deal with and I hope that you have an opportunity to do buisness with them.
 

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Not too surprising; verbal contracts are only worth the paper they're printed on.

Sorry you had a bad experience,
Shawn
 
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I had the same type of experience with Dick Hanna Toyota in Kelso, WA.

They set up a deal with me in Dec. of 03 for MSRP (Written). They got 2 in May of 04, and asked us to come down and check them out. We did, and decided to buy.

When they brought the contract to sign the price was MSRP + $3000 !! :evil: .

I reminded them of our deal in Dec. for MSRP. The Sales Manager said that evidently the papers got lost, and anyway the Sales Manager that was on duty and set up our deal is in vacation and won't be back till Monday (this was Saturday) to confirm the deal.

I told them to check with him and I would get back with him on Monday. Called Monday to get the results. They had sold both Prii on Sunday @ MSRP + $3000 :evil: :evil: .

Even with calls to Toyota, who informed the dealer to resolve the problem twice, nothing was ever resolved. The dealer never even contacted us until Toyota called the dealers corporate headquarters. Then lots of promises with no results.

Eventually got my "White Ghost" from Toyota of Puyalup for MSRP in Nov 04 (120 mi. North). Very Knowledgeable salesman ("Eddie") and service department. The service dept. asks you what tire pressure you want and knwo all about not overfilling oil. What a pleasure :D . It's a long drive for service, but worth it. Besides my Son and his family live in Fife, only a few miles away, so we get to visit with them.

Sorry to parttle on but the thread brought back the bad memory.
 

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Servicing at any dealer.

You don't have to drive to the dealer you bought the car from to get it serviced.

But I am, only because it's only 10 miles and very close to where my parents' live.

Because....

I won't take my Prius to the dealer closes to me.

When I went there to try to test drive the car, they insisted I hand over my driver's license. To get a photocopy in the office. I gave them a photocopy I had already made with "do not run credit check" written on it. Salesman insisted I hand over my license for them to copy. I told him I only give my license to police and hwy patrol and officers of the state of california because of the bar code on the back. He still insisted and I got out of the car and went home.

I bought my Prius at Kearny Mesa Toyota where they couldn't care less about my license. I just showed them I was licensed to drive and that was it. Howard Sheehy, the internet sales manager was great! I like their service department too. Very clean and well maintained. He showed me everywhere, set up my first service for October and even bought me a cargo tote in the shop.

I went back to Toyota of San Diego once to look in their shop. It's small, dark, cramped, poorly stocked and just as unpleasant an experience as my original attempt at a test drive. I'll never go there again.

I can get my car serviced at any Toyota dealership, but I will drive to the one where I bought my car. Kearny Mesa Toyota really impressed me with their professionalism. (But I did buy my extended warranty elsewhere.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Dealership you deal with REALLY is the key!

I related my story at the start of this thread and the very negative experience I had with Sterling McCall Toyota in Houston :evil: .


Good experience: Don McGill Toyota in Katy (and Houston).

The good news is, on Saturday I went to a different dealer, Don McGill Toyota in Katy, TX and they had one Prius on the lot. It was the color I wanted. They had it marked-up $7,500, which blew me away when I saw the sticker.

Salesman was very nice, told me not to worry about the markup.

Anyway, to make a long story short we worked a deal where I bought the car at sticker price (car, #3 & BO Package). Then I paid $2,400 for the dealer to add leather (all cloth replaced with leather, better than Toyota leather package here in Houston), window tint, glass etch, vin marking and paint sealer.

The overall markup I paid for my Prius is based on how you value those items installed by the dealer: leather, tint, glass etch, vin marking and paint sealer. The stated retail is $3,100 so $2,400 feel like I actually got the car slightly below sticker. But I know there must be a lot of markup in the tint, etching, vin marking and sealer. So, I think I was a close to fair sticker as I could get. I'M HAPPY with the deal.

Bottom line is, Sterling McCall really treated me bad, disrespectful and like a customer with NO value. But Don McGill was a pleasure to deal with. Salesmans name was Terry, I'd recomend him, he treates you with respect, is honest with you, will help you make the deal work for you. :D :D

I will never step foot on Sterling McCall's lot and anyone in Houston should consider a different dealer.
 

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Re: Servicing at any dealer.

Godiva said:
I bought my Prius at Kearny Mesa Toyota where they couldn't care less about my license.
I had the exact opposite experience as you at those two dealers. Kearny Mesa Toyota insisted on making a copy of my license before allowing a test drive. Toyota San Diego didn't even ask to see my license. I ended up buying at Toyota San Diego. Not because of the license issue, but because they got a car sooner. I found them to be very easy to deal with. I guess it all depends on which salesman you get.
 

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I'm glad to hear about Don McGill giving you a good experience. That's where I'm purchasing my car from this weekend. It's a 3-hour drive, but it was only a 2 week wait and I'm paying MSRP for Package #3 and no other frills. Much better than the 8-12 months and $3000-$5000 over MSRP that others wanted to give me. I hope my experience this weekend is a good as yours! Congrats on getting the car you wanted at the price you wanted!!

Erica
 
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