Car Dealership Financing Shenanigans

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Went to a Chicago area car dealership today, USAA price quote in hand, USAA e-check for financing in hand.  Agreed on numbers, agreed on trade.  Presented my e-check paperwork (dealership is a USAA partner dealer, so supposed to be .5% off rate which is already ridiculously low).  Dealer requested my SSN and for me to sign a blank financing contract "in case something happened with my e-check and the funds didn't clear."  I refused.  Dealer called me "shady", stated I was a "suspicious character" and that asked me "what I was trying to pull".  Told me to them  I was an "unknown entity" (This would have been my 3rd purchase from this dealer overall but not the exact same brand).  Dealer would not sell me car or let me leave with car (not that I wanted to at that point).  I walked out.  

Other than walking out, sending email to dealership owners and purchasing elsewhere, any suggestions on who to contact to inform of this situation?  Or just let it go?  

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forget it and move on.

locdogg (Sep. 12, 2013 @ 8:50p) |

He was trying to forget it until you dug this post up

T800 (Sep. 12, 2013 @ 10:18p) |

The news articles linked in this thread were easier to prove cases, where several victims signed a contract and had a co... (more)

taxmantoo (Sep. 13, 2013 @ 5:54a) |

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Why bother? You did not lose anything, the dealer lost a sale.

money2011 said:   Why bother? You did not lose anything, the dealer lost a sale.
  Possibly a good deal.

I find it incredibly shady to ask someone to sign a blank contract. I'd buy elsewhere.

Green for having the balls to say no!

On this one I would actually contact USAA. I'm sure they would like to know of any dealers that are abusing their program, and I'm sure it wouldn't take very long.

Call their corporate number and try to get as high up the latter as possible for someone who administers said program and then just leave a voice mail mentioning the exact dealer and what exactly happened.

dshibb said:   On this one I would actually contact USAA. I'm sure they would like to know of any dealers that are abusing their program, and I'm sure it wouldn't take very long.

Call their corporate number and try to get as high up the latter as possible for someone who administers said program and then just leave a voice mail mentioning the exact dealer and what exactly happened.


Definitely do this. If someone called me "shady" for not signing a blank contract for financing I don't want/need, I'd be knocking on the door of the general manager at the dealership and following up with the state agency in charge of dealerships. Actually I'd do that even if they didn't call me "shady."

Here's what they were going to try to do, they were going to run your credit through their other lenders, see if they could make it work so they pulled more off the sale of the car and then there would be "a snag with USAA so your payment will only be $10 more a month for 72 months" neglecting to mention the far worse terms. That, or they are getting a spiff for applications from lenders. If you have the USAA quote in hand, go to another dealership and see if they'll match it for the same car. If you're getting a deal that can't be beat, go back to the dealership and try to talk to somebody higher up and explain the situation and buy the car, if you're saving that much on the car, sometimes you have to deal with the devil.

dshibb said:   On this one I would actually contact USAA. I'm sure they would like to know of any dealers that are abusing their program, and I'm sure it wouldn't take very long.

Call their corporate number and try to get as high up the latter as possible for someone who administers said program and then just leave a voice mail mentioning the exact dealer and what exactly happened.

  Does she need to get high in order to get as high up the latter as possible?

I did try to call USAA from the dealership but they were closed. Thanks for the reminder, I will call them again and/or write a letter.

NEDeals said:   
dshibb said:   On this one I would actually contact USAA. I'm sure they would like to know of any dealers that are abusing their program, and I'm sure it wouldn't take very long.

Call their corporate number and try to get as high up the latter as possible for someone who administers said program and then just leave a voice mail mentioning the exact dealer and what exactly happened.


Definitely do this. If someone called me "shady" for not signing a blank contract for financing I don't want/need, I'd be knocking on the door of the general manager at the dealership and following up with the state agency in charge of dealerships.
 


Yes, if somebody at the dealership tried to force you to sign a blank contract and then called you names, do you have their first and last names?
Either find out who licenses dealerships, or just let Lisa The Mad Hen know about it and she'll take it on herself if she thinks it'll get her name in the paper.

In my experience with a USAA vendor behaving poorly the front line CSR at USAA actually took the issue to management who went to the vendor and resolved the issue without further action on my part. Granted that was on the insurance/mortgage side, but I would be surprised if USAA was not responsive to your complaint.

How high up did you go at the dealer? The "manager" they send out is almost never really anyone of consequence. Did you talk to the head sales manager? If not, I'd contact the owner directly. If they are a partner dealer, they probably value that status. If so, they are probably concerned that you are going to contact USAA and cause trouble. Then again, if the program isn't making them any money they might not care.

Spoke with financing manager and who I was told was the dealership manager. After I walked out, I realized dealer still had the registration on my trade, so I had to go back in. This is when I was really yelled at. Financing manager watched from the side with what looked like horror or disbelief on his face when I was being yelled at by the idiot who told me I was a suspicious, unknown entity character but he didn't step in and do anything, so he gets no brownie points either. General manager was nowhere to be found during this conversation -- you'd think the volume alone would have brought him out.

I did email the owners last night. Also copied them on the email I sent this morning clearly stating that the dealership is not to deposit my e-check (it's a paper form, and I had to email it to them to print it so even though I have my print out, they could just make another).

Just sent USAA an email stating what happened.

And here I thought a different dealership, who asked me if I needed to bring back my significant other in order to help me make up my mind, was bad...

It's nice if you post reviews online as well to warn other potential customers.

Tinker2Evers2Chance said:   This is when I was really yelled at. Financing manager watched from the side with what looked like horror or disbelief on his face when I was being yelled at by the idiot who told me I was a suspicious, unknown entity character but he didn't step in and do anything, so he gets no brownie points either. General manager was nowhere to be found during this conversation -- you'd think the volume alone would have brought him out.

I did email the owners last night. Also copied them on the email I sent this morning clearly stating that the dealership is not to deposit my e-check (it's a paper form, and I had to email it to them to print it so even though I have my print out, they could just make another).

  

If that happened to me, and the owners were genuinely concerned and wanted to know what it would take to make it right, I'd settle for:

1. Fire that man there, right now, the one who viciously abused me for refusing to sign a blank contract.(should be an easy request, people who abuse customers have no business working in sales, but I'm always amazed at the number of sales professionals who seem to take pride in being assholes)
2. Complete the deal we already agreed to (assuming it's a really good deal, or throw in extended warranty or something if it's a mediocre deal).
3. Some form of assurance that they won't be asking people to sign blank contracts in the future.

If they did all of the above, then I'd consider it unnecessary to file regulatory complaints with the state government (You can tell them that you already notified USAA and are preparing to notify the DMV, but don't blackmail them with threats of regulatory complaints. "Sell me this car for an additional $1000 off and I won't go to the DMV" would probably be considered extortion or blackmail).


If you have questions about selling motor vehicles within the state of Illinois, please contact:
Vehicle Services Department
Dealer Licensing Section
501 S. Second St., Room 069
Springfield, IL 62756
(217) 782-7817
http://www.dmv.org/il-illinois/buy-sell/car-dealers/salesperson-.. 

What was the name of the dealer?

Is it part of a large company?

NEDeals said:   What was the name of the dealer?

Is it part of a large company?

   Yes, OP...please post the name of dealership for those of us who are in the Windy city.

I am generally a reserved person, but if a salesperson tried to publicly berate me for not going along with his sleazy tactics...let's just say it would be game on...

Huh. USAA price quote is actually provided by TrueCar.

Here you go - Never sign a blank contract - Avoid the yo-yo

The car dealership then made 37 inquiries on Thomas’ credit file and 33 on his son’s in a failed attempt to get financing for the car. “My credit score has gone down by 135 points,” Thomas wrote.

rsrvoir said:   I am generally a reserved person, but if a salesperson tried to publicly berate me for not going along with his sleazy tactics...let's just say it would be game on...
  
Yep, I would start by verbally tearing him apart. 

allowingtoo said:   Here you go - Never sign a blank contract - Avoid the yo-yo
 

This article might even be about the same Chicago car dealer that OP visited ?

Print this out and take it back with you

Chicago Tribune
Car Dealership In Court Facing Charges Of Fraud  

CRYSTAL LAKE — A lawsuit filed by Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan against a Crystal Lake car dealership is scheduled to be heard Monday in Circuit Court of McHenry County.

Ryan's office filed suit against Viking Dodge, 680 Terra Cotta Ave., company President Jim Samaras Jr., and employees James Kussman and Edward Antczak Wednesday, accusing the dealership of defrauding customers by having them sign blank contracts, thereby scamming thousands of dollars from car buyers.

The hearing centers on a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction, which seeks to stop Viking Dodge from allegedly continuing to deceive customers. The case is to convene before Judge James C. Franz.

Ryan is asking for restitution, rescission of contracts, costs of the investigation, a civil penalty of $50,000 and an additional penalty of $50,000 for each violation of the Consumer Fraud Act.

After news of the suit was made public Thursday, 25 more complaints poured into Ryan's office, most of them accusing the Crystal Lake car dealership of tricking customers into signing blank contracts when they purchased cars, then changing the terms of the contracts, said Lori Corral, spokeswoman for Ryan's office.

"This just makes our case stronger because it makes the problem clearer," Corral said.

The investigation into Viking began because 15 similar complaints were filed this year by customers who signed blank contracts at Viking. The suit alleges that Viking Dodge tricked customers into signing blank contracts or told customers they would mail them a contract of terms agreed upon verbally at the dealership.

When customers received copies of their contract, they discovered the terms allegedly had changed, such as the amount of monthly payments or the length of the contract. Those interested in filing complaints should call 1-800-386-5438, Corral said.

Crystal Lake Car Dealer Will Pay Big Fine 
A Crystal Lake car dealership accused by the state of consumer fraud has agreed to pay a $210,000 fine and stop asking customers to sign blank contracts.The concessions settle a civil lawsuit filed last fall in McHenry County Circuit Court by Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan, whose office revealed the terms of the settlement. The suit alleged that Viking tricked customers into signing blank contracts to purchase cars or told buyers that the dealership would mail them their contracts, reflecting terms agreed to orally.But when some customers received copies of their contracts, the terms had changed drastically, the suit said. In some cases, monthly car payments were higher and extended over longer periods than customers had agreed to, the suit said.

USAA have a good rate but sometime CSR is clueless. I paid my car off but they could not locate my title.

Too bad you didn't record him going off on you. That would have been priceless.

allowingtoo said:   
CRYSTAL LAKE — A lawsuit filed by Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan...


Amazing you can still find 1997 news items.
I knew it was old because MadHen replaced Ryan in 2003.

allowingtoo said:   Print this out and take it back with you

Chicago Tribune
Car Dealership In Court Facing Charges Of Fraud


The outcome of the above can be found here:
Crystal Lake Car Dealer Will Pay Big Fine

taxmantoo said:   
allowingtoo said:   
CRYSTAL LAKE — A lawsuit filed by Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan...


Amazing you can still find 1997 news items.
I knew it was old because MadHen replaced Ryan in 2003.

  I just Googled   car dealer blank contract chicago

From the mouth of the Illinois Statue:

Illinois Statute - MOTOR VEHICLE RETAIL INSTALLMENT SALES ACT 

(815 ILCS 375/3) (from Ch. 121 1/2, par. 563)
Sec. 3. (a) Every retail installment contract must be in writing, dated, signed by both the buyer and the seller, and, except as otherwise provided in this Act, completed as to all essential provisions before it is signed by the buyer.
(b) The printed or typed portion of the contract, other than instructions for completion, must be in size equal to at least 8 point type.
(c) The contract must contain printed or written in a size equal to at least 10 point bold type:
(1) Both at the top of the contract and directly above the space reserved for the signature of the buyer, the words "RETAIL INSTALLMENT CONTRACT";
(2) A specific statement that liability insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused to others is not included, if that is the case; and
(3) A notice as follows:
"Notice to the buyer.
1. Do not sign this agreement before you read it or if it contains any blank spaces.

2. You are entitled to an exact copy of the agreement you sign.
3. Under the law you have the right, among others, to pay in advance the full amount due and to obtain under certain conditions a partial refund of the finance charge."
(Source: P.A. 76-1781.)

IL is a mafia state.

I got an email from the dealership owner stating that he will speak to the parties involved and "be in touch". I'll post the name of the dealer after I hear back. It was not the dealer referenced in the article.

As for the deal - a competing dealer has a similar vehicle on its lot. It's a 2014 compared to a 2013, so much less in rebate $ and less of a discount, but I would be getting a 2014. Also won't get the financing .5% discount because this is not a USAA dealer, but I plan to have this paid off in 18 months or so, unless I get invest the $ elsewhere for a better return, so not a huge factor. I sent this other dealer an email stating that I will come in and buy for X price, so we'll see what happens. Even if the problem dealer offered me $1k off, I really don't want to do business with them.

And yes - IL is a political state and this dealer is big and well-connected. I actually looked for this vehicle in WI but haven't found one yet.

I think you opened a huge can of worms though. Let's talk about this a little. Not so much as bringing gender into this but I think in buying a car and dealing with Car dealers - it matters. Are you a female or male?

And really - how did this make you feel? I'll bet you're still feeling it.

Who's to say this dealer and/or salesman has not tried to do the same stunt with other people? And succeeded? Case in point - the Viking Dodge dealership. Looks like the AG in Illinois would not take trying to get someone signing a blank contract lightly. I wouldn't just brush this off. Sometimes one person CAN make a difference.

TheDiggler said:   
allowingtoo said:   Print this out and take it back with you

Chicago Tribune
Car Dealership In Court Facing Charges Of Fraud


The outcome of the above can be found here:
Crystal Lake Car Dealer Will Pay Big Fine

  That dealer, Viking Dodge, closed down ~2008, when Chrysler started revoking a lot of their problem dealers and those underperforming.  It was replaced by "Crystal Lake Chrysler-Jeep- Dodge," I'm not sure if it is run by the same folks as Viking. 

I am female. Do I think that factor into it? Yes! However I am in my 40s, college educated and hold a decent position at a prestigious Chicago based company. I don't look or act like I fell off a turnip truck.

How did it make me feel? Well, I plan to buy a vehicle elsewhere for more money rather than do business with original dealer. Should be enough said especially on this board.

Tinker2Evers2Chance said:   I am female.
Pics!

True - this board can be

I don't like a bully though. Especially one dealing with the public and in public. I don't care how well connected the dealer is.

Sigh - I have a friend that went to buy a new car for his wife. They would not sell it to him - said he "couldn't afford it". Wouldn't let him even test drive it. So he went down the street and bought a new car and paid cash. They were racist.  He went back by and honked the horn and waved at them. 

Do you know who decided to ask you to sign the blank financing contract when you came in with a credit union check for the full amount?
I'm thinking it might have been the Finance and Insurance manager.

If so, another reason why think I'm right to have made it a practice not to have anything to do with F&I since 1989. If the internet sales manager and a cashier can't complete the sale, then the GM is going to have to do some work or I'm walking, because I have no desire to ever again make the acquaintance of a F&I manager.

BTW, I agree with you on not outing the dealer until the owners respond, but it would have to be a very positive response to convince me that the DMV, attorney general and the press don't need to know about the blank contract scam. I can see why you're hesitant to deal with any outfit where the F&I manager could hand you a blank contract without being scared to death of getting fired.

Ask the competing dealer to meet or beat your USAA quote. They may very well do it to make the sale. Don't immediately assume they'll say no before you ask.

As a woman, I sympathize. I found that I was able to get much better quotes by using my first initial, last name only, and doing all my negotiating by email through dealership Internet departments. I was very careful to write in a gender-neutral manner. If I went to the dealership in person, I'd get salesmen offering MSRP and turning up the sleaze factor.

Skipping 141 Messages...
The news articles linked in this thread were easier to prove cases, where several victims signed a contract and had a copy, and also signed a blank contract which the dealership filled out with less favorable terms.

But, you've got to understand the MadHen family. Especially Lisa, who doesn't think she's risen to the top of her political career yet. 
If they can call a press release and get the Chicago Tribune to fawn over them for a day or two, anything is worth it.
If OP had signed the blank contract and given the "customer copy" to the AG's office, SOMETHING would have happened.

If OP had video of them berating her for not signing a blank contract, she could have gone to ABC7 News herself and the dealership would have gotten all the media attention instead of sharing it with AG MadHen.



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