Rant ahead. Rachel and I are starting to look around for another car – we’ve been a one car family for a long time, and it’s worked well for us. Especially when we lived near the MAX light rail, and I could take it to and from work. But, since we bought our house, and since our kids are getting bigger and more involved in activities (Emma started preschool this week), we’re thinking it’s time to get a second car. We love our little 2002 Subaru WRX wagon, but we need something a little bigger – a full size sedan, or *gasp* a minivan.
Anyway, I was poking around Edmunds.com the other night, and wanted to get some local dealer quotes on a Hyundai Sonata. Edmunds.com happily offered to request a quote from 4 or 5 dealerships in the Portland area. All I had to do was enter my name, email address, and phone number. There was a selection to choose how you wanted to be contacted – I didn’t want to deal with talking to car salesmen on the phone, and we’re not looking to buy right away, so I checked the box for “email me only – don’t call”.
Here’s where the rant starts. And I know you’re all yelling at your computer screen “what did you think would happen?!” Or maybe not. I new what I was getting in to, exposing my soft white underbelly to the sharks at the car dealerships. But I figured, “hey, maybe they’ll respect my wishes, and only email.” Besides, I gave my home number, which I never answer because I’m rarely there (and we let it go to voicemail if we don’t recognize the caller ID).
Yet, within 12 hours, I started getting unknown callers on my cell phone (through my GrandCentral number, which is the one listed on my blog, and on our home voicemail message). Not only had the weaselly car salesmen not read or understood the option I checked for “email me only – don’t call”, they had apparently either written down my cell number from our voicemail message, or Googled me and gotten my number from my site (I HIGHLY doubt this is what happened).
I used GrandCentral’s “listen in while they leave a voicemail” option on the calls, like I do with all of my unknown calls, and got irate by the messages they were leaving. None of them left a quote, like I had requested. All of them said, in essence, “hey, give us a call, and we’ll get you what you need!” *shady crooked grin* The messages got immediately deleted, and I crossed the dealerships in question off of my “might ever possibly get my business for buying a new car” list.
Not all of them stalked me over the phone against my wishes. Two dealerships (I honestly didn’t bother to check the names of the ones that did and didn’t call me, or I’d be listing them here to shame them) actually contacted me by email, like I had requested. Strangely, the two emails I got were from women, while the phone calls were from men. Both emails were to the effect of “let us know what options, etc. you’re looking for, and we’ll get you a quote.” I responded to both. One replied back, quoting me MSRP. Thanks. I could have looked that up. Oh, wait! I DID look that up, along with invoice, and option pricing. What part of “dealer quote” didn’t you understand? Maybe they only sell at MSRP. I won’t be finding out one way or another, because they got crossed off the list.
Of the 5 dealerships from whom I requested a quote, only ONE of them actually gave me what I had requested – a quote of their price, with rebates. I guess the rest of them either can’t read, or don’t care enough about not being an idiot to get my business.
I’m kind of dismayed by the whole prospect, and I doubt I’ll be requesting any more dealer quotes from Edmunds.com. But if I do decide to buy a Hyundai Sonata, it’s going to be from the one dealership that didn’t ignore what I wanted, or treat me like they didn’t care.
I hate the car buying process. Why does it have to be such a pain in the butt? Does anyone know of a better way? Anyone have a cheap sedan or minivan you want to sell me?