East Coast Toyota, NJ: Extort Funds, Refusal of Sale, Refusal of Refund
RAV4 Base 4x4 4Cyl with (QV)ExtraValuePackage + (TH)3rd Row Sears + (CF)Carpet Floor Referred by a friend who was shopping EastCoast at the time, EC gave us an internet quote of 23, 900$ & insisted TWICE that if we came in, we'd get a better quote. So with a good starting quote and the incentive of a better one on top of friendly referal, we rented a car, and drove the family from NY to NJ: Mommy Daddy w/ a 3yr old & 4yr old. Sure enough, when we get there, everyone seems very friendly. In fact for the most part throughout the entire experience, nobody we dealt w. got nasty, which is a pretty big thumbs up for them on that part. But that certainly doesn't mean they didn't try your usual tricks of the trade, they just do it in a calmer tone and a smile on their face. Their attitude and tone DEFINITELY dimmed considerably after we signed the Buyers Order WorkSheet. So I informed them of our internet quote, & Rolando (salesguy) comes back & agrees we can have it at 23.9K. But we reminded them that we were told we'd get a BETTER quote if we came in, so he went away, came back & again.. 23.9K & says it's a REALLY good price already, stating the internet quote is usually just a teaser to get ppl in, they usually don't honor eQuotes. So we insisted we're here today for a BETTER one & he "jokingly" said "so if I drop 5$ off, will that be a better quote?" & I chuckle along and remind him I'm looking for something reasonable here. He leaves & comes back dropping only 50$. So I asked for something closer to 23.5$. He says he'll throw in 1yr free maintenance @ every 5000/mi. I asked him to show me his invoice price on the car & he replies that knowing the invoice price doesn't matter (& never showed it either). I'm frustrated they're barely budging and said if they agree to 23.7$ (midrange betw MSRP & Invoice) then & I'm sold.He comes back w 28K but only 1 oil change. Yes, I'm a pretty bad bargainer, probably why I hate it and almost never do it, I usually just walk out when I'm not happy w. the 1st price I hear. He then whips out a referal postcard that gives 100$ each to the referal & the referer asking us to tell our friends to buy from EC also. Rolando also mentions he works ONLY off CustomerSatisfactionIndex (CSI) and does NOT make commission (which is probably a lie). So I mentioned my friend actually referred me but he hasnt bought the car yet, if we can redeem the referal promo. Rolando runs off for the umpteenth time to ask. Returns with a NO, he has to have already purchased. So Rolando brings up a great idea, I could reverse referral my friend & it'd be the same. GREAT IDEA!! I'm SOLD!! 23.8K -100$ referal bonus = 23.7K ... we begin the Buyers Order Worksheet. I casually text my friend notifying him of the bonus only to find out he already closed on the deal w Sales-Larry TWO days ago. So I backtrack while Mommy goes over the forms, asking for the referal bonus since he DID buy the car already. Rolando-Off...Rolando-Returns, NO, I MUST have his referal card. Mind you, this is a VERY simplistic postcard w/ no T&Cs nor offer codes on it, nothing, just a plain postcard with one sentence simply stating the 100$ each offer and "Rolando" scribbled in sharpie across the bottom, he has a ton of these (untagged) in his drawer. So I pleaded, it's a simple card, just fill out my friend's name and we'll call it a day. He refuses, says "the guys" in the back won't allow it, also said 100$ comes out of Larry's pocket & he won't do it. I remind him this is a LEGITIMATE referal & the only reason I contacted EC was b/c he mentioned it, and only came in b/c they offerd better quote in person. Things start getting tense over this 100$(x2) referal promo, and while Mommy is on the phone w Insurance, I'm still back & forth w/ Rolando. At the same time, he's trying to keep the paperwork moving w/ mommy while he argues w me. Rolando insist I STILL have my 100$ as long as I still give it to someone, and ofcourse I said NO, I don't kno anybody else whos anywhere near the market for a car..and to convince them to come to EC (especially after they BARELY budged on the quote)??.. i get on the phone w my friend about the referal and turns out he NEVER even got a referal card!! I bring this up and he calls my friend a LIER insisting EVERYONE ALWAYS gets a referal card. NOW, I'm being questioned about the legitimacy of the referal, saying EC MUST have the referal card to kno it's a real referal. So obviously, I remind them I have no idea who Larry is, yet I was able to mention him..and ofcrouse they respond "theres a lot of Larrys". He comes back & forth talking w/ "his guys" and I'm on the phone w. my friend about the referal. Rolando then asks me what car was bought and what name, so I gave it and they looked him up. Rolando comes back "He didn't even pick up his car yet!! THAT's why he didn't get his referal card!" (now mind you, they are now ADMITTING he didn't get a referal card...ALSO, mind you, I'm not even in the F&I office yet, but I have a referal card in hand). They're all aggrivated that I won't budge, accusing me of renegotiating, while I remind them that the 100$ was factored in to my decision to buy. At some point they agreed to honor the referal bonus saying my friend will get his 100$ when he comes in to pick up his car (on their word).. and I got 100$ off 23.9K so it's settled. Can you imagine that? they justified my bargain price with NOW substituting it with the referal promo. so I had to REPEAT ..AGAIN (probably at LEAST the 5th time by now) that my decision to buy was INCLUSIVE of this 100$ referal bonus. Much of this is probably out of order because they just kept coming back with SOOOO many excuses just for $100 that they would have otherwise given out easily if they had simply given the postcard to my friend who wouldve have SURELY given it to me. He goes on to tell me I can give him MY card, and we'll both redeem when he picks up his car. Ofcourse with nothing officially in writing, they can conveniently forget or deny us with some other nonsense made up "rule" AFTER I drive off the LOT. So I work it out w my friend that I'd leave today empty handed and come back with him when he picks up his car to ensure he gets his referal bonus, and I get my 100$ also. This gets them all nervous so "the guys" behind the desk calls me over and lectures me on bickering over so little and being unfair to them (which in perspective, while it's 100$ to me, it's probably less than 15$ in commission to them), and how they'v given me such a great deal and saying I'm accusing them of making empty promises (which I didn't, merely stating that with no official documented promise of $100, anything goes.). So after his little lecture (i guess this is what you have to put up with being in your mid 20s, everyone thinking you're an *** pushover punk), he said he'll do me another "favor" and he'll put it down in writing that upon pickup of my friend's car, he will be honored 100$ referal bonus and me my 100$ bonus as well and this will be noted at the end of the Paperwork that will be signed in the F&I office. Funny how this "favor" of his is exactly what I've been asking for over the past hour. But ofcourse I don't get my written promise right away, it'll be noted later on which allows them the flexibility of conveniently "forgetting" or have more time to come up w. another excuse while they keep me moving closer to buying this car. OFF into the F&I room: we signed a few blank forms (which were pretty harmless, for now), and we get to the arbitration contract. I refused to sign in favor of Arbitration and tossing my rights to sue (as recommended by many carbuying guides) and was told I HAVE to, it's required by Toyota. I insist it's not necessary so the F&I accuses me of being "difficult" and went to talk to someone about the arbitration. He comes back and tells me again, I HAVE TO sign it otherwise we can't go thru with the purchase. so I reluctantly agreed so we can move on. then we stumble upon signature for VIN Windows Etching and I refused knowing it's a notorious optional addon. He casually tells us it's already included in the price of our car, I don't have to pay any extra for it. what he REALLY meant was they had already charged the added 175$ on TOP on my 23.8K$ on my Buyers Worksheet carefully labelled as "THEFT DETERRENT" for 175$ and I couldn't believe I had overlooked that. But it was so carefully hidden, even the 175$charge was typed in under another value that was "XXXXX" out so my eyes musTV thought whatever charge was originally there was waived. I had to reword my question 4 times before I could get him to specifically say I was charged for it. YET STILL, he insisted it's required, and everyone gets charged for it and he can't charge everyone else for it and not me. I asked him to point out to me where the charge was and he directed my attention to the Buyers Worksheet where I clearly point out to HIM that it DOES indeed indicate "(OPTIONAL)". He goes back out saying he needs to talk to someone about it again and finally comes back with Rolando my original Salesguy and this time both of them confronted me and said windows etching is a must and if I don't want to pay for windows etching, then there's nothing they can do, and I can't buy the car. At this point, this is the third time they have told me I MUST or I CANT buy the car, and I'm tired of it. Either they think they're calling my bluff or they're genuinely tired of dealing with me (which I kno was quite some frustration for such little things, but however, they were all little things that they tried to force me into and refused to back off when I said no).. so after 6+hrs with my girlfriend and 2 toddlers, I called it quits in the F&I room. If I'm already having in F&I over windows etching, I don't want to kno what else they'll try once we get down to financing and warranty and everything else. Seems they were trying to take advantage of knowing we're 1st time buyers, young couple w kids, expecting us to be ignorant. seriously, with a 22.7 invoice on the car, they would only budge 100$ below their opening quote of 23.9K. THEN, they'll hassle me to deny me a legitimate 100$ bonus on a loosely constructed referal program with countless excuses, some contradicting the others. And Finally, on top of that, they'll force feed me added services that I don't want and call me difficult for refusing it. and then outright REFUSING to sell me the car if I don't agree to buy their extra services!! What's Next??!! I HAVE to take their "Paint Protection"?? I HAVE to take the extended warranty?? I HAVE to spend 1000$ worth of Maintenance care per year?!?! They didn't get nasty, Offensively Loud, or curse me out.. but that didn't stop them from being insulting, condescending, and outright LIED about many things to try and cheat me. I surely don't believe this type of extortion and blackmail is legal and would be contacting Toyota http://www.toyota.com/help/contactus.html New Jersey Better Business Bureau https://odr. bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx?siteID=89 New Jersey Attorney General & Division of Consumer Affairs http://www.state. nj. us/lps/ca/ocp/ocpform2.htm FEDERAL TRADES COMMISSION https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ ==================================================== Followup to my previous review on Purchasing experience that went sour.. this is regarding the refund of my downpayment for the new car that they refused to sell to me. I had placed a total 5000$ downpayment on the RAV4 in their suggested "good faith" that I'm serious about purchasing before continued negotiation on the price. (BAD IDEA!!) This isn't just $200 that most people would put down.. this is FIVE THOUSAND$, I'm SERIOUS about buying that day. SO I gave them $2000 in Money Order (VERY BAD IDEA- ALways in Credit Card!!) and $3000 in Credit Card since they refused to accept more than that via CC. But they still insisted on $1100 ABOVE invoice (quite outrageous btw, an avg deal is about 500$ above invoice), with a nondocumented promise of $100 referal refund at signing. After unsuccessfully trying to forcefeed me added charges by lieing that they're neccessary, they refused to sell me the car because I refused the extra charges. So I ask for my $5000 back. They refused that also. They said refunds are only processed on Fridays (It was Monday). I asked about my 2000$ Money Order.. and they said "it's already in the safe, we'll issue a check refund on Friday". Fine, I left, very upset they wasted 6 hrs of my time. Come the FIRST Friday, I called EastCoast to make sure my refund will be processed. They tell me I have to Drive back into the dealership for a magnetic card swipe for the refund (they didn't mention this Monday), and the $2000 check will go in the mail that day. I'm outraged, they want me to rent a car to drive across state lines paying 20$ tolls each way for a refund they owe me. I call my CC company and my CC confirms that a Magnetic swipe is NOT necessary for this refund, all they have to do is refund it from their system. EastCoast is LYING about physical CreditCard Presence. I filed for CC Chargeback of $3000 and CreditCardCompany says they will refrain from a forced chargeback until 30days after the initial charge, they will give the merchant 30days to refund themselves. I wait until the following Wednesday and still NO CHECK in the mail. From NJ to NY, if they dropped the mail on Friday, I should have it by Saturday, LATEST would be Monday. **when I had called eastcoast, the CSR transfer me to Orlando, the Sales Manager that I dealt with that day. My fiance actually spoke to him since the car was to be under her name and he went off on a rant trashtalking about me of how obnoxious and unreasonable, and difficult I was in negotiating the price. Professional? I think not, it was hard to keep him on topic about the refund. Come 2nd Friday, I called EASTCOAST again for my refund. Again, we were forced to speak to Orlando, which we really didn't want to since in every instance of interaction w/ him, he seems to have no interest in cooperating. He again, reaffirms that we MUST come to locatin for the CreditCard refund, and he'll followup on the Check refund and call us back and send us a fax confirmation. He never did. Next week rolls around.. NO CHECK IN THE MAIL. 30Days later, we have not received our $3000 CreditCard Refund willingly by EastCoast, so ChaseBank pulls the funds back forcefully. EastCoast can still appeal the chargeback and recharge us again requiring us to re-appeal, but fortunately, they didn't.. but I don't see why they would since all the paperwork we initially sent in was pretty open&shut clear what happened. 50+days later, we still have NO CHECK REFUND for $2000 from eastcoast. I filed reports with the BBB.org, FTC, Attorney Generals of NY and NJ, and filed a complaint with Toyota Headquarters, and researching Small Claims Court against EastCoast. Unfortunately Toyota HQ can only note the complaint and alert the dealership, but cannot authoritively instruct them to refund. ToyotaHQ instructs me to contact EastCoast again and ask to speak specifically to the CustomerRelationsSpecialist. So I called eastcoast and ask for CustomerRelationsSpecialist and was transferred accordingly. Spoke with Mark Catalano on a Monday, he said he'd research the matter and return my call the next day. NextDay Tuesday, Mark calls us back and says he will issue a check refund for $2000 that same day, if I could come in for pickup. I said no to pickup so he agreed to mail it. I asked for a fax confirmation and he said OK. I never recvd the Fax confirmation. Wednesday =NO CHECK. Thursday =NO CHECK. Friday ("refund day") and it's his day off, I leave a msg. Friday Night, I find my $2000 check from EastCoast, FINALLY. The check was printed on Tuesday, and obviously mailed BEFORE Friday if It's in my mailbox by Friday. REFUNDS ARE ONLY PROCESSED ON FRIDAYS? I call BULLS8lT!! Now if Customer Service didn't INSIST on having us speak with Orlando & Rolando, this wouldve been resolved a LONG time ago. Thank You Mark Catalano, but no thank you East Coast Toyota. I will never buy from them ever unless they can beat my best offer by 300$ OTD with no bs from the salesman nor the F&I, and I'm not putting more than $100 downpayment. If you have a smooth experience, Great. If you run into the slightest problem with them, take your money and run!
New York, New York
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