Sleazy car salesman: Would you be as upset as I?

Sleazy car salesman: What would you do now? Would you be as pissed as I am?

I went shopping for a Honda Accord because of a recommendation. One dealer gave me an over-the-phone quote better than any other. At the end of the test drive, the salesman now said that the quoted price did not include the $97 wheel locks (which were on every car on the lot), which were not optional. The salesman said the lock-key was in the glove compartment. I was a bit annoyed that the over-the-phone quoted price was a bait-and-switch, but I was too old and tired to complain at the time.

A few weeks later, I was rummaging through the glove compartment when I noticed that there was no key for the wheel locks. Hmmmm. Then, I took a look at the wheels and noticed that the wheel locks had been removed. (I assume they had been removed during dealer prep because the salesman had not told the service department to leave them). So I looked at the sales contract. There was a line item for $97, but the description was conspicuously blank.

So I fired off an email to the salesman demanding a refund. When he didn’t respond after two weeks, I fired off a snail mail to both the sales manager and the salesman. The salesman called me and in a contemptuous tone said that the refund would be sent as he slammed down the phone.

Another month passed without the refund. During that period, I noticed that wheel locks for my Honda were selling on Amazon for $42. So I called the dealer’s parts department. They sell the wheel locks for $56. Not only did I pay for a product neither desired nor received, but I paid 73% more than the dealer’s list price. Another letter to the sales manager and salesman was mailed two weeks ago without any response.

Would you be as pissed as I am? What would you do?

When things like that happen I just remember the story of the scorpion and the frog.

In a word, no. I expect a certain amount of shenanigans to go on when dealing with a car dealership. Only getting screwed out of $97 is a win in my book.

if the wheel locks were on the purchase agreement but were not delivered, then they are in breach of contract. if they don’t make you whole, then your only option is to sue, but whether that’s worth your time and effort is up to you.

and honestly, you should have walked away the instant they said you had to pay for dealer add-ons you didn’t want and they refused to remove. like the dealership I read about that had every car pinstriped and added $500 to the price. If you don’t want it, don’t accept it. if they won’t budge, walk. Don’t bend over and take it and then look for ways to try to get it back after the fact.

Pissed about being charged for something I didn’t receive? Yes, that’s straight fraud.

Pissed that they charged more for something installed on a new car versus straight from the parts department or off Amazon? No, that’s the way pricing works.

Why are you sending letters? You have a car, use it.

Drive over there and demand to see the manager about them stealing the wheel locks you paid for. Demand it from someone sitting at a desk with a customer in front of him.

Just interrupt them mid sentence, if it’s your salesman all the better, if it’s not, you’ll get attention just the same. Don’t yell, just be very clear that they forced you to pay for an item that was pre-installed on the car, removed them before delivering the car, and are not giving you the refund you deserve.

The upcharge (even based on the quoted cost from the dealer) is going to include labor. Yeah, it only takes a few minutes to put them on, but they’re still going to pass that $100/hour charge to you.
This is probably also just one of their little money makers. When I got my current car they automatically include all weather floor mats, mud/splash guards and one other thing I can’t remember right now. They charge $500 and it’s not an option. I just about walked out because of that one. I told them I didn’t want them, I don’t need them and that I was insulted that they required me to put $500 down just to reserve this model car when it comes in, then they put all that money towards an accessory package I have no interest in. It took a ton of back and forth, but eventually they waived the charge (and I still got all the stuff). And, FWIW, I saw the car I turned in sitting on their lot and they added all those same things to it.

As for not getting the locks, not getting a response to the email and not getting a refund…someone mentioned suing. I don’t think that would be worth it. After the cost to file and spending time it court, you probably wouldn’t even break even.

Personally, I’d suggest either going to the dealership, finding a [sales?] manager, showing them the contract and, calmly, explaining that you didn’t get the wheel locks and you’d like your money back.
If it still doesn’t happen, I’d send off an email to your state’s AG as well as your state’s consumer protection agency. Also, honestly, I get really good results reporting this kind of stuff to the BBB.
Regarding the price, I’m still kicking myself for not taking the locks off my last car when I turned it in. I knew I could probably sell them on Craigslist or ebay for 50 bucks or so. I was more concerned that the dealer would ding me for that (it was a lease). They wouldn’t have even noticed.

ETA, that accessory package I mentioned, that they charge $500 for, cost about $300-$400 if you buy it on your own, even from the dealer.

File a theft report with the local police or county sheriff.

When I bought my Honda Fit, we agreed on a price and then they tried to add cost for the wheel locks (that were already on the car) and the plastic protecting the edges of the doors when they were opened. I argued that we had agreed to a price for the car as presented, and it was presented with these features in place. They backed down and gave them to me.

As for the OP’s situation, yes, I’d be pissed by this. One weapon you have is the post-sales survey from American Honda. The dealers really want a good rating from these surveys, so you could ding them in the survey or at least threaten to do so.

Personally, I would have driven back to the dealer and had a polite and cordial conversation as to why my receipt included wheel locks, but they obviously hadn’t been installed.

Holy shit.


So easy to resolve. Point at the car… no wheel locks. Point at the receipt… charged for wheel locks. 1 of 2 options is completed… either the wheel locks are installed, or the 97 bucks is refunded. Done.

To hell with the sales manager; march your ass up to the main office and speak to either the general manager or the owner. Present your evidence and name names. When you get your check, go on Yelp or other review sites and blast their asses.

The other tact would be to contact your local News on Your Side. A camera crew showing up at a car dealer for possible bad publicity will net you your money in no time.

Here is where I think you lost most of us.

Tangent: Do wheels really get stolen? I’ve never had wheel locks and don’t believe I’ve known anyone with wheel locks and I’ve never heard of wheels getting stolen.

Do you not have small claims court where you are located? This is the exact type of thing that it is useful for. File with the court, then personally serve the manager with legal notice. If he’s the hard-ass type, I’d also mention you will be talking to a reporter about your case right after you serve him. I’ll bet that you’ll have a check before you can even walk off the lot.

If it were me, I’d just blow the whole thing off, even though I’d have hard feelings. I would rather spend time on other things than chasing down wheel locks.

But if the OP wants to pursue this, I agree that going down to the dealership is now the way to go.

Go to their Facebook page and tell all.

No, but apparently wheel locks do :wink:

I’d think this would be a civil matter since it’s a contract issue, right? Even so, the police can’t do anything about it other than write a report, especially since no one ever actually stole the locks.

That seems to depend on the area. On the one hand, the last time my dad got a new car, locks included, he had them put the regular lugnuts back on. When they seemed surprised, he asked how often wheels get stolen, to which they replied that it didn’t happen that often. Then he asked how often that have to remove wheel locks without keys because the customer didn’t have them. They said that happens a few times a week.
On the other hand, it does happen. In fact, it was getting to be an issue around me a few summers ago. People would steal all the wheels off a few cars on a single (often times busy) road in one night. They were apparently getting fairly good at it.
It’s my understanding that if you put a cinder block under the frame, you can let the air out of the tires enough to slide the wheel off. I could imagine this wouldn’t take more than a few minutes if you had two or three people.

Personally, I don’t think it’s worth paying the $50 or $100 fee and having to show up in court (and convince the judge) over $97.

Wheel locks are pretty useless.

Let’s say I want to steal your wheels, and you have wheel locks. There’s a very high probability you keep the key in your glove compartment. I simply break in your car, get the key, jack up the car, and remove the wheels.