So I bought a new Toyota Highlander Hybrid for my wife this past weekend from a local Toyota dealership in the area. Sport City Toyota. I had bought from them once before and thought they were a reasonable dealer.
I thought I’d write up a article about a pricing scam they ran on me (apparently BOTH times!) and I imagine run on others as well. Buyer beware in dealing with places like this. Anyway, on with the scam…
So I work out a pretty decent deal on the SUV, $40,500. According to the vehicle sticker the MSRP was $45,223 or so. Needless to say according to the truecar.com website (a EXCELLENT resource) I find this is a great deal and accept to buy at this price. Only problem is, they have a finance guy who’s sole intent is to mislead you into paying more. Willing or not.
So in the finance office they as normal suggest after market warranties. However they don’t show costs for these, instead they opt to show monthly payments for the vehicle loan. Figuring this is part of a scam I did the math to compare the base number to the package numbers and calculate real cost… Little did I know they must intend you to do this and the real scam will still fly by you! But lets move on, the numbers show the silver package (the cheapest plan) to cost about $23 more a month. Across a 60 month loan this is $1400. And to help seal the deal they tell you this “allows” you to get a better interest rate then otherwise possible (Obviously I didn’t catch this at the time, but I believe the interest rate would have really applied with or without the agreed plan. Another Scam!). Regardless I accepted as I wanted the lifetime oil changes they offered with this. The $1400 worked out to only be $250 roughly at the lower interest rate paid if I keep the loan the entire term due to the decrease interest.
They work out the papers and the numbers seem to match up. However there is a problem I didn’t catch until driving home afterward. It started to really bother me until I did all the numbers and couldn’t work out where $1086 of the price I paid went… It simply was not supported by any document. In fact the vehicle purchase price went up exactly that amount but they hide it in a number with tax’s included to mask the change.
Quite simply, Line 1 of the finance contract minus tax should be the agreed price of the $40,500. But it’s $1086 too high! I turn around and go back and ask about this “issue”. They explain that it’s the cost of the lifetime oil changes and windshield package that are “bundled” into the warranty. Yet their price is most certainly not part of the bundle. In fact the original numbers they showed as a base monthly cost already included this $1086 BEFORE I agreed to it. Such that it would seem to cost significantly less then it did. Of course pointing this out and requesting to decline these they ended up lowering the price to a measly $156 over. I begrudgingly accepted since I did want the aftermarket warranty despite my knowledge it’s most likely worthless in reality. They re-did the paperwork and I went on my way.
After thinking about this for several days I decided I most certainly want to make this public, it’s very sad they are resorting to tactics like this and I encourage you all to VERIFY the numbers on the contract. Even with my normal level of watching these numbers closely I missed it until after the fact.
I dug out the contract paperwork from the truck I bought from them 1.5 years ago… Guess what, they did it to me on that one also! Of course I can’t do anything about that sale after this long a time but I most certainly can tell my peers about what happened to me. They might not consider this a scam, but I ask you what else could you call adding a number into a pre-agreed upon price without saying anything about it, or placing it anywhere on paper to be accounted for?