A Dealership Debacle

Seven On Your Side
October 13, 2008 2:16:46 PM PDT
It's become a trendy offer from car dealerships to get buyers back in showrooms; more than a thousand dollars in free gas if you buy a car. But one consumer says he was baited and switched when an offer of free gas, dried up.Al Buttafuoco told Seven ON Your Side's Tappy Phillips he loves his new Honda. But he's not happy about the deal he got from Honda of Staten Island. "They sent me a flyer, offering to take care of the end of the lease I had at the time and they also offered me a supplementary gas voucher," Al said.

A certificate worth more than fifteen hundred dollars was mailed to Al by Honda of Staten Island. So he went there and made a deal on a new Honda Civic. Al said, "I mentioned the voucher to him (the dealership's saleman), at that point, he said that, 'well it's applied to the price of the car.'"

But on Al's purchase agreement he found no discount. So Al complained to the dealership. But he says he was intimidated. "A bunch of the salesmen came around, the managers came around, and I think I had about seven or eight guys around me."

When we went to the dealership, we had a similar experience. A Honda of Staten Island employee shoved our cameraman before we had a chance to even ask a question. The encounter became so heated - we called the local police.

But we left the dealership their attorney told us Al had some good news coming.

"I could't believe it, it was so fast," Al said.

Al got a letter from the dealership's lawyer. Al didn't get the discount (originally), the letter says, because the model Al bought was not included in the offer. Even though the certificate Al got says valid as discount with "any Honda Lease." But, the lawyer said future advertisements would include a clearer explanation of eligibility requirements. And he promised Al a check for the full amount of the voucher, more than $1500.

And that made Al very happy. "Thank you. It's so nice of you."

Story by: Tappy Phillips
Produced by: Steve Livingstone