I am so very ashamed. I'm normally what one would call a cautious consumer. I'm a very skeptical fellow. So when I bought my Honda Minivan in 2005 I checked out a number of dealers for the best deal. I went on line and consulted Edmond's car guide and a number of other buying sites that told me what I should be paying. Then I armed myself with steel resolve and went in and shucked off all the typical dealer bullshit and bought the van at the price I planned.
And so, in 2011 I did the same thing in planning the purchase of my wife's Honda CRV. Checked out multiple sites on line and had a firm price in mind when I walked in the door. I already had financing lined up and approved and all systems were go.
So after finding the CRV my wife wanted we went in and began that long suffering bargaining process...the one where you know you're going to get the price you want but must keep saying no to all the necessary dealer bullshit...the salesman wearing out a path between the customer desk and the sales manager's office, ad infinitum.
Note; both of these purchases were with Earnhardt Honda in Avondale, Arizona.
So we finally came to my already agreed upon price. Then we weeded out all the extra stuff offered (at a fancy price), then we were ushered into the finance office. Now, the finance guy looked like a church reverend; he had one of those good guy faces that you trust immediately....even old curmudgeonly and cynical and skeptical "me".
So Mr. Finance offered us a finance rate that was something like 4.99 percent. We declined, already having a 2.99% approved offer from my bank. So Mr. Finance then begins offering mud flaps and sealant and all manner of extras that could be rolled right into the contract...and we spent a good half hour saying "no." Then Mr. Finance offered us an oil change service for as long as we owned the car for $1,338.00. We said no. Then he said, how about I drop the finance rate to 1.99 percent if you take the service offer. Well I mentally calculated the costs of ten years (our normal Honda ownership) of four times a year synthetic oil and filter changes and decided that the offer was reasonable, considering a one percent drop in the finance rate partly pays for ten years of oil and filter service. So, I signed the contract.
So, blame it on the previous two hours of scouring the fine print on the car buying process, or blame it on the Norman Rockwell face of the finance guy, or blame it on a rare moment of extreme stupidity...but my wife went in this week for an oil change. The service tech said no more free oil changes...that the goodies were only good for three years or 45,000 miles..which we had now exceeded.
So I take out the contract and, sure as hell, it says 3 years or 45,000 miles, not "Life time of ownership". So go ahead and call me stupid. Because I am. $1,338.00 would have bought us 6 years of oil changes, not three years as we had with this.
Not taking another ten minutes to scour that finance contract cost me dearly. Taken in by a Norman Rockwell face cost me dearly.
Yes, I posted my complaint on Yelp, perhaps helping someone else about this scam. And no, I will never go back and buy another Honda from these people. But my confidence is now severely shaken....the surety that I can always ferret out a scam has disappeared. I'm likely to be kicking helpless dogs and cursing Mother Theresa for a time. But, I'll bet you I'll read every one of those tiny lines in any contract I sign in the future.
Right now I am just ashamed.