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Old 12-23-2017, 12:51 AM   #1
travislambert

 
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Camaro ZL1 1LE Arrived with Quality Issues and Dealer Kept my Deposit

I attempted to purchase a 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE from Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake VA. The car had been previously ordered for dealer stock, but had not yet arrived to the dealership. I gave $1,000 as a good faith deposit for the car, but I wasn’t asked to sign any agreements. I was led to believe the car was “overdue” for delivery, and should be arriving soon. Prior to the deposit I expressed concerns about aluminum oxidation on the car. My concerns continued to increase as time elapsed while waiting for the car to be delivered, and I was very open about those concerns.

About 2 months after production, the car finally arrived. There was no mention of any potential issues with the car. The dealership is located about 8 hours away from my home (~6.5 if not pulling a car trailer), and I made this drive while towing my 2017 ZL1 I intended to trade. Immediately after seeing the car it was obvious the time it had been exposed to the Michigan winter had taken its toll. I politely asked for my deposit to be returned. The dealership not only refused to return my deposit, they immediately became rude and refused to acknowledge any point I was trying to make. They quickly told me that if I wasn’t going to buy the car I needed to leave the property. I tried several times to reason with the manager, but he just kept repeating “we’re keeping the deposit” and “you need to leave the property”. So, I started my 8 hour journey back home.

I have every phone conversation recorded (perfectly legal in WV and VA). I plan to post them at some point, but I haven't had time to redact credit card #s, etc. from the conversations.

This is a recording I captured the following day while speaking with the sales manager, Shaun House.


Here is a document I am compiling to turn over to an attorney. Normally I wouldn't post this, but this issue is so cut and dry the dealership literally has zero chance of keeping the deposit. In VA, if it's for more than $500, it pretty much has to be in writing and signed. There are few exceptions, but none apply here. We have nothing in writing, so none of details about the car's condition even matter.

CorrespondenceLog.pdf (At least take a peek at the document.)

Name:  2018-CamaroZL11LE.small.jpg
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These pictures are comparing the "brand new" 2018 ZL1 1LE to my 1 year old ZL1. (I absolutely did not retouch either photo, both are exactly as they were taken. I even purposely left the dust on my car to show that I didn't attempt to clean it in any way.)

Name:  Comparison.jpg
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Oh, and don't worry, I'll get my deposit back. I have a dispute filed with my CC. I can't see how that won't work out considering I didn't sign anything. If that doesn't work, I'll hire an attorney. I don't care what it cost me. These sleazeballs aren't getting a dime of my money.
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Last edited by travislambert; 12-30-2017 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 12-23-2017, 01:21 AM   #2
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In spite of everything that took place with this deal, I had no major issue with the dealership until they refused to return my deposit. In fact, the guy I was primarily working with, Shiloh, seemed like a decent, hard-working guy just trying to make a living for his family.

Unfortunately the sales manager Shaun House is your stereotypical slimy sales manager.

Any reasonable manger would have recognized the car had some cosmetic issues and may not be suitable for folks like myself who would be taking the car to shows, etc.. In spite of all I went through to get the car, I just wanted to walk away peacefully with my deposit.

In the end, I'll still be walking away with my deposit... just not as peacefully.
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Last edited by travislambert; 12-23-2017 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 12-23-2017, 01:43 AM   #3
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You'll have to read the correspondence log to fully appreciate this one:

@3m50s a surprise $99 supplier code fee can now be used in place of surprise $649 processing fee
Apparently, this is “the only way” to get around the $649 fee. You know, since honoring the original quote isn’t an option, not throwing in BS fees isn’t an option, and lowering the price of the car $649 to offset the fee isn’t an option.


This is a perfect example of why people hate having to go to the "stealerships". They wait until they think the buyer is committed and then slip in as many fees as they can. It's basically a criminal enterprise. Hopefully more people will start communicating in writing and/or record all conversations like I did. Their tactics are so obvious.
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Last edited by travislambert; 12-23-2017 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 12-23-2017, 02:09 AM   #4
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Right when he said that the only way they could waive the processing fee was to charge a supplier fee, I would've walked away from the deal.
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Old 12-23-2017, 02:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brAnd7onX View Post
Right when he said that the only way they could waive the processing fee was to charge a supplier fee, I would've walked away from the deal.
I hear you. Normally I would have too. The problem is you just have to move on to the next shady dealer. There's not a lot of these cars available, and all of the good dealers run out of allocations early.
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Old 12-23-2017, 06:57 AM   #6
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Escalate to GM.

Last edited by Nicul15; 12-23-2017 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:11 AM   #7
george
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That is why I dread going to car dealers. Chevrolet should be very concerned with that customer interaction.
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:24 AM   #8
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Forget GM, they have no power in this. Take all the stuff To the general manager. Write him first per certified letter. If That does not work, go find the owner. It’s probably owned by a corporation so you may have to go to another facility.
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:27 AM   #9
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In case you didn't already have this contact information - I saw this posted by the "Owner" in several dispute responses on Google reviews, encouraging direct contact.

General Manager, Bill Schneider directly at bschneider@priorityauto.com or 757-369-6600.
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:35 AM   #10
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Wow. Good luck!
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Old 12-23-2017, 09:06 AM   #11
travislambert

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infern0 View Post
In case you didn't already have this contact information - I saw this posted by the "Owner" in several dispute responses on Google reviews, encouraging direct contact.

General Manager, Bill Schneider directly at bschneider@priorityauto.com or 757-369-6600.
Thank you.

I noticed I have a bunch of typos, etc. in what I wrote at 3AM this morning. Once I get it cleaned up I'll shoot him an email.
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:01 AM   #12
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I was basically a broken record about my concern for oxidation. Not once did anyone send any relevant pictures or mention that the car did in fact arrive with bad oxidation.

@1m48s I fully explain my concern with the delivery delays ultimately resulting in severe oxidation of aluminum components


@1m13s I once again express concern with a possible condition issue due to weather


Second request for pictures (prior to drive) starts at 0:40.
@2m40s I once again explain my concerns for oxidation
@3m45s I explain I’m expecting condition as good or better than my current ZL1
@4m02s I explain that I don’t want any surprises after driving 6.5 hours
@4m40s I request a picture from “underneath” the car, under the hood, and outside


Also, if you view my emails and text messages in the correspondence log, you'll see I couldn't have been more clear about my concerns.
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:40 AM   #13
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While I understand your concern and do think you should be able to back out and get your deposit back, I'm not sure that aluminum surface oxidation can be called a quality issue, nor do I think that would cause any issues down the road. Your expectation does put the dealer in a bit of a bad position, since there's not really a clear spec on what's considered normal for the engine bay and underside aluminum components. What you consider acceptable, I may call unacceptable and where does the line get drawn?

I recall folks being disappointed in the cast aluminum strut towers, since the surface finish was not as good as stamped steel strut towers. The cast aluminum towers have significant advantages (although not from a surface finish perspective). My point here is that we don't know the spec and some may consider the cast hardware "too rough."

At the end of the day, if you perceive there to be a quality issue or imperfection in the car, I think you should be able to get your deposit back. In future, to avoid this scenario, it might be good to get in writing that you can get any deposit back for imperfections considered unacceptable at that time the car is inspected.

Good luck!!
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Old 12-23-2017, 12:36 PM   #14
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(Keep in mind this car wasn't custom ordered. It was ordered as dealer stock and was already built prior to my first contact with the dealer.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtirocz View Post
While I'm not sure that aluminum surface oxidation can be called a quality issue, nor do I think that would cause any issues down the road. Your expectation does put the dealer in a bit of a bad position, since there's not really a clear spec on what's considered normal for the engine bay and underside aluminum components. What you consider acceptable, I may call unacceptable and where does the line get drawn?
I understand what you're saying, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable either. What if it had a big scratch on a plastic panel? It's strictly cosmetic, but is that a quality issue? I think it would be, but it's subjective. While most would agree a big unsightly scratch is a quality issue, a smaller scratch may or may not be an issue, depending on the customer.

The excessive oxidation on this car was the equivalent of a big unsightly scratch. I absolutely believe in the case of this car, it was a quality issue. Unfortunately, I didn't get all of the pictures I would have like to have taken. The pictures I have do not do it justice. I mentioned taking more pictures of the car while at the dealer (after expressing concern), and a worker quickly moved the car into a detailing area restricted to employees only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtirocz View Post
I recall folks being disappointed in the cast aluminum strut towers, since the surface finish was not as good as stamped steel strut towers. The cast aluminum towers have significant advantages (although not from a surface finish perspective). My point here is that we don't know the spec and some may consider the cast hardware "too rough."
I remember this too, and it's still a problem although not as bad as early castings. The spec is whatever they can get the customer to accept. As customers we have to draw a line somewhere, otherwise quality will continue to be increasingly compromised to reduce production cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtirocz View Post
At the end of the day, if you perceive there to be a quality issue or imperfection in the car, I think you should be able to get your deposit back. In future, to avoid this scenario, it might be good to get in writing that you can get any deposit back for imperfections considered unacceptable at that time the car is inspected.
I feel I did anything and everything I could reasonably do to be open and honest about my concerns and expectations. If you haven't already, review the correspondence log, you'll see there's a lot more than I have listed here. Unfortunately, a dealer isn't going to sign any agreement like you mention. Even if they did, it'd still be subjective.

I know the dealer was in a bad spot here, but I was too. I was clear that I wanted a car that could be taken to shows, etc., but I didn't expect perfection. As the shipping delays started adding up, I continually voiced my increased concern for oxidation.

Where the dealer went wrong from my perspective is they should have taken the pictures I had asked for. I feel they purposely did not capture pictures of the problem areas. Of course, I could have demanded the correct pictures, but I was trying to be reasonable. I was in the process of loading my car. The salesman was on his day off Chistmas shopping, so I kinda felt bad trying to push the issue. I had a window of opportunity with the weather, so I needed to leave when I did, correct pictures or not. In hindsight, I feel it was strategic on the dealership's part, but I didn't know that at the time and was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Also, maybe a mention of the oxidation before I took off work and made the 16 hour round trip drive. They knew I was concerned. They knew the car had a problem. It took them almost an hour to show the car to me after I arrived at the dealership. They kept trying to get me more invested in the deal with paperwork, trade processing, etc., before letting me see the car. Again, in hindsight it was clear what they were doing.

In spite of everything that I feel the dealer did wrong in handling this situation, all I wanted was to walk away peacefully with my deposit. At that point I'd still be out ~$2,000 in my own losses, but I was okay with that. What I wasn't okay with was the dealership trying to profit from me due to a problem beyond my control.
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