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by Kristen P.
Golden Rule and "right and fair" not upheld at allDear Benny Yount,
I am writing to share with you how much I admire your policy of upholding The Golden Rule in your business practices (Always treat other people as you would want to be treated and always endeavor to do what is right and fair). In addition I feel your idea of focusing on the three C’s: Communication, Consistency, and Commitment are very admirable in the business world. It is refreshing to hear that you stress “trying to get everything 100% right and fair.” I have spent my whole adult life in the service to others in the educational and medical fields working with hearing impaired children (and adults) and their families. I strive to follow these principles in both my work and my personal life. It is good to hear others strive to live up to these principles as well.
Right now I am working as an Itinerant Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (children); I am a Guardian Ad Litem; and I am the primary care-giver for a parent with mid to late stage Alzheimers.
This brings me to an experience I had at your dealership on July 30, 2019. I would imagine that since you hold the beliefs (mentioned above) to be important you also feel the staff and employees of your dealership should as well. I went to your dealership to consider a trade down from a 2017 Subaru Outback to a 2015 Subaru Outback. My goal was to not only reduce monthly payments but to also reduce my over all principal balance (which was explained to the sales person and the financial officer). I was able to handle the payments I had on the 2017, but due to some family circumstances I wanted to try and reduce my bottom line expenses. I thought this move would help achieve that goal.
As you might know buying a vehicle can be a stressful and stress-filled experience. I am the type of car-buyer who keeps my cars for a long time (my last car, a Subaru Forester had well over 200,000 miles on it and was running well). I also came to the dealership as a single female anxious that I would be an easy target for being taken advantage of in a situation such as this. Nevertheless I tend to trust others and wanted to believe I would not experience this type of treatment.
Just to recount, I had a 2017 Subaru Outback that I was considering trading in for a 2015 Outback. The price was $15,500 and my trade was to be $20,200. Prior to going to the sales office I asked numerous times what the interest rate was figuring out to be (as this would be a contributing factor in my decision). I never got an answer. When I got to the signing table I was told that the going interest rate was 6.88%. At that time I was ready to leave I was aware that I could get a 4.5% rate at the local credit union and was more than happy to do so. I actually was in the process of walking out to think things over (I indicated that my mother and I would be leaving to grab a bite to eat and would be back after I thought about it). Nevertheless, I was “roped back in”.
Here is where I feel there was neglect or disregard for the company policy. In doing the paperwork and summing up the numbers, the financial staff member I was dealing with likely realized that although my monthly payment was being reduced slightly (approximately $70-75...if that much), my overall balance would remain approximately the same. He neglected to point this out amongst the hustle and bustle of numbers and signing. If it had been made clear that I would be paying virtually the same balance due on a 2015 vehicle with more mileage (and more wear and tear), as I was paying on a 2017 vehicle with less mileage I would have been able to reconsider and realize the situation was not ideal. Don’t get me wrong, I understand I should have been more level-headed and should have backed out on my own, but going back to the company policy
“Always treat other people as you would want to be treated and always endeavor to do what is right and fair... trying to get everything 100% right and fair.” This was not upheld or even considered in this situation.
I feel that the team had a responsibility as well. Good listeners they were not being... I now have a vehicle which I am paying a considerably large sum of money for (considering it’s age) because, in my opinion, your policy and The Golden Rule was not followed. In my line of work (either the educational or the medical realm) I try and treat my clients as if they were my family members. I often think to myself, “if this were my mother, father, sister, brother, or even my friend I would strive to provide the same level of service and assistance” to each and every individual.
I don’t believe it would have been difficult for the financial “professional” to stop and make an important observation about the balance of the two vehicles. Clarifying this discrepancy or this conundrum to the potential buyer would help them understand that in the end they were buying an older vehicle with more mileage and more wear and tear for about the same ending balance as they had been paying for a newer vehicle. Had he been more forthcoming I would likely have decided to keep my original vehicle and would have headed home. But, that would have meant a lost sale. I would have respected the team and the process more had they followed the motto and done what was fair and right.
At this point I am unsure anything can be done, nor am I sure anything will be done. I have spoken with management and they have shared with me that, indeed, this cannot be resolved. They have assured me that additional training or education will be considered, but I have my doubts. I am afraid I am strapped to an older vehicle with higher mileage for essentially the same cost I had in my newer vehicle. Not at all the outcome I had hoped for or anticipated in the end.
One additional note…
Almost a month after my experience I received a late payment notice on my previous vehicle (the 2017). I am never late in paying my bills. In calling the bank they indicated that the car had yet to be paid off (this was 23 days AFTER the dealership had my previous vehicle). The notice stated that my credit was in jeopardy of being affected by this. In speaking with the bank, they indicated that the vehicle should have been paid off within two weeks, it was more than three weeks later. When I called the dealership and spoke with, yet again, another manager (J. Williams) he didn't know why it had not been paid off. He later sent a receipt indicating that “today they paid off your balance” how convenient was that… that I had to call to remind them to pay off a vehicle they practically stole from me. Meanwhile my credit gets “dinged” due to their absent-mindedness, irresponsibility, and neglect. Thanks once again for terrible business practices Paramount Automotive Group in Hickory, NC. Way to uphold that high standard of The Golden Rule. In addition I have found that the vehicle that was purchased, in this circumstance, has several features that are non-functional or function at a sub-par level. The horn DOES NOT work at all ($280 later it now works)… not sure how it passed inspection without a functioning horn, the radio is sporadic and cuts out on occasion, the headlights don’t work properly ($180 later found that they were installed upside down), the floor cover (in the back of the car) was being held together by velcro and that now is will not stay in place (virtually useless). I am sure the velcro was placed in order to sell the vehicle.
I want to thank you for listening and I hope you understand that this was not what I was expecting from a dealership which purports to uphold Christian values. It was not what I expected from a dealership which supposedly upholds The Golden Rule and believes in doing everything right and fair. I hope that this experience will allow you and your team to be more aware of various situations and circumstances that can and do arise in the lives of others. I also hope that your team learns to actively listen to what customers goals are rather than targeting their goal of a profit or sale. Not everyone who visits your dealership is in the market for a high priced vehicle but everyone who visits your dealership appreciates being treated with respect, treated in a fair way, and treated as they would treat others. This is how I try and live my life. I am sorry your team does not seem to hold the same values.
I would appreciate some sort of response. I would imagine your dealership has my contact information.