Reader unhappy with Ducktown Dodge
Letter To The Editor:
While watching the local news (Thursday July 13) I heard a story that was all too familiar. A lady was recounting the story of how she had been so hurt and disappointed after being led on by one of the area auto dealers. She related to reporters how she had been given one vehicle after another "On approval" while she waited for her loan to go through. Convinced by the sales staff that she would be approved and would soon own a brand new car, (because that's what the staff is trained to say), she was put behind the wheel of several different models over a period of time. Eventually, the only choice she was given was the opportunity to purchase a "used car," better known as junker.
This is how the process goes. I know this because I was also a victim of the "Ducktown Dodge" scam. They do (or did) mass mailings and extensive newspaper advertising that read " You will be approved for a new car, regardless of credit; no credit, bad credit, etc." So, I did what I thought was all the necessary paperwork and drove home in my new P.T. Cruiser. Over the course of 3-4 weeks, I made numerous phone calls to check the status of my loan. Messages were left and calls never returned. Finally I received a call from a salesperson saying that not one of their lenders would finance that particular car but that they could most definitely put me in a lower-priced one. So here I go back to Ducktown to choose my brand new Neon. All "necessary" paperwork was complete, the temporary tag was in place, and within 30 days I would receive a license plate and payment book in the mail. All was well. I thought. After a month had passed, the tag expired, and wanting to be prompt with my first payment, I once again started the phone call process. "The original salesperson had been "let go." "The sales manager has your paperwork." And so on and so on. Long story short, after the chase I was told to come in and talk with the general manager, who would make everything just groovy. Here's what I heard, "The lending institution that was going to finance your car has pulled their contract with us." To which I responded, "The paperwork was done over a month ago, before that happened."
Oh, well, I was told that the best they could offer me was a used car with a book value comparable to what yet another lender would loan. I was stuck there, no car, and with plans to drive 500 miles on vacation the following day. And here's the best (or worst) part. I wasn't given the opportunity to look at all the used cars. I was told they only had one car on the lot that met both my needs and the specs of the lender. Of course I was given the used car salesman's song and dance about it having been owned by an older couple who traded it in on a new one. When I asked for a Car Fax I was told they couldn't produce one. Needless to say, after a search of my own, I found that the car had several owners and electrical problems which the dealer refused to repair.
All of this makes me sound very naive and gullible, and in hindsight, I do wish I had never agreed to the used car purchase. After the fact I even paid a substantial consultation fee to one of Cleveland's "Git 'er Done!" attorneys and regarding the same situation with the same dealer. Of course he declined to take any action, stating that "they (Ducktown Dodge) cover themselves so well in paperwork you just can't win."
Well, they say what goes around comes around and I know it's no comfort to myself or any of the other unfortunate patrons of such a fine establishment, but Ducktown Dodge, it looks like some of your paperwork has finally slipped through the "quacks." So how does it feel when you're the "sitting duck?"
Carolyn Culbreth, Cleveland.