Complaint Category: Sales presentation used dishonest sales practices
Complaint: Mr ***** misrepresented the sale terms of my vehicle, as well as my rental history, to AFS in order to assure the sale and profit on both vehicles.
I owned, free and clear, a 2005 Grand Caravan with about 100,000 miles. I was in need of cash back as well as a vehicle. Mr ***** purchased my van for $3000, gave me half in cash, then applied the rest as a down payment on another used vehicle. Financing appeared to be difficult due to my "auto credit score" of 504. My actual credit score was about 610. He finally found me a deal through AFS at a very high interest rate. On the purchase agreement, he documented that I had traded in my vehicle and a balanced owed on it was paid off as part of the sale. By the time all of the fees were calculated, I owed $10,000 on a vehicle that could be purchased elsewhere for $8000-$9000, had $1500 in cash, and no minivan. I was looking at a three and one half year sale with a monthly payment of $362 to AFS. Mr ***** warned me that they would be calling me to follow up on the sale and that they could be "difficult to deal with." He advised me to not lie to them, but to offer them no details. I understood this to mean he did not want me to discuss the purchase agreement details vs the actual sale of my vehicle to him prior to applying for financing elsewhere. I then left with the new vehicle. Within days, AFS called to interview me for "final approval of the loan." Which I understood had already been given. After that conversation I learned that they did not want to approve the loan because they had been told that my monthly rent was $600 instead of $1200. I was in the process of moving but had not found a new place yet. AFS insisted that the loan could not be approved unless they had (1) a statement from my current landlord about my rental history and (2) a copy of the new lease on my anticipated home and (3) the rent could be no higher than the proposed $1100. When AFS finally got the rental history, they told me that they could not approve the loan because, despite four years of residency, I had not paid the current month's rent. I spoke to Mr ***** about my concerns that it did not appear that this financing would succeed on this loan and, therefore, I would need to have my van returned. He assured me that he would take care of it. Within a week of that call, I heard from AFS again and was told that the loan had been approved. I now had been driving the vehicle for several weeks. AFS then called me again, I was now assigned a different case manager. She began to quiz me about the details of the sale: What was my down payment? How much was in cash? Was it a check, money order, or currency? On the day the first payment was due, she called again to make sure that I paid it. The next day she called, texted, emailed, and set the "dinger" on the car ignition to remind me to call about the first payment. In the meanwhile, I had noticed a smell of antifreeze in the vehicle after one long drive and became concerned about the mechanical condition of the car.
I know that the buyer has to beware and that we all experience buyer's remorse. But I trusted Mr ***** to act in my best interests. What I got was an overpriced vehicle that may have major mechanical problems financed through an acrimonious and distrustful lender. I owe far more than the vehicle is worth because Mr ***** wanted to maximize his profits. And I question the validity of the credit score he used.
I have called Legal Aide for advice on this matter, but also spoken to other dealers about AFS. I was told by one veteran that they were a difficult company to deal with and that the dealers in their network often worked with them to create false purchase agreements to push high dollar sales on poor quality vehicles. "They use AFS to get rid of their junk of the lot." Even if I can get AFS to cancel the contract, I am without a vehicle and lost a good minivan to a dealer whose bottom line was not finding me a the best deal, but finding one that netted him and his pet lender the greatest profit.
Business' Initial Response
We gave Miss ***** $3,500. on trade for her van as a trade allowance. As to her rent she origionally told us that she was responsible for $600. of her $1,200. rent. The final paperwork and approval from the lender (AFS) does show $1,202. per month rent as her name is the only name on the lease. As to reply to the question of credit score Miss ***** has signed a EQUIFAX credit score disclosure sheet that indicates our accuracy. As we are not a lender, the final approval of the loan is entirely up to AFS and as such Miss ***** has signed a conditional delivery agreement. Yes we always ask our customers to be honest with the lenders. It is the right thing to do as well as we are also honest and up front to our customers. As everyone should be. Miss ***** came to us for help and we provided her solutions to her driving needs. We work with many lenders and try to get the best terms for each customer. Due to the mileage and year of the vehicle that she picked out and wanted to purchase, AFS offered the best terms. To answer her statement of "get junk off the lot", AFS does not choose the vehicle, the customer does. I can't imagine any lender or car dealer that would want to sell a bad car to a customer. We never once recieved a call from Miss ***** regarding any concern about an antifreeze odor. We believe this car to be a nice used vehicle.And as no vehicle is perfect, we do put our vehicles through a safety inspection before we ever offer to sell them on our sales lot. If Miss ***** would like us to inspect the odor of antifreeze in her car we would be glad to do so. We ask her to call us immediately at************* and ask for *** *****.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
*** *****'s response is totally inadequate. It is also dishonest.
*** ***** paid me $3000 for the van after telling me that he could not offer me more due to need for work that apparently was not done. He gave me a check for $1500 to cash, then kept the rest to use as a down payment. At the time, I thought that was the only way to get cash back on the deal. In fact, I believe that Mr. ***** chose to purchase the van outright so that, if the loan through AFS came back (and he told me that they have been known to) he would not need to return the vehicle to me as it would not be part of that particular purchase. The most I could hope for would be to get my cash back. And then be left without a car.
I NEVER indicated that my rent was $600. I have never paid that little for rent in my life. I did NOT choose the vehicle, Mr. ***** found it and showed it to me. There was NO money owed on my van, but Mr. *****'s purchase agreement indicates that it was. He furthermore asked that I not volunteer any information about the details of the sale to AFS. "Don't lie," he said, "but don't volunteer anything, either." In other words, quietly collude on the inaccuracies of that agreement if I wanted the vehicle. Keeping in mind that, as of this point, I no longer had one of my own.
As to safety checks, they would not necessarily identify issues regarding the leakage of antifreeze.
Mr. ***** says that they are honest up front with the lenders and with the customers. That was not the case and I see no reference to my concern that (1) he did not do the repairs on the van that he said would limit its value for purchase, (2) he does not address the purchase agreement documentation that funds were owed on the van when there were none owed, (3) and he does not address charging well above market for the Ford. As to his relationship with AFS, I believe that he is part of their lending network and therefore DOES have a specific relationship with them.
A review of the title history of the van will confirm that there was no lien on my vehicle at the time of purchase. A review of the checks cut the day I received the $1500 will show that a second check for the same amount was issued and endorsed by Mr. *****. A review of the documents submitted for preliminary approval to the lender will show that it was *** ***** who stated my rent was $600. And a review of the maintenance records for the minivan I traded in will show what--if any--work was done on the vehicle.
In summary, *** ***** has not adequately addressed the issues I raised and clearly does not intend to accept any responsibility for his own behavior. He has simply avoided the most difficult questions altogether and lied about the rest. Mr. ***** is the kind of used car salesman that gives used car salesmen a bad name--an unconscionable predator, fueled by greed, and indifferent to the the damage he causes along the way.
I am preparing a case for the Minnesota Attorney General's Office regarding *** ***** and/or his relationship with AFS. I have also consulted an attorney to see what recourse I have under the circumstances.
Business' Final Response
The rent was not a misrepresentation to the lender. Our final applicaltion to the lender, signed by the customer, shows her rent at $1202. In regaurds to the payoff, the signed paperwork showed the money going to miss *****. She kept $1500 of the money and signed the remainder of the payoff back over to us to use as money down.
Waconia Ford does not have any specail affiliation with AFS. We do use them as a normal bank, the same as we do with any other lender.
We are sorry that Miss ***** is not totally satisfied with her purchase. We welcome miss ***** to call, or come in and personally go over any concerns that she still has.
Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.