First-Hand Accounts of Auto Dealer Frauds and Scams

If you want a crash course on scams and frauds auto dealers like to pull on unsuspecting customers, a popular consumer site’s webpage devoted to Oklahoma’s David Stanley Dodge tells it all.

Here on our own law firm website, we offer several pages of information about “Auto Fraud and Auto Dealer Scams in Oklahoma.” But to get some real, live, first-hand experience in auto dealer fraud, according to more than two dozen consumers who have described their experiences online, all you need to do is visit David Stanley Dodge in Midwest City or Norman.

ConsumerAffairs.com is one of the Internet’s most popular websites. It provides a public place for shoppers to describe their experiences with businesses in more than 150 categories. On a five-star scale, 29 out of 31 consumer reviewers gave David Stanley Dodge the lowest-possible one-star score.

No Paperwork

Robert of Edmond, in July 2014, wrote that he reached an agreement to purchase a new Dodge Dart for $17,500. After signing all of the paperwork, the dealer said they had additional work to do on the documents before they could provide Robert his copy.

It took two weeks before Robert received his copy of the documents. When he studied the paperwork, he was shocked to see that the actual purchase price was $27,200, almost $10,000 more than he had agreed to.

Bait and Switch Financing

“Douglas” of Pryor, OK, wrote earlier this month that he browsed David Stanley’s online inventory and became interested in a 2015 Jeep Cherokee. Douglas said he didn’t want to make the 150-mile drive from Pryor to Midwest City for nothing, so he confirmed every detail of the deal, including price and financing, ahead of time.

Douglas drove to the David Stanley lot the next day and filled out all the paperwork to finalize the deal. Then, Douglas wrote, the sales manager intervened to say that he would have to accept different, more expensive financing.

“We left there angry, frustrated, and most of all embarrassed,” Douglas wrote. “My advice to anyone thinking about buying a car from these people is DON’T!!!”

Several customers tell similar stories on the consumer website. The abrupt change in financing is often presented after several hours of doing paperwork. Dealers are hopeful that by then shoppers will agree to almost anything just to escape the auto lot with a vehicle.

Vehicle No Longer Available

Some consumers report that they browsed David Stanley’s online inventory, became interested in a particular car or truck and called the dealership to confirm that that particular vehicle was available. They were told yes, but when they arrived on the lot, it had “just been sold.”

Barry of Colorado Springs wrote in June that his adult son had been interested in a Jeep Wrangler. The son called David Stanley Dodge, told them he already had approved financing and was willing to pay the listed online price. He even offered to pay a $1,000 “hold payment.”

The dealership assured him he had deal. He flew from Colorado to Oklahoma City, but when he arrived, the vehicle “was no longer on the lot.”

Unscrupulous dealers advertise cars that consumer want at prices that will lure them in. Telling shoppers that the advertised vehicle is no longer available opens the door to pitch less desirable cars at higher prices.

Many shoppers have traveled to a big-city car lot from hours away and don’t want to go home empty-handed. Some shoppers are in a hurry to get another vehicle. Dealers entice such shoppers to their lot and then try to lock them into deals they weren’t expecting.

Long Hours of Paperwork and Expensive Add-Ons

Jeff of Moore, April 2014, said they “were moved around from cubical to cubical for five hours. They purposefully wear you out to sign what they print off without going over anything.” When Jeff studied the paperwork more closely later, he found that it included $9,000 in add-ons he hadn’t requested.

Stephen of Mena, AR, said in July 2012 that when he bought a Jeep at David Stanley Dodge, they kept him tied up waiting on paperwork for more than three hours, after which he had to leave for work. When he had a chance to review the paperwork later, he discovered that the agreement included a $4,000 portfolio add-on.

Stephen said he did not request or approve the add-on. Fortunately, he said, he was able to have it removed from the agreement.

Deceptive Advertising: $12,000 Off Sticker

Tony of OKC wrote in August 2011 that he heard a David Stanley radio ad promising $12,000 off the sticker price on a Ram truck. Tony decided to look into trading his sporty BMW for a new truck. However, the dealership offered him $13,000 less than the trade-in value of the BMW, the value of which Tony later confirmed when he traded it in at another dealer for $12,000 more than what David Stanley had offered.

The lesson to consumers: when an auto dealer is offering a deal that seems too good to be true, watch out for ways the dealer may attempt to get its money back. There are many factors a dealer can manipulate, including the trade-in price, the financing rate, service plans and other add-ons, etc.

I wonder if Tony had anything to do with this 2014 complaint against David Stanley Dodges before the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission. Notice in paragraph 4 the reference to David Stanley advertising $12,000 off MSRP.

Send The Vehicle Home; Make Changes Later

Philip of Shawnee, in August 2014, wrote that he bought a 2014 Avenger at a 6.99% finance rate. Two days after signing the paperwork and driving the vehicle home, the David Stanley finance manager called. The original loan was not approved, he told him, so the deal had to be reworked at 11.41%, increasing the monthly payment by more than $50.

When the buyer wanted to back out of the deal under the revised terms, the dealership told him his trade-in had already been sold.

This is a familiar auto dealer scam. Let the customer take the vehicle home and get used to it, dispose of their trade-in vehicle, and then call a few weeks later to change the terms. Some contracts have clauses built-in to allow such after-the-fact changes to the terms.