Larry H. Miller Auto / BAIT & SWITCH SCAM!
Poor Business Practices- Shame on Larry H. Miller!
On April 6, 2009 I received a call from a gentleman at LHM used car supermarket; the gentleman stated that the dealership is in need of Dodge Neon’s (my current vehicle) for their new buyer program, and with the way the economy is, he would be able to get me into a nicer vehicle for the same monthly cost of my Neon, if not less. I explained to the gentleman that my credit isn’t the best and most importantly that I am about $6, 000 upside down in my Neon—I doubted that he could do anything for me. The gentleman said that he thought he could still make my situation better and that he’d be happy to pull up my credit to specifically state what he could do for me.
Within 30 minutes a man by the name of Doug from LHM used car supermarket called me to tell me the great news he had to report after looking at my credit. Doug stated that I’ve worked very hard on my credit since my last purchase with them three years ago, and I do qualify for not only a lowered interest rate, but a newer more reliable vehicle. I explained to Doug that I am not interested in getting a new car, but if he can better the situation that I was in [2005 Neon, $395 mo., 21% interest, $6, 000 upside down, no down payment for a new vehicle] I’d be happy to consider a new vehicle. Doug explained that Dodge Neon’s are used in their new buyer program, and they replenish their inventory by trade in’s—Dodge offer’s a higher payout amount on the value of these vehicles in this program and thus it would consume some of my deficit. Doug additionally explained that because of how bad the economy is right now, car makers are selling vehicles to dealerships for below their wholesale value and in turn, the dealerships can sell those vehicles below retail value and still make money. By selling the vehicle to me below it’s retail value I would immediately have equity in the car, which would also consume additional deficit.
Makes sense, right? What an amazing opportunity for me, right? Not quite….
I had some free time in my schedule and went down to the dealership to meet Doug a few hours later. Doug showed me two Volkswagen Jetta’s that would “work perfectly for me”—Yes, I loved the vehicles, but what were the figures?? Doug sat me down at his ‘negotiating table’ and left to discuss my situation with his manager, “to see what he could do for me”. Doug returned with a printed offer that had a trade in amount of $8, 000 (my car’s value was nearly $4, 500) monthly payment of $420, $1000 down payment and an interest rate of 18%. Although the trade offer for my Neon was very generous, I reiterated that I was only there to be in a better situation than I was currently in—I confirmed that I have no money for a down payment (aside from my $400 car payment due on the 15th) and that I can not afford anything higher than the $395 a month. I also questioned the interest rate, as I thought it should be lower based upon his report of how well I’ve worked on my credit.
Doug left me again at his negotiating table to see if his manager could “make the deal work for me”. Doug came back with a new printed offer, this time, after a few small adjustments to the cost of the vehicle and adding my next car payment of $400 as a down payment- monthly payments were at $380, he explained that although he couldn’t lower the interest rate, having a vehicle fully paid off early on my credit would boost my score tremendously and after 6-8 months of making payments on the Jetta, I would surely be able to refinance at a lower rate. I accepted this offer and confirmed that gap insurance be included.
It was now 3:45 and I reminded Doug that I needed to leave by 4:00 for school. He assured me that he’d get me back into financing to sign all the final papers by then and mean while instructed me to clean out my Neon, while he had the Jetta spot cleaned. At 4:15, I found Doug to let him know that I needed to leave for school and could not wait any longer. He questioned the importance of school and tried to encourage me to stay longer because I couldn’t take the Jetta until the papers were signed. I insisted on leaving and said I’d take my Neon with me, and could come back later that night or in the morning. Doug then said to go ahead and take the Jetta and I could come back in the morning to sign all the papers, which I agreed on. I was just about to get in the Jetta when Doug came running out behind me with all the papers to sign. I told him that I wanted to read what I was signing and did not have time to do that. Doug argued and said the papers must be signed by law in order to take the vehicle—I replied and said I’d just take my Neon then and come back later. Doug backed down and told me to take the Jetta as originally stated.
The following day I went back to the dealership to sign the final papers as agreed. Doug was not in and instructed me to ask for Mike Gore. I asked Mike to review the final figures with me as Doug made me nervous and doubtful by his actions the previous day. After reviewing the figures, Mike believed my interest rate should be at 12.99% and quoted a $355 monthly payment. I felt very comfortable in my conversation with Mike and trusted what he had told me. Off to financing I went where I signed all the final paperwork that specifically noted the 12.99% interest rate on an 84 month term with a $355 monthly payment. Justin who helped me, stated that I would come back on Friday (3 days) to sign a final official paper that would replace the one I just signed because the interest rate may be slightly different but not enough to make a serious effect on the deal. I also wrote in gap insurance on the contract I signed, which seemed to bother Justin and he assured me that the gap insurance would also be on the final contract that I would sign on Friday.
I called Justin on Friday to confirm a time to meet with him—a message was left yet he never called me back. I called him again the following Wednesday (4/15) and spoke with his partner who advised me that he had been in meetings all day and assured me that he’d call me back later—to date I have not heard back from Justin.
Meanwhile, my husband and I paid a new and higher insurance premium on the Jetta, to avoid collection calls on my Neon, which was past due, I permanently changed my due date to the end of the month to allow time for the pay off to reach Prestiege Financial.
On Monday, April 21st I received a call from a Travis Johnson who said I was approved through America First CU at a 17.49% interest rate (not 12.99%) under a 72 month term (not 84 months) under a max monthly payment of $350. He stated that unless I had $3, 000 as a down payment, I would not be able to keep my Jetta. What??? I’ve had this vehicle for two weeks, and both salesmen I worked with previously said nothing of the sort!! I made it very clear with everyone that I’ve come in contact with at your office that I do not have that kind of money for a down payment. Without $3, 000 Travis instructed me to return my Jetta and he could “try” to find a different car that would work better with my financial situation, or could give me my Neon back.
I’VE BEEN RIPPED OFF, LIED TO AND MANIPULATED by LARRY H. MILLER USED CAR SUPERMARKET!!! This is not what I signed up for nor what was promised to me! This is unfair and unjust! Is this how your business prospers?? By coaxing innocent young women to believe empty promises, and random lies??? By MAKING us take a vehicle that isn’t really ours but believe it is and adjust every applicable measure of our life around it only to say it’s not really yours until you give us more many than we agreed on?? Shame on you LHM! What poor business practices you run….
To make the situation worse, when speaking to Travis Johnson on April 21st, he advised me to bring the vehicle back to their dealership on Saturday, April 25th (because of my work and school schedule that was the soonest available day I had). To my surprise, on Wednesday, April 22nd Doug and his partner came to my home very abruptly—handed me the keys to my Neon and demanded their keys to the Jetta. How humiliating! Not only did I then have to explain to my friends and family why I no longer have my new car that I believed to be mine, but now my personal life was displayed publicly to all of my neighbors and a hair client who was at my house for a hair cut.
I explained to the guys that I was about to do a haircut and did not have the time to clean out the vehicle…. Why did they not call me first to confirm the change in plans? How rude, unprofessional, and invasive! They said they were just doing what their boss told them to do and if I had any questions to call Travis. After speaking with Travis he informed me that his boss got my letter to the better business bureau and if I “complicated” the situation any more, he’d call the police.
How is this company even in business??? I’ve never heard of such horrible business practices!!! Thanks LHM—I can’t believe I even considered doing business with you a second time! It is my goal to ensure that the public know how LHM treats their customers… no one should have to go through what I went through!
Most importantly, it should be noted that LHM is in breach of their contract signed with me—as written they had seven days to notify me of any change made to my contract… or in this case, to notify me of their inability to arrange applicable financing. LHM exceed this 7-day timeframe by 7 days. I have confirmed this legality issue with my attorney and will pursue the default further if needed.