Watson Motorsports CALLED ME!! to let me know that they reviewed my car loan application on-line and that I was pre-approved for a loan up to $15,000. For the past 2 weeks, I called quite frequently just to make sure that what I was hearing was correct: that 1) I was pre-approved, 2) I didn't need a co-signer, and 3) that they knew my credit situation (I lost my job after I had a baby and had some financial difficulties). I told them all of this before I drove 45 minutes to an hour only for them to tell me that they couldn't help me. I understood I have a low credit score - and if they couldn't help me, that's fine. But don't tell me "Oh, no problem... we have lots of people who get second chances, or get car after repos, etc" and then can't do a thing for me. Don't waste my time.
Like I said, I confirmed with about 5 different people before I made the trek to Midlothian, IL, 2 on this particular day. 5 different people told me that I was fine, to just come in, fill out the paperwork, and I could drive off with my 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo for $7995. They even told me that they would "hold it for me, since I already had an appointment". I did my research on the car...even had a back-up car that I researched in case that one wasn't available. Well when I actually got to the dealership, ironically no one that I spoke to was actually available. Secondly, they made me sign this form saying that if they got me a car that was around the monthly payments that I desired, I would take it home. I signed it no problem, because as far as I was concerned, I wanted the Jeep that they SAID they had and that I did research on. Needless to say, I never even saw the Jeep. The car salesman acted like he didn't even know what I was talking about.So after about 15 minutes of waiting around wondering what the hold-up was (ESPECIALLY since I supposedly had already been pre-approved), he came back and told me that I was going to need a co-signer. Of course I was upset and started to jap, so he went and got his manager (I guess), as if that was going to make me change my mind. I told him that I was very upset because I drove all the way out there just because they assured me that I was pre-approved and didn't need a co-signer. They knew my credit situation because they pulled it up and told me stuff that was on my credit report!! So how was it that they "missed" the score? The manager then proceeded to tell me, "well if you don't have co-signer or $4500 to put down, then we can't help you". I told him that I just wish they could've told me that before they wasted my time.
Bottom line is... if this place calls you to tell you that you're "pre-approved", chances are, they are lying. They are just trying to get you in there so they can control the situation and put you into a car that THEY want you to have, which is most likely overpriced and overrated. If you go there with a car in mind, make them show it to you BEFORE they have you sign a form which states that you are "obligated" (but not really) to buy a car that you'll most likely just be settling for. Chances are they won't have the car that you want anyway - that's why they won't show it to you. And always remember that the deal isn't final until they hand you the keys and the car leaves the lot - so if they DO never end up showing you the car, and you're sitting in the finance office saying to yourself "I don't really want this car that they pushed me into getting"... you still have the right to walk. If alot more people knew these things, then grimy, sleazy, scandalous dealerships like this one wouldn't be that way for long.