Toyota Motor Corporation — rav4 negligent misrepresentation - wa state - toyota bellevue
4214 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE
October 7, 2018
Dear Mr. Broudus
I am writing to you today to bring to your attention deceptive sales practices that are taking place on a daily basis at Toyota in Bellevue.
Having just graduated from college and having recently been offered a job at Microsoft I was eagerly anticipating the purchase of my first new car. Having done extensive research, I settled on a Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, Limited. I have been driving a Toyota Solara for the last 6 years, so I am a big fan of the brand.
I, along with my mother, went to the Bellevue showroom on September 19, 2018 and I first met with Nelson Kwambai, a sales representative. We engaged in several conversations pertaining to choices of vehicles and colors. He also informed me of offers and rebates that Toyota had at that time, including the cash rebate and the new college graduate rebate. I informed him that that was excellent timing as I had just graduated from University of British Columbia less than 2 weeks before, he acknowledged that accomplishment, with "perfect, just in time". Before leaving the showroom, he asked me for my driving license, which I readily provided and said he was taking a copy. He did not ask me for any car insurance at this point. We settled on a vehicle that I was interested to test drive. He told me the vehicle was brand new and just delivered and he took off the plastic wrapping so we could test drive it. During the test drive we again engaged in multiple conversations pertaining to the offers and rebates and he assured me that as I was a college graduate I was able to have the $750 rebate in addition to the cash rebate of $2400 plus any additional discounts on the car. He also told me that there were limited car choices as the 2018 were selling fast and the special offers were there as an incentive and they were making room for the 2019 all new redesigned model. He proudly assured me that he had sold many cars each week and was well aware of all the special offers and discounts available.
After the test drive we returned to the showroom and he showed me some mathematical calculations resulting in a net lease monthly payment of $410.00 My mother asked him to negotiate 50% of the dealer holdback, approx. $400 and he said if were willing to sign the lease today and also as I knew Michael (from a job I had at Issaquah Pool) and he didn't want to go back and forth between the managers etc. he could agree to the $400 additional discounts on the price of the car. He also mentioned during this time that he was the no 1 leasing agent, a comment supported by the General Manager Troy Samson, and that he had signed multiple lease agreements per week and he was very familiar with them.
On agreement to move forward with the sale we went to the office of Mr. Kylan Kendrick. He asked for proof of my college graduation. At this point 2.16pm I emailed him a copy of the letter I had received from UBC. He opened the email and said, "that's great, no problem". He did not remove the $750 college grad rebate from the documents on the screen. He then asked me for proof of residence. I explained that I had just moved back from college and applied for a new driving license. I gave him a copy of my new temporary license and also the ‘old' plastic license with a hole punch in it. He also asked me for proof of employment. I told him that I was getting my offer letter that afternoon. Later that day I emailed the offer letter to him. I had also added the new car to my parents driving insurance and gave him a copy of the email from the agent. He showed me and my mother the "final" payment amount on the screen. At this point my mother had to leave and informed Mr. Kendrick not to "try and upsell" me anything. He informed me and my mother that there was a product GAP that was $995 to add to the leasing policy and he highly recommended that we take this option in the event of a write off or loss of vehicle within the leasing period. We discussed this option and subsequently added this to the policy. This resulted in the monthly cost being raised. My mother left. I then subsequently signed the documents as given to me. I left the dealership with what I believed to be a copy of all the documents I had signed, this was not in fact the case. One document I had signed, pertaining to rebate eligibility was missing from my packet of contract documents. The car was made ready by 2.45pm, no less than 30 minutes from entering the finance office.
I was very happy with my vehicle, happy with the price I had paid and was looking forward to driving Toyota,
On September 24th, 2018 I received an email from Mr. Kendrick asking only for proof of residence and that Toyota financing were not able to process my lease because I had not graduated from a University within the US. First, I had already shown Mr. Kendrick my temporary driving license with the new address. I called to speak to Mr. Kendrick and was informed that he was out of the office until Oct 1. I then rang and spoke to Nelson. He re-iterated that same information that Kylan had told me and that he was not aware that to obtain the college grad rebate, you had to have graduated in the US. He told me I needed to come back to the showroom, re-sign the contracts less the $750.00. I am sure that if you review the contents of the contract personally you will note in the Insurance section, complete nonsense in the fields regarding policy and other such important legal details. These were entered by Mr. Kendrick.
I then received a phone call from Ed Wood. This was after I had called Toyota 3 times to speak to a manager. He was very vocal with me on the phone. I clearly explained my position to him and that had I known of the exclusion on the college rebate I would not have proceeded with the purchase. He told me that I needed to come back in and re-sign the contracts less the $750.00 I told him that neither his salesperson on finance person had informed me of the eligibility of my degree for the rebate.
On the evening of September 26, 2018, I received a phone call from Troy Sansom. He was very indignant and aggressive on the phone and that my only option was to res-sign the contract or return the car. Again, in great detail I explained that neither his sales person or finance person had informed me of the eligibly rules and he noted that I had signed a paper to understand the eligibility rules. First, I signed the paper. Second the paper does not state the exclusions regarding a US degree, only that it has to be from a four-year college etc. He told me that it was ‘my responsibility' to ensure I was eligible and that Toyota financing was a huge corporate entity, not sure how or why this was relevant at all. He then agreed with me that NONE of his sales personnel or finance personnel take it upon themselves to inform clients regarding eligibility for rebates, that this is standard practice in the car industry and again he repeated what a large corporation Toyota financing was and this was not his problem but mine and theirs. His salesperson is using deceptive business practices to coerce coroners into signing contracts with knowledge that the rebates will not be available because of eligibility rules. He also stated this happens all the time and people just come in and re-sign and ante up the additional dollars. I told him that I was going to seek legal advice at which point he said "we have legal people too, bring it on". I told him that his sales people ‘knowingly" did not inform their customers of eligibility rules and that the Toyota of Bellevue website includes in very small print, the exclusion of non-US degrees from the college rebate program. At this point I ended our conversation as it was past 8pm
Needless to say, this had been a very stressful experience, but it was not over yet. Along with my mother we went on September 27th back to the showroom. We arrived at 11am and were told Mr. Sansom would not be in till 12 or 1230 and that only he was able to help us. As we were waiting in the lobby and very disgruntled gentleman was speaking very loudly at the front desk regarding his atrocious treatment by the sales department regarding his purchase of a car. We waited until 12.35pm at which point my mother asked to speak to you. Less than 5 minutes later at 12.40pm Mr. Samson appeared and ushered us to a conference room. He mentioned he had to pick up a sick kid from school which was a very different explanation than the one we had received whilst we were waiting. We had seen him upstairs almost 30 minutes prior to his arrival at the lobby. Once in the conference room, he asked us "what do you want to discuss"? Really…….. we made mention of the deceptive business practice regarding the non-disclosure of information pertaining to the college rebate. He then produced the signed document pertaining to the eligibility which I had signed the previous week. It did not state any EXCLUSIONS to eligibility, only those items that needed to be satisfied. I informed Mr. Sansom that I had complied with each and every eligibility item that was listed on this paper. I told him again that I believed his sales personnel were engaging in a deceptive business practice of knowingly with holding pertinent information to a contract. He said (pointing his finger directly at me in a very aggressive manner)" oh you want to go down the legal route, well bring it on, you want to fight, then bring it on. We have large legal team". At this point I told him "do you think I ‘m scared of you". He told me that "I have a piece of advice for you, being 22, this is not the way to be if you want someone to give you something". At this point my mother intervened and told him to stop the ‘patronizing' language. My mother again asked him "what do you want to do?" he said "get the car back". She told him we did not want to return the car but if we did return if would he give us in writing assurance there would be no "comeback" from the leasing company. He informed us both that there was "no contract" because the contract was voided because we refused to sign a new one with the increase of $750. We agreed to return the car. We drove it to the Toyota parking area, Mr. Sansom inspected the car, there were no problems, we handed back both sets of keys.
My parents are personal friends with Mr. J Courter and the Hudgins family of Honda Bellevue. We have personal friends who you knew personally growing up, who recommended Toyota of Bellevue to me. I went to school all my life in Bellevue and graduated from Interlake High School. I have countless friends and acquaintances as do my parents. I am about to begin my professional career at Microsoft as Business Operations & Program Manager Leader. I cannot in all conscience be able to recommend your dealership. This whole experience of buying my first car, talking to my friends, family and work colleagues about my wonderful experience with Toyota has been marred by deceptive sales practices re-enforced by your management.
I am hopeful by receipt of this letter you will acknowledge that your sales personnel are not performing their job as required by WA State Law and that when you hear from Honda or other dealers in this area about this interaction, as you will, you will take on board my deep regrets that we could not come to a reasonable business conclusion.
CC: Nelson Kwambai; Kylan Kendrick; Ed Wood; Troy Samson; Toyota Corporate Customer Relations