Went into Clarington Honda in Bowmanville as it is convenient to the highway. Looking for information on new 2011 Odyssey LX. I asked about availability as there were none on the lot, and financing.
Salesman, very polite etc. They asked for my keys and ownership to check-out my trade. Then asked for my credit card as a "show of good faith" that I serious about looking for a car. Odd but...whatever! Salesman comes back with a credit card slip for $1000 on my card for a down payment so they can do a search for a van.
Sales Manager gave a quote to the salesman on my trade, that was low, but was not unreasonable. I said no thanks, but what about availability of the new ones? I'll sell my van privately, and "can I have my keys, credit card and ownership back please? " he says right away, and brings over the sales manager (no keys, card or ownership) He's telling me the problem with my van 11 years old 360, 000 km etc and then ups his offer. I say I'll think about it, I've given the salesman my e-mail and fax # I've got his cards etc. "I've got to go, Give me my stuff and I'll contact you." At this point I'm getting freaked out that I'm trapped with no keys etc.
Always very nice and polite, but now the sales manager is telling me to meet with the financial officer I say "I'd like to go now, please just give me back my Keys! "
They maneuver me into the financial officers office, where he has a bill of sale. He says I have to sign it for him to do a credit search for a bank etc. At this point I still don't know if any vans are available in Ontario, or finance rates or anything. I sign, but at this point I honestly would have signed anything to get out of there. They insisted on keeping my ownership, and gave me a photo copy. (Still no info on availability or finance rates)
As soon as I got home I sent a polite e-mail saying I would not be buying a new van right now, please refund my credit card and mail back my ownership. Next day the sales manager called and left a message, being all polite and asking what the problem was, and how they wanted me to be comfortable etc. I sent a second e-mail, not polite, demanding my ownership be Express Posted back to me, and threatened legal action. Reply again very polite, saying I had to go back in to get my refund.
Basically they got my keys, and would not return them until I had signed on the dotted line. They are very crafty, because they make you feel that your own unease is silly and they're "just there to help" In all I asked for my keys back 3 times, and every time they steered me in another direction. The last time I was at the door pleading for my keys back. At that point they could keep the credit card for all I cared, I knew I was being manipulated, I'd seen a 5th estate program on CBC years ago about unscrupulous car dealers on the west coast, and this was text book, but for the life of me I couldn't get out. I didn't want to be impolite, and that's how they got me! Maybe all big dealers are like this but I've dealt with a number of smaller town dealers over the years and this experience was new to me!