Mr. Abinion (owner Fox Valley Dealerships),
I am writing to share my experience at Fox Valley Volkswagen dealership located in West Chicago with you and my blog’s readers, who have been very helpful and encouraging in our quest for a car for my 16-year-old son Cole, who is ready to buy his first car. HIS FIRST CAR, Mr. Abinion. He has earned and saved his money restlessly for the past five years with the singular goal of a car in mind.
Last week (Wednesday, March 28), Cole and I drove 52 miles (round trip) to FOX VALLEY VOLKSWAGEN in West Chicago to look at a used Audi A4 that the dealership advertised on the internet. The first thing we noticed when we walked into the dealership was a groovy looking VW Bug with signs on all four sides that say, “DON’T TOUCH!!!!” Multiple explanation points!!!! In retrospect, I should have taken this as a sign that the dealership was not warm and friendly.
Jake introduced himself to us and it quickly became apparent he was our order taker for the evening. We asked to see the Audi A4 and asked if we could have it to take for a test drive. When Jake informed us that Cole was too young to drive the car, I asked Jake if he would mind taking us for a ride and whether Cole could drive the car in the parking lot. (This is how an innovative salesman at another dealership solved the problem.) Jake agreed to this request. During the test drive, Jake did not offer any information about the car and answered Cole’s questions as briefly as possible. Perhaps Jake felt his silence would allow us time to bond and become one with the car. After the test drive I asked Jake for the Carfax on the A4, and I asked him questions about maintaining an Audi. Jake assured us the car would only need routine maintenance, he suggested that we always use an official VW mechanic, like those of Audi service Perth. He assured us that there were no major repairs on the horizon. I told Jake that Cole and his aunt and uncle would come back the next evening to take a look at the car. I needed a second opinion. Did I mention this was COLE’S FIRST CAR?
On Thursday, Cole and family drove the 52 miles (round-trip) back to FOX VALLEY VOLKSWAGEN in West Chicago to take a look at the car. They liked the car but had some concerns: it seemed noisy. Jake said this was because of the larger motor in the car. Cole’s uncle told Jake he would like his mechanic to look at the car, and arrangements were made for me to pick up the car on Monday.
On Friday, I called Jake to confirm that we would pick up the car on Monday. Our plans were to pay cash for the car, but I had heard financing a car offered some benefits so I suggested Jake look into it for me. Jake took all my information and promised to call me back. He didn’t.
On Monday, I arrived at the dealership at 9 a.m. to pick up the car. Jake greeted me by informing me that I needed to have the car back by 4:30 p.m. because he had plans that evening. I asked Jake why he had not called me back over the weekend. He told me he had been busy. I asked him what he had found out about financing. He told me he had lost my information and asked for it again. I tried not to be overly concerned that my personal information and my Social Security number had somehow been lost. After all, how often are bank accounts hacked?
I drove the car to European-American Motors in Chicago to have it evaluated. European-American Motors services most of the high-end cars on the North Shore, including my brother-in-law’s Jag and Mercedes. The Audi needed: a muffler (the motor was not loud because of the engine; the car needed a new muffler), the cabin air filter was leaking, the timing belt was due to be replaced (Audi dealers start replacing them at about 80,000 miles—this car had 75,000 miles), the shock absorbers and struts needed to be replaced and the remote key did not work. The car needed about $2,800 in repairs.
After I left European-American Motors, I called Jake and told him about the repairs. I told him I would fax him a list of the repairs to discuss with his manager, since he needed to leave by 5 p.m. Jake called me back about an hour later to inform me his manager was not willing to work with us on the cost of the repairs or move on the price of the car. In the course of the conversation I realized that Jake had not seen the fax and asked if it had arrived. Jake was not sure; the fax machine was on the other side of the dealership. I was so not amused and told Jake I wanted to talk to his manager when we brought the car back to the dealership.
Back at the dealership we met with the sales manager, who knew the car needed a new muffler, was surprised the key remote did not work, felt we should have taken the car to an Audi dealership, and was pretty sure my mechanic had no idea what he was talking about…but he was sorry I was so frustrated. He offered to fix the muffler on the car. He then looked at my obviously disappointed 16-year-old and informed him the Audi was a real opportunity and we would not find another car like it anywhere in the area.
Cole and I walked out of the dealership.
Let me sum up my experience of Fox Valley Volkswagen in West Chicago: The dealership is not welcoming, the salespeople are order takers at best, and the sales manager has the sensitivity of a honey badger.
And by the way…I touched the Volkswagen Bug on your showroom floor on all four sides!