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!
22 thoughts on “Dear Fox Valley Volkswagen West Chicago”
Please tell me you really sent this. What a classic bunch of idiots. Everything you would expect from a used car salesman. I guess the stereotypes have to come from somewhere.
I really did send it. We met some wonderful salesmen but as luck would have it the bad apples in the bunch had the car we wanted to buy. Murphy’s Law.
And did they not call you a nasty name as you left? Walking away was the right thing to do. These people want you to buy a car that needs about $3000 in repairs, at full price. They don’t care about getting your business. Sadly, it is dealers like this that give car dealers a bad name. They had a sale if they would have treated you right and worked with you on the price, which was the ONLY right thing to do.
Thanks Stevie. I think the name was bitch–but like our friend Carolee says, “You say bitch,like it’s a bad thing.” 🙂 They did have a sale and even if they could not work with me–the deal still could have ended much differently.
Life lesson for Cole-bs/pain in the ass/hassle for you. Although I am quite impressed with your due diligence. I know there are lots of cars and a few reputable sales people that will surely sweeten the sour experience you had.
So true…Funny story. Cole said to me last night…Well mom not getting this car is not as bad when Dad died. We both burst into laughter. It’s all a matter of perspective. The right car is out there and we just need to keep looking. We have meet lots of helpful people and learned a lot!
Not all car sales people are a “classic bunch of idiots”, huh, Stevie ??
The certainly are not! We met some some very helpful salesman along the way–who wanted to sell a car but also looked at the bigger picture and valued relationships and word of mouth. Actually I am very positive about car salesman and salesman in general….MMMM maybe it had to do with our neighbors when I was growing up.
No, but sadly the bad ones ruin the rep for the business. Only do business with the ones who treat you right. 8)
I was not aware of your experience at our West Chicago location and very disappointed to hear about it from you. This is certainly not the way we do business. I will gladly look into it and get back with you as soon as possible.
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience or wrong impression we may have given you during your visit. I appreciate you taking the time to inform me.
Emir C Abinion
Thank you for responding. I do appreciate it. We did have a very positive experience at your Schaumburg dealership and would have loved to have given them our business unfortunately they did not have a car to sell us.
I will look into the specific vehicle that Cole wanted. Our process is simple and objective in that we should fix anything our technicians discover is wrong during our Used Vehicle Inspection. There really should not have been any issues with the vehicle. If you can, either email me or fax me the report from your mechanic. My fax is 630-818-4198.
Our company has a great reputation in taking care of customers and being very involved in giving back to the community (lovebugcontest.com). It may not seem that way due to your recent experience, but I’m sure we can find a way to make this right. I will be in touch soon.
Thank you again for your time and concern. Wither or not anything can be worked out at least I know you cared enough to contact me.
Why is it that some car salespeople act like you’re an idiot and an incompetent, ready and willing to open your purse and let them take what they want at will?? Good for you, letting them know your experience! More people should do the same. (I’d have touched the Bug, too!!)
The bug is really cool! Thanks for your support. Through a turn of events there is still hope and my respect for the dealership group has certainly gone up.
My, my Little Lady, you and the young whippersnapper thought you could buy a car by yourselves? (gasp!) How cheeky!
Jake obviously didn’t think so. I hope Emir is able to clean up Jake’s mess. You’d given that car a lot of thought.
Lol–The dealership is working with me…and the owner spent about 45 minutes on the phone with me today. So all’s well that end’s well…maybe. I am still holding my breath.
I’m gald the manager got back to you. It always amazes me that a company will spend millions of dollars advertising and then let it al go down the drain by treating people like this.
Good for you for taking them to task for it!
According the Emir the owner for the dealership our experience was not usual. He did call me back as promised and did have his service department go over the car with a fine tooth comb. As we discussed there is still hope…..
Oh my! Just read your letter to Bruce. He says the dealerships have already bumped up the price and apparently did not need the sale. Though I see at least they responded to you. No way should you have to put up with that. Cole will find his car, guaranteed…and it’s good you did your due dil…as they would have sold you something that was not what they advertised.
Oh My is right. Emir was very considerate, did call me back today as promised and did have his service department go over the car. A repair is being made on the car that was found during the second inspection and then it is being transfered to a dealership that is closer to me…Emir spent about 45 minutes on the phone with me and is doing a lot to make things right. It’s not a done deal…but it’s looking better. As always thanks to you and Bruce for your thoughts!
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