First part of this post began one week ago, on Friday, 08/14.
Let me tell you about my experiences with this dealership this week, just ended. I have decided to shop around for a newer car, even though I haven't yet sold my minivan. I have researched and decided that I'd like either a Buick La Crosse, or a Buick Enclave. My price range is pretty low, so this means I am looking at cars that are around seven years old.
I looked at a couple of Enclaves during the week, and really liked one, but it needs new tires, and has a clunk in the front steering/suspension. Meanwhile, I had seen an ad online several times for a 2011 La Crosse, on both cargurus.com and Bestway Auto, a subsidiary of the Viva Auto Group, in El Paso. My inquiry at Bestway's web site, got no response, but at some point, I did get a call from a Pamela Mena, a "Trusted Advocate" with Viva Nissan. She told me the car in question was at her dealership, and asked me to go see it. I went over there yesterday morning only to find out that the car was not there, and nobody knew where it was.
Later yesterday afternoon I received a very confusing call from a female, who sounded super bored with whatever she was doing, but she managed to convey to me that the car had been located a another Viva dealership, the Mazda dealer. She said it was there for "service," but did not indicate what service might be getting done.
This morning, I got another call from Pamela, who told me that she had gone to get the car, and would like to show it to me. When I got to the dealership late this morning, she had taken the car to put gasoline, so I waited. Upon her return, she and Luz gave me the keys and went with me for a test drive.
I noticed while we were driving, that the passenger side window was cracked, and then I noticed that the check engine light was on. I pointed those out, and asked if they would be addressed should I buy the car. I received assurances that this would be taken care of.
We briefly discussed my current car as a possible trade in, but it was obvious to me that would not work, since I do owe money on it, and dealerships are famous for never giving a fair trade in value. Her boss, Adelberto, looked at my current car, and gave me some preliminary numbers, but since their computer was off line, we decided that they would have to call me later. The numbers did not look very good for me, so I came home.
I talked it over with my wife, and we figured out a way to handle the down payment Adelberto was asking for, and leaving my current car out of the deal, so I called Pamela sometime later, to see what we could do. I told her that, if I was to meet their price, they had to fix the window and the check engine light, and I'd even like to see the price come down for me. She went back and forth to her manager with my requests, and then said that the price they were offering me was the internet price, and the car is actually supposed to be sold at $11,000, about 1200 more than I had seen in their ads. No further discount could be considered (despite what Adelberto had personally told me about how he was a veteran, too, and would see if he could get me a veteran's discount).
Not only that, but the car is sold "As Is," and the only way they would fix either the light or the window would be if I gave another thousand dollars to them. As I told Pamela, I am not going to buy a used car with the check engine light on. Not now. Not ever. Not at any price.
Perhaps I spoke too soon. Not long after publishing this post, and a similar one to Viva Nissan's Facebook page, I got a call from somebody at Edmonds.com (apparently, they oversee the dealership's social media) asking for my phone number. I provided it, and received a call from the GM at Viva Nissan, Adrian Soto. Young Mr. Soto not only apologized for my bad experience, but offered to fix things. He lowered the price of the car and promised to fix the check engine light and the broken window! So, I did go back to the dealership, and completed the paperwork to make a purchase. As of this morning the car is scheduled to be in the Service Department to get these things done, along with a car wash and some gas in the tank! Now, all I have to do is sell my van. Anybody want a nice 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SE? 125,000 miles. Loaded. You can get more info here: https://elpaso.craigslist.org/cto/d/2008-dodge-grand-caravan-se/6665535127.html
Oh, one more thing: I'm sorry for anything I might have said.
Update: I am not sorry for what I said last week, and now have much more to say! I tried to wait all of this week for word that my car was ready for me. I got no real status updates all week long, other than to say the my car was at the Chevy Service Department for the work needed to fix the engine light and the broken window. Finally, I drove to that location late this morning, and talked to a Gus Torres, Service Consultant. He was in charge of the work on my car. He explained that they did not get permission to complete the diagnostics until this morning, and now was waiting for permission to look at the timing chain, because that was what the computer was suggesting as the problem.
I went home, and then received a call from Adrian Soto, the sales GM at Viva Nissan, who said that they needed to back out of the deal. He said that the engine has sludge, and that means a new engine is called for, and he "cannot" replace an engine. It would be just too costly.
He asked me to go back to the dealership so that they could shred all the paperwork and credit my credit card for the down payment I had made last week.
And, here is where I think I blew it. With a certain amount of protest, reluctance, and anger I let him talk me into backing out of the deal. When I tried to press him to go ahead with whatever fix might be necessary, his only response was that he just could not do this. I tried to suggest that the onus is/was on him, because his promise to me was to "fix engine light," with no if's or and's or but's or even "unless it costs too much." He insisted that was not what he meant, and that he just could not keep his promise to me.
So, like a fool, I gave back my copies of the paperwork, and took my refund slip. The more I think about this, the more convinced I become that I should have - at the very least - made him wait over the weekend, and maybe looked for legal advice. I think he broke the contract that he made with me, and now I have lost any evidence that I may have had to try to hold him to it.
The bottom line is back to where I started: Do not ever have any dealings with Viva Auto Group.