Tips on Buying Cars/what do I do


On 2/23/2013 myself and my husband set out to go car shopping.  This was going to be my first car loan.  I researched online several weeks before we found the vehicle(s) we were interested in since I have no credit not even a credit score. I discovered who approved me for a car loan, I was approved for $9200.00.  I found an 06 Toyota RAV4 online through Car Gurus at Dan Vaden in Savannah Georgia.  The price for this vehicle on January 26th was $11699.00.  The listed price online when we went in on 02/23/12 was $13399.00.  The price of the car had increased by $1700.00 on car gurus site.  I printed this out and took it with me so that I might offer the lower price if I liked the vehicle.  My husband and I went in the Vaden Suzuki dealership where the vehicle was located to test drive it we were greeted by Patricia Ellison.  She was very nice, not pushy at all. She let us test drive it as we requested and gave us her card when we were done.  The inside of the car wasn’t really clean, the console area where you change the gears had some type of fried crumbs on it, it looked like fried chicken crumbs.  I just assumed a sales person had been driving the car.  I tried to overlook it since it can be cleaned.  We told her we were going to eat lunch and would think it over.  Before we walked out she asked us to wait just a second so she could tell her manager what we were doing. I thought was kind of odd, but it only took a moment so we waited.  We went looking at other dealerships in town and decided to go back and try to get that vehicle.  Patricia greeted us after just being in the building for a moment.  She asked us to have a seat after we told her that we were interested in purchasing the RAV4.  I told her that I wanted to discuss the asking price.  I told her the situation with Car Gurus site and that I wanted to offer the lowest listed price.  I also said that it would be the total price, including tax, tag, and title and any doc fees.  She reviewed it and told me that it was listed for a higher price and I explained to her that I was offering the original price that was listed. I simply wanted a yes we can or no we can’t to my offer.  She took it to someone in the building and 10 minutes or so she came back and got my name and address.  I questioned her as to whether or not they were going to agree to my price offer.  She said yes they were going to sell it to me for that price and wrote on a sheet the amount $11699 and put an “X” with a line beside it and asked me to sign it.  I signed it.  She left again.  Then she came back about 45 minutes later with the paper she had taken my information down on and got even more information.  I questioned why she needed my social security number because I already had my financing in order.  She said it was just standard protocol and showed me where Brian had written on the paper about needing more information.  At this point I felt sorry for her because he wrote it in big print and it just seemed rude and.  So we waited for awhile longer and then we’re approached by Brian.  He explained how he has been in the business for several years and has never seen Car Gurus site.  He went on to say that it is a 3rd party site and they list dealer’s vehicles as they are taken in and they don’t take into account the amount it takes to get them fixed and ready to sell.  So when the vehicle is “ready to sell” the price goes up.  I’m pretty much in amazement that he would think I was that naive.  Then he tried to convince me that the dealership has no control over what Car Gurus lists on their site because it’s a 3rd party site.  Apparently cars list themselves. I looked at him point blank and said are you going to sell this car to me for this price or not?  He looks at me and says no. Well I was upset to say the least.  But not because he wouldn’t sell me the vehicle at that price.  I was upset because Patricia had me sign something with the amount on it, leading me to think that they’re selling me the vehicle at this price.  I was misled and lied to.  And to top it off we spent about 3 hours just sitting there before they decided to come clean.  Once we got in the car my husband told me to call the store and ask for the store manager and complain.  We have the same phone and I used his by accident.  I called and spoke to the receptionist and asked for the manager.  She asked me to explain to her what was going on she would know which manager to send me to.  I did and she sent me to someone and I had to explain this all over again.  He apologized for my trouble I listened for a few minutes and actually hung up on him due to being so upset with the entire ordeal.  I was in tears.  Just a few minutes later my husbands phone rang.  It was Brian Longacre, the same Brian who had turned my offer down just a little while ago.  I listened as he apologized several times and said that he had just moved to that store to straighten it out.  That it was not doing as well as it should be.  He said he wasn’t aware that Patricia had me sign anything or that I had waited so long.  He asked that we go back into the store and deal strictly with him.  He said that if we come straight to his office he would take care of us personally.  After the phone call my husband and I talked and decided that if we can get the car it might be worth it.  So I called Brian back and told him that we wanted to come and talk to him I told him that since Patricia told us that they would sell me the car for that price total that we wanted them to honor the deal.  He said okay and told me to come on in and he would take care of it.  So we went in.  He was completely different once we got in his office.  He was still very friendly but he wouldn’t stand beside his word.  He argued that we have to pay taxes and that they are required by law to charge the doc fee.  We felt like he was deliberately trying to mislead us so we left.

While we’re headed home we stop to eat and my husband checks his phone and sees that he had received a text message from Brian.  The text stated that “I am sorry we couldn’t earn your business again.  I feel as if the other dealers have put a sour taste in your mouth.  I would still like to earn your business.  With your trade doc tax anyway you slice it I will sell the vehicle to you for 11400.00 out the door”  signed “ Brian Longacre, Team Vaden Imports” My husband responded “no thanks”.  2 days later we sent him a text back asking him to fax the offer he had sent via text.  He called and left a voicemail stating that it would include my trade.  My husband responded that we would pass on that offer.  On Wednesday the 27th  of February we sent a text asking if he was was ready to sell the RAV4.  He replied “yes mam”.  So we began negotiating.  We even joked about me bringing chocolate chip cookies and the RAV4 being cleaned with no fried chicken crumbs in the seat.  We finally came to an agreed upon amount of $11050.00 total including tax, tag, title and trading in my 04 Impala.  I told him to fax me the buyers order at my work the next day and I would come in that afternoon to seal the deal.  After all of this I wanted to see it in writing and that it was for the amount we agreed on before we made the hour and a half drive.  The next morning there was NO fax so my husband sent a text asking for it.  He said he had to get toner or ink and apologized.  Then another hour went by he sent a text apologizing.  Then another while went by so I called him. He said he had to go get a check, something about him moving and his bank reimbursement.  It just seemed like something wasn’t right.  But I listened to him and he continued to tell me that he knows it seems like he is avoiding me and he was sorry but that wasn’t it.  He said he would be back at his office in about 20 minutes and would fax it to me then.  I told him I had to leave in 30 minutes.  Well 30 minute later, no fax.  I had to leave and get my kids from school.  He sends a text to my husbands phone telling me he was sorry and attached some sort of buyers offer but it didn’t look quite right.  He said in the text that it was the CASH price.  My husband called me and told me this.  So I called Brian and explained that we are not paying cash.  We have financing ready to go.  I told him that I explained all that to Patricia and I had also told him the same thing.  I continued to tell him that I was wanted to give him my information over the phone so he could check with their other finance companies to see if they could find something with a lower interest rate.  He made out like he was truly wanting to help me and that it not being a “cash sale” there would be no problems.  So I called my husband back and explained it to him.  In the mean time my boss calls me and tells me that the fax did come and the buyers order looks legit.  I stopped by my job and picked it up on the way to the dealership.  There was a spot for a signature and it was blank but everything else was complete.  The sales person listed was Patricia Ellison and total amount was $11,000 not $11,050.  Brian said it was because I had such a hard time getting him to get me the buyers order so he made it an even amount.  He told me that when I got there that I would deal strictly with him no salesmen and he would and I quote “roll the red carpet out”.

He finally called me back when we were coming into Savannah to get my credit information.  He had me on speaker phone which I don’t like because you can hear everyone in the room and its embarrassing. I feel it’s just not professional to have a customer on speaker phone.  He mentioned that his boss just walked in and brought him some sort of golf club that he promised him if he came to this store to fix it.  And he talked about how nice it was. He ran my credit while we were on the phone and told me what I already knew, that I have no credit.  He then said that we would just go with the road loans loan that I had already been approved for.

We get to the dealership and go inside.  We are greeted by a man and he asks if he can help me.  I explained that I was there to see Brian he was suppose to have something ready for me is what I said.  He asked us to have a seat and Brian would be with me shortly. I’m holding all my paper work in my hands looking at it and Brian comes up and starts talking to me and tells me he was going to run me through Santander. He said that they own roan loans and he might be able to get my payments lower with them. He then takes my paperwork and goes into his office,  which I thought was odd since he didn’t ask me to come with him.   The paperwork included proof of income, proof of residency, and the loan paperwork I printed at home as well as the faxed buyers offer.  We waited awhile and I noticed that Brian was in his office and there were 5-6 other people in there as well.  They were laughing and talking.  He would get on the phone every few minutes or his cell phone.  People were coming and going in and out of his office.  After sitting there for 30 minutes or so this man comes out of an office to our side and starts talking to me.  He doesn’t introduce himself to me or anything so I don’t even know what his name is.  He begins to tell me that he is trying to get me approved with Geovista but they’re closed.  I said well Brian told he was sending it to Santander and I’ve already been approved with Roadloans.  I drove over an hour to get here to get this done today.  He said “well I can’t go through road loans because they are going to charge a $2000.00 fee to write the loan“.  I looked at him in amazement and said the loan is $9200.00 and the payments and finance charges are listed on the paperwork that I handed Brian and I explained that there is no $2000 fee on there.  He said “well we can’t pay it judging by the amount you are paying for the car and Im sure you don’t want to pay it“.  He then said something about the agreed amount being paid in cash and not a financed amount.  I told him that Brian knew that I had financing in place because I told Patricia a few times and I told Brian himself at least twice and we went over what company it was with.  Keep in mind at this point I didn’t know who this man was that was telling me this.  I walked away from him and went to Brian’s office and told him I thought he was going to handle my transaction personally?  I motioned to the 5-6 people standing in his office and said your in here with all these and I didn’t say anything, and he said employees.  I truly wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to them but I didn’t know if it was employees or friends. He said he was trying to close business transactions.  I said this guy out here is telling me that we can’t get this done tonight.  You told me on the phone that we could just go with the loan I have approved already and then I get here and you tell me that YOU are running me through Santander and YOU will be with me in a little bit.  Then this guy comes out of another office and tells me that the bank he is trying to get me approved with is closed.  This is about the time the guy comes up behind me and says I’m his boss.   Brian goes on to say that the amount offered to me was the CASH sale price not the financing price.  He says were not a finance company. Again I had my financing already to go. I told him I called after my husband got that text and told him that we had financing and it wasn’t a cash sale.  The boss speaks up and says that he saw the text stating that it was a cash sale.   Then it dawns on me and Im even more floored.  The guy that was in Brian’s office while I was on speaker phone is the same man who heard Brian tell me that we would just do the road loans loan is telling me that they can’t.   And that the price isn’t accurate either.  I got my papers back and my husband walked up behind me and told me to come on I didn’t need to listen to anymore of this bull@#$!.  Brian then spoke up and said to not come back.  At this point I’m doing all I can to not cry.  We get in the car going down the road and I look through the paper work and the buyers offer isn’t there.  The boss kept the buyers order.  I guess that means that they don’t have to honor that amount anymore. Not that they had any intention of doing so to start with.  I called the finance company when we left and asked them about the fee, they instructed me that there was a fee to do business with them but he wasn't sure how it was charged if it was per applicate but he was positive that the 2000 fee was not accurate.  I don’t know what was going on.   All they had to do was say no when I originally offered to buy.  I feel like all the shadiness was totally unnecessary. I only expected to be treated fairly and respected in the process.  In all your years of being in this industry have you ever heard of anything like this happening to a client?

Penny ...WOW .... You should buy a lottery ticket because you just hit every single possible bad experience creating entity in all of automotive retailing ...what am I talking about?:

1. Roadloans
2. CarGurus
3. Shit Heel Dealer
4. Lying Salespeople and Managers with ZERO integrity

OK you probably saw how I am inclined to give complete answers to even short questions and due to the time of day and the day of the week this answer is going to come to you in more than 1 part so hang on.

The short answer to your question is ....YES! I have heard horror stories ajnd personally lived through horror stories about Roadloans (my personal email is and I also have   I got them both 8 years ago as a bad joke)



"I just got approved for a 6.9% interest rate with Road Loans, but after reading that they have an "F" rating on the BBB and seeing all of these complaints.. I wont even consider them"

"According to the paperwork: "buy just like a cash buyer!" Bullcrap. They charge the dealer a loan "Aquisition fee" based on the price of the car and the person's credit. They wanted to charge the dealer 30%!!!! Holy crap! And the thing is, that the dealer has to pay for it, they can't put it into the price of the car. So basically, you wheel/deal get the price you want, then you find out they can't do the deal because the fee is so high, they can't afford to absorb the cost! This can't be legal. And if it is, it should be regulated."

"Well I got the approval and even got the car. $600 down payment, $92.00 to register and plate it, $250 to start insurance and now they called me and said they were not gonna finance me. ARE YOU FRICKEN KIDDING. I hope there prepared to write me a check! DO NOT GO THRU THESE PEOPLE!!!!"

"Do not accept an approval from Road Loans.Gave an approval with a down payment went to pick up automobile and was told I needed a co-signer."

"Santander, Drive Financial, RoadLoans: they're all horrible. 11 dollars to make payments by phone or online. Getting anything done with them is like pulling teeth. I have a friend who works at CarMax, and everyone there hates working Santander as well. They change their minds all the time, and she said usually the people at CarMax can't even get them to revert decisions they made after the facT"

Those are just the first ones I ran into ...there are literally 1,000's more. After the second loan thru those guys went sideways over undisclosed fees and/or 'we changed our minds" types of events I went around to every single finance manager in the entire auto group and ripped the Capital One/Roadloans Guidelines and rate cards out of their books and told them all that the next person to contract anyone thru either source would be joining the ranks of the unemployed. The absolute God's truth on these guys is that they charge ridiculous fees to the dealer but thats only if you can get them to fund a deal at all and provided they didn't change their could not easily find a dealer in the NW who hasn't had a problem with these guys and alot of us won't have anything to do with them.

Thats the poop on Roadloans


As much as roadloans is hated by customers CarGurus is hated even more by dealers ....the truth on those guys is coming up next! stay tuned

Tips on Buying Cars

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Roger Alvey


I can answer any question about the car buying process. I am a recognized industry expert on all issues regarding auto finance, including sub prime and buy here pay here financing, I can answer questions about car lock out systems, GPS monitoring by your bank, and about auto recovery methods and defenses. I am a 20 yr car industry expert and can tell you what to look for in a used car, how to negotiate the deal, help with how to market your own car, and how to negotiate with the internet department of any car store. I can tell you every single way the dealer is set up to beat you and how to avoid those traps, I can discuss all aftermarket and extended service contract products you will be offered in the finance process, I have lectured extensively on "The Best Way to Buy a Car" to civic groups and university students. I am a credit expert and can tell you what the dealer and banks are looking for and the rate you can expect to pay. HERE IS THE LINK TO MY OTHER ALLEXPERTS CATEGORIES WHERE I HAVE ANSWERED LOTS OF QUESTIONS HERE IS A LINK TO MY BLOG


20 years industry experience in top management of dealerships and dealer groups. Recognized industry expert since 2004 in the Top 10 industry experts for The Gerson Lehrman Groups Auto Industry Council. I also do consulting work for Atheneum Partners, Expert 360, Expert Connect and Coleman Research. I have been a franchise owner and understand all facets of the auto industry from the time the car leaves the factory until it leaves the lot with it's new owner. I have written training materials for both the prime and the subprime sales and finance process.

NADA, OADA, NFIB, State Certified Used Car Appraiser

Special Finance Insider, Dealer, and Automotive News, Gerson Lehrman Group Auto Industry Council News (frequently)

Willamette University - Salem Oregon BA Economics Willamette University Graduate School of Business - Econometrics Statistics

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