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Lexus Bradford Nightmare


watsonbucket
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Hi Folks, I am a new member hoping to own a Lexus with airmatic suspension to suit our disability needs : This sadly below is our first experience of a Lexus dealership..............read on.

To whom it may concern and without prejudice.

This is a story/nightmare about our attempt to purchase a car that perhaps was never destined to happen due to a chain of unfortunate events which were beyond our control.......

This is also a tale of an assortment of broken, dubious verbal promises from a dealer which sadly now appear to be not true. It also involves strange practices and procedures that are grossly lacking in professionalism and courtesy. There are also elements of lack of respect, misleading information and poor communication on the part of the dealership. Behaviour that is probably synonymous to Arnold Clark rather than a Lexus dealership.

My wife and I are retired disabled and were looking for a car that had adjustable air suspension to enable easy access for my wife and to help us with wheelchairs and companion retriever etc.

Having looked into the kind of vehicle that would meet our needs, we arrived at a very short list of vehicles namely Lexus & Mercedes. So I searched the internet for a good example of a used car that had this option fitted....

3 weeks ago, I enquired about a Lexus RX350 via the Lexus website and was invited online to make an offer for the car which I did subject to seeing the car and finance etc. I was then contacted by the dealership the following day and spoke with a Mr Rob Hilton who describing the car told me it had one previous owner and elderly couple who had cherished the car and was immaculate in every way..................however I'm told a couple of days later...it needs 4 new alloy wheels apparently and then spends 10 days being "prep'd !? At this stage we had not seen the car because there was no pictures available till over 2 weeks had elapsed (perhaps it was in no condition to photograph until it had been prep'd?)

I asked if the car had a grab handle fitted to the front passenger windscreen pillar to assist my disabled wife to access and alight from the front seat......I was told "no but I am sure we could fit something". This I discovered turned out to be impossible because there are airbags fitted in the door pillar. We then decided perhaps the car was not suitable without this grab handle and said we would have to withdraw our interest. Then my son-in-law heard about the issue we had and over night devised a leather strap and Velcro loop that seemed to solve the problem. So the purchase appeared to be ok and on the strength of that I agreed to pay a deposit of £500 using my credit card over the phone this payment was based on the fact I was told it was only a token to confirm the intention to purchase and should there be any problem whatsoever with finance or seeing the car or driving it and no liking it etc then I would receive a full refund. We were also told that the car could be delivered to us and would be done at cost price either on a trailer or by a hired driver (this later turned out not to be possible because of the need to sign documents and approve the vehicle at the dealership) Then unfortunately we received the news that a member of our family who had promised to help us with the deposit, said he could no longer oblige because of the credit crisis and that he had lost a lot of money etc etc. I then had to inform Rob the sales man that despite thinking we had overcome the problem of access and looking forward to our new car, we had been badly let down and without the help could not proceed. This was devastating news because we had been looking so long for the right kind of car for us.......This caused a big family row and then my 87 year old mother who is in a nursing home got to hear about our disappointment and how we had been let down by a cousin with regard to the deposit. She phoned me and said how disgusted she was with the cousin etc and what a so and so he was and so forth, then said "I'll help you and will send you a cheque"...........I thanked her and advised Rob the salesman over the last minute "reprieve" as it were and the good news and that I just had to get the acceptance from the rest of the family to avoid any jealousy or resentment etc. It was then my sister in law pointed out to me that as far as she could remember my mothers savings were held in some kind of trust and she may not have the funds needed easily to hand.......so I phoned the family Solicitor and he confirmed that there was a trust and besides, as her attorney I would have to get permission from the Court of Protection before accepting the money and that could take some time and they may well not justify the use of my mothers money in buying me a car....

It was at this stage my wife and I decided enough was enough and that we should just forget about trying to buy a car until our heritance came through later this year at which time we could buy a new model and without finance or asking for assistance from any family.

We also felt it was the fairest thing to do for the dealer to enable them to sell the car to an alternative buyer because it seemed there were other people we were told interested. I asked about our deposit and was told by Rob that he would sort it out. Then I was told by Jason his sales manager that once they had found another customer for the car they would phone me to give me the option of proceeding or refund the deposit. During all this time the car has remained advertised even after I gave a deposit. It was also advertised as being offered with 2 years free servicing.....which I was told originally would not apply to this car ? Only now has it been removed from the Lexus website and the dealership website so I assume it has now been sold to someone else but I have not been advised as promised.

My wife and I are both disabled and we done our best to proceed with the purchase of this car that we felt met our needs. We survive on disability benefit and pension credits and we cannot afford to lose the deposit we placed on a car we never got to see or even drive.

We never got a receipt for our deposit and I was never told what finance company the dealer had proposed us to either. I have told the dealer that assuming he would stick to his verbal agreement about the deposit, we would place an order with his dealership later in the year for a new car once we had received the inheritance we are due.

Meanwhile, I hope we can close the file on this in an amicable manner but I will admit at the moment I am having little success re communication by way of replies to my phone messages and email to either the salesman Rob Hiliton or his sales manager Jason Gregory. Yes the past 2 weeks have been a "roller coaster" re its ok, its not, its ok.....but it was due to circumstances beyond our control and we really did want this car.

I hope that this dealership is going to act in a manner that befits a company promoting the name Lexus.

Thursday 19th March: Despite leaving messages again and emails to phone me, I end up phone Rob Hilton again at the dealership. He confirms that the car has been sold and apologised for the delay in refunding my deposit and said menial salesmen like him were not allowed to do it and that it has to be actioned by admin staff and cannot be done by "menial" workers on the showroom floor like himself. Its a fact that the card was debited within minutes of giving the details over the phone and yet it takes days to refund ? Rob promised me he would see the refund was done during today (Thursday). It is now 19.27 in the evening and the refund transaction still has not taken place......

Friday 20th March.

It has now been over 2 weeks since the deposit was debited to my credit card for a car I never saw or drove and was sold a week ago to a third party. I never even received a receipt for the deposit transaction or details of which finance company the dealer was proposing me with, so I do not know to whom my personal data was given to ! I have sent yet another email today to Rob Hilton to ask him to see that the refund was done by the end of today. As yet and as usual I have had no response and will not doubt end up phoning him yet again. What a contrast in response and credit card debiting when you are interested in buying a car compared with when you have been told you will receive a refund !

I will wait till Monday then I shall contact trading standards in Perth Scotland, also our solicitor. I will also publish this story in all the Lexus Blogs I can find on the web. I will also issue a dispute claim with the credit card company............however, I hope common sense prevails and this matter is resolved by returning my deposit as promised.

Friday 20th March 4pm

Tried phone Jason Gregory sales manager but not available and told he would phone me back......but he never did.

Friday 20th March 18.17pm

As usual no reply received to my email to Rob Hilton and despite his promises..... no refund transaction shown on my credit card account.

The time is fast approaching when I run out of patience and put the matter in the hands of Trading standards and also publishing the story on all Lexus membership Blogs and also copying to Lexus Customer Relations. SSAFA, Autotrader, What Car, Watchdog,Top Gear, Fifth Gear and any other media outlet I can find.

Saturday 21st March 09.45am

Phoned Rob Hilton at dealership and was told by receptionist he is "in a meeting" and will phone me back............we shall see......

Sat 10.45am no call back....still in meeting ?

Can salesmen afford to spend so much time "in meetings" when they are supposed to be on showroom floor trying to sell cars ?

Sat 11.45am Still no call back as promised. (very de ja vu this)

Sat 12.45pm no call....

Sat 6pm yep, you guessed it, no call back.

Sun.........no call

Mon 23rd March 10am I phone dealership and Spoke to a Mike who said he would put me though to Rob Hilton.....after a short pause he said Rob was on the phone and would get him to phone me back and assured me it would be before mid-day............

Monday 23rd March Mid-day..........no call back !

I think enough is enough and the time has come to send this email to all the above addressees including the credit card company.

This really should not be necessary and really is shameful behaviour by staff who end up making assurances and empty promises.

J*** & J**** G*******

07*********

Summary :

See a car online at Lexus approved website.

Make an offer by email.

Dealer 200 miles away in Bradford phones price agreed.

Deposit required subject to finance, seeing and approving the car as suitable and a test drive.

Deposit placed on credit card. no receipt ever issued.

Data given to propose finance, finance accepted but no details of finance company or apr etc ever provided.

Car still not seen or driven.

Photographs finally appear on website over 2 weeks after original enquiry.

Order cancelled due to finance of deposit no longer available therefore without deposit finance cannot be provided.

Promised refund by dealer, then told by sales manager that they would hold deposit pending finding another buyer then give me first refusal to proceed or withdraw.

Without advising me they sell the car to a third party and never informed me till I enquired.

Now I have phoned 8 times and sent numerous emails to get deposit refunded and I get no reply to messages I leave at reception nor to email.

Now I have given my details and data over the phone and internet to a dealer who whilst has promised a refund, will not respond to my communication.

Therefore I will lodge a formal transaction dispute with my credit card company under the distance selling regulations together with the above information/story.

J*** G****** 22 March 2009

07*********

Edited by Monster-Mat
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Good grief, this must be awful for you. Some sharp practice here. I hope this works out for you and your wife. If you paid by credit card, and this is found to be an illegal transaction by the dealer, then the credit card is liable and will be responsible for refunding you and recovering the money from the dealership.

Col...

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You really should not publish your names, mobile phone number or personal family details on here. It's not banned but it's for your own protection.

Sorry to hear of your demise, but unfortunately you can get a bag egg in any box and you seem to have found one. I cetainly would just want my deposit back and then would not have any dealings with them again. If you contact your local delaer when you are ready to buy later in the year you should be able to get them to source a car for you even if it advertised by another dealer.

Good luck.

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You really should not publish your names, mobile phone number or personal family details on here. It's not banned but it's for your own protection.

Sorry to hear of your demise, but unfortunately you can get a bag egg in any box and you seem to have found one. I cetainly would just want my deposit back and then would not have any dealings with them again. If you contact your local delaer when you are ready to buy later in the year you should be able to get them to source a car for you even if it advertised by another dealer.

Good luck.

Thank you Steve for advice and understanding. I will remove posting and remove details etc cheers

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Good grief, this must be awful for you. Some sharp practice here. I hope this works out for you and your wife. If you paid by credit card, and this is found to be an illegal transaction by the dealer, then the credit card is liable and will be responsible for refunding you and recovering the money from the dealership.

Col...

Thank you, I did initilially sympathise with the dealer because it must have been a roller coaster of a sale due to the unforeseen events that took place and I apologised on each occasion but once I had no choice but to withdraw, he became very hard to get hold of and when I did he said he was sorry refund had not been done and "would see it was sorted straight away"..........but nothing ever happened.

Have lodged a dispute with credit card company anyway................we shall see. Thanks again for input

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That is unbelievable, so they took your deposit, then sold the car you had reserved with that deposit, and now won't return the deposit? That's horrendous behaviour.

If you haven't already, don't bother with anyone in the dealership, go straight for the dealer principal. Find out who he is and ring repeatedly until you get to speak to him/her (I've done it before and it works pretty well). Ring Lexus GB too, there isn't a whole lot they can do, but it should at least open up communications with the dealership.

Hope it gets sorted asap.

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That is unbelievable, so they took your deposit, then sold the car you had reserved with that deposit, and now won't return the deposit? That's horrendous behaviour.

If you haven't already, don't bother with anyone in the dealership, go straight for the dealer principal. Find out who he is and ring repeatedly until you get to speak to him/her (I've done it before and it works pretty well). Ring Lexus GB too, there isn't a whole lot they can do, but it should at least open up communications with the dealership.

Hope it gets sorted asap.

Thank you for your kind comments and advice which is welcome. I am new to Blogs but how great it is to get the feeling you can share your problems and experiences good or bad and instantly feel that you are not alone.

My wife and I whilst disabled are not looking for any special treatment or sympathy, we just want to buy a certain type of car that meets our needs and be treated fairly.........

I have copied my long saga to the Lexus Bradford MD a Mr Paul Fagan also to the head of Lexus Customer Relations, Perth and Kinross trading standards also to the Credit card company as a disputed transaction.

Thanks again for you comments

Watsonbucket

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Re the Lexus Bradford Nightmare

Today I received a full refund and consider the matter closed.

I will however say that it has taught me a lesson in many ways which include: Stick with your local dealer, get all assurances and promises in writing and not just verbally.

I will admit that due to a ridiculous series of events through no fault of the dealership my purchase was off and on about 4 times............but these problems were also beyond my control. Beyond doubt it could have been handled better at the later stages and the sudden lack of proposed replies and communication generally only aggravated the situation.

Must move on now and find a car.

Thanks to all those who have taken the time to comment, sympathise or advise : I am most impressed with this my first ever Blog and hope to sign in soon as a proud owner of my first Lexus 350 se l

Cheers

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I'm really pleased that you got it sorted in the end, I would have to probably agree that sticking with a local dealer can make things simpler, but I've read that some of the dealers in the middle of the country are letting the side down slightly. If you venture as far as London, the dealers do get better again and really do bend over backwards to help you out.

Good luck with finding the right car, and yes do stay in touch with us as we're all happy to help and look forward to pics of your new car :)

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do stay in touch with us as we're all happy to help and look forward to pics of your new car :)
Indeed we are and we do. Hope you find the new car for you very soon.
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Thanks folks for that.

Whilst we do live in Scotland. I am a born and bred Londoner and I will aim my enquiries at "smoke"........

Looking for a RX350 SE L 2006/7 with reasonably low mileage and history up to about 17k......I think the Hybrid option used price might be too strong in price for us at the moment.

The hunt is on !!

Cheers

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Good luck mate, there are two problems with looking for a car down here, one is that London is generally more expensive (although with current conditions that isn't so much of an issue) and because of the congestion charge exemption there are probably a lot more hybrids than 350s.

Having said that there must be some around, I can highly recommend either Lexus Woodford or Lexus Edgware Road, both great dealerships.

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