Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Subaru Outback Shopping: Dick Hannah Subaru Dealership Review

After having a horrible experience with Dick Hannah Subaru, this is the letter that I wrote to Subaru USA.  Their response appended at the bottom:

Hi Subaru,

This email is about a very bad experience that I had at a dealership: Dick Hannah Subaru in Vancouver, WA.  (7407 NE Vancouver Plaza Dr, Vancouver, WA): http://www.dickhannahsubaru.com/.  This is a very long email detailing all of my conversations/frustrations with the dealership.  Please read patiently and take the appropriate steps.

Living in Northwest, I always had a good opinion about Subaru vehicles, also through driving my close friend's Subaru.  As it was time for me to purchase a new vehicle (crossover SUV), I did my research, checked out the competition and finally decided that I would purchase a Subaru Outback Premium (initial preference) or Limited (current preference) 2.5i in one of the 2 colors of my choice.

Since I am a computer engineer, I did all my purchasing research online and checked with several dealers in the area that I lived.  I also did price negotiation over email.  Over emails, I was offered a real low price (below the invoice price, as quoted by truecar.com) by Dick Hannah Subaru's internet sales person: Chris McNamara.  I decided that I would go to the dealership and check out the vehicle and purchase. This dealership was one of the farthest dealership to my home.  When I drove all the way to them, the first thing that I was told by another sales person (Ron Mentek) that they don't have the vehicle and they would get it in 2-3 weeks.  I was asked to sign a purchase offer and pick it up in 2-3 weeks.  I was disappointed that the vehicle wasn't there and wasn't confident purchasing without seeing the vehicle.  Then he tried to sell me another vehicle (different color) with different pricing.  I walked out of the dealership unhappy.  I was told that they are getting another Limited Outback in 2 days and they would keep me updated.  As I did not hear from them for 3 days, I called them to find out the vehicle that they mentioned.  This time, I got to another sales person over phone(Ali), who said that I was given wrong information earlier and that they are not getting any such vehicle with those specs.  He said that he will keep me up to date on any upcoming Limited Subarus.

Ali calls me a day later (on Dec 30/31st) saying that he just got Subaru which is in the dealership and should be ready for purchase.  I negotiated the price over phone and said that I would come.  Thankfully, this time, I asked him if the vehicle would be ready to be driven out after purchase on the same day.  He said that he will check and told me that the vehicle did not have the fix for the recall issue (Master Cylinder) and that they will have it fixed by Jan 4th.  Then I mentioned that Subaru has the 0% APR financing (& also the Northwest MtHood Fusion Pass offer, worth $950) until Jan 3rd and asked if the dealership could have the vehicle ready by Jan 3rd.  He said that he would call, and he did not call.  I called on Jan 2nd to check on that, but could only leave a voice message, and also emailed the internet sales guy that I first contacted: Chris McNamara.  I got response on Jan 3rd morning saying that they will sell the vehicle without the recall fix and will only allow me to take the vehicle when they have it fixed.  I was never given a firm date when they will fix the recall issue, and when I insisted, was roughly given 2-3 weeks.  I asked if I can just physically see the vehicle, checkout the interiors and make the purchase on Jan 3rd to be eligible for the 0% APR and the MtHood Fusion Pass deals that were ending on Jan 3rd.  I was told that I can do it that way.  Throughout the day on Jan 3rd, though I was at my workplace, I did nothing work related as I was over phone, emails, etc with mutliple dealers (to purchase something to avail the expiring offers) and also because I never had confidence in Dick Hannah dealership.    However, I felt that I might be overreacting to the previous mishap and gave them benefit of doubt.  I checked on several details about the vehicle at Dick Hannah before I go to the dealership, like Mileage (7 miles), VIN # (4S4BRBKC8C3229980, for dealer Stock# S12324) and dealer add-ons, etc.  For each single detail, they took about an hour to get back to me, basically pushing me against the closing time of their dealership (8pm).  At 6:20pm, I decided that I would drive to their dealership and close the deal, irrespective of the final price.  I still was on phone with multiple (at least 3) sales person from the dealership (Chris McNamara, Tam, Ali) even while driving negotiating the pricing, dealer add ons.  Every time I call, I get different sales person saying that the other sales person is with another customer and that he can answer my question (takes all of my details, with no avail).  All of these 3 folks knew that I was coming to buy the vehicle with the above mentioned VIN#.  When I reach the dealership at 7:30pm, I was told that the vehicle that I came for was actually sold at 6pm to another customer.  Then they tried to sell me other vehicles (colors, models) at a different pricing. 

Basically, it felt as if they lied to me just to make me come to the dealership.   And considering the fact that I wanted to avail the 0% APR & MtHood Fusion Pass, I felt that they want me to purchase some vehicle from their dealership.  I was super pissed off and asked to talk to the manager (Curtis, i think).  He just listened to all my rants and said that he can not do anything about it.  One of the threee sales person that I was talking to earlier before coming to the dealership, said that he did not have the information about the vehicle being sold.  But it was hard for me to believe that all 3 sales persons did not have any information of this vehicle.  None of them even mentioned that there were other customers looking at the same vehicle & this was the vehicle that I have been enquiring about or shown interest for ~5 days continuously.  The following information from other sources solidifies my belief that they lied or tried to cheat me.

Earlier in the day, I was checking with all Subaru dealers in the area for availability of Outback Limited in my color of choice.  There was one dealer in Salem, OR (Jim Doran Subaru), who said (at ~4pm) there were only 1 in that color in any Subaru dealer within the 100 mile radius (as per the Subaru master database that he was looking at).  I asked if it was Dick Hannah Subaru that carried the vehicle and mentioned that I was planning to get it from him if I get the right price.  He said that Dick Hannah does NOT have it.  I even gave the VIN # that Dick Hannah gave me and the Jim Doran dealership guy said that Dick Hannah doesn't have the vehicle VIN# that I was given.  When I asked that guy if it was allowed to sell a vehicle whose recall fix wasn't done, the guy said that his dealership would not sell in that fashion.  Since, I had conflicting information, at that time, I decided to go with Dick Hannah in the hope that Dick Hannah wasn't lying (which in hindsight does not feel like).

Other issues with this dealership: Dick Hannah Suburu has very high user rating in citysearch review site: http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/41277732/vancouver_wa/dick_hannah_subaru.html.  They have a 5 star rating over 150 reviews. I took the pain of reading most of the reviews.  All of the reviewers in that site joined on the day they wrote the review and have only one review in this site, that of Dick Hannah Subaru giving glowing review to the dealership.  It's sad that a dealership which has been in existence for several years does something like that.
On the contrary, another review site, yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/dick-hannah-subaru-vancouver has a rating of 1.5 and all the reviews on this site (after going through my experience) seem genuine and from real customers.

Hoping that Subaru USA addresses issues like this and do whatever is appropriate to avoid such experiences to customers.  I can be contacted if you need any more information/specifics about my experience.

Thanks for hearing me.
- Raja Sandireddy.

Reply from subaru.com
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with me. Subaru values all of our customers and we expect our customers to receive a high level of customer service and satisfaction at our dealerships. I can assure you we will address your concerns with the dealership as we document all customer complaints and take that opportunity to improve the quality of service our customers receive at the dealership level. Although I am unable to change what has transpired I would like to take the opportunity to offer you $250.00 reimbursement towards Subaru genuine accessories should you decide to purchase a new untitled Subaru. Simply send me a copy of the invoice should you decide to take advantage of my offer and I will gladly issue you a reimbursement check. Thank you.

I purchased a remote starter and they promptly sent me a $250 check.  All in all, Subaru made me a happy customer.

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