Toyota - Dealership misrepresentaion and extortion
The Global Customer Relations Manager / Complaints Manager / Sales Manager / Marketing Manager
Toyota Car Company, Japan
09/ September / 2008
Re: Toyota Previa Van Purchased 25 November 2007 in Amman, Jordan. VRN:JTEGD54M90A003367
I am writing this letter in hope that your global central management can take some remedial action to rectify the situation recited below as I believe that I was mistreated by your Markaziya agent in Amman, Jordan.
Sir, the story began when in late October 2007 I was shopping for a car and although I had been a 18 year customer of Honda buying the Civic, Accord and CRV models, I had made the decision to buy a family van and I was attracted to the Toyota Previa as the most handsome one in its range in Jordan. My point being that if I am satisfied I can be a long term loyal customer, but due to the events told below it would take some serious readjustment by your central management to retain my loyalty.
I visited the Markaziya showroom and we began our negotiations and were considering custom building certain features such as the color of the interior wood trimming and leather seats. While we waited for reply from mother country we temporarily considered a two car deal, the second being the Fortuner but soon gave up that idea because the features on it were lacking (e.g. no anti-lock break system and I think it did not come in fully automatic windows and doors), and we were not persuaded by the ensuing events to extend our relationship with the agent in concern, nor did they at any point market to us to ensure our clientele-ship.
I expressed my intention to finance the purchase and the Agent's salesman put me in touch with the resident Arab Bank representative as their cooperative institute for car loans. In the end the bank agreed to give me a full personal loan to repay in installments directly to them while the Agent would get full upfront payment in the form of a cheque.
After nearly a two week wait we were informed that the color of the wood trimming is uniform and that ordering leather seats would take 4 months before the car is delivered. Now this should make it blatantly clear that at no time did we consider a 2007 model, but we were also verbally very clear that we would want a 2008 model as the 2007 model would already be considered used.
The remaining issue was the color of the car. We were undecided between burgundy and navy blue. At no point in time until then had the salesman told us of any difference in year of make between them.
We were quoted 36,000 J.D as the full price of the car and on the eve of going to the bank I visited the dealership and asked the salesman for the value of the cheque I should get the next day and he re-quoted 36,000 J.D. We had finally agreed on the navy blue car prior to him telling me the final price.
I returned to the dealership the following morning (14 November 2008) and I handed him the cheque. It was then that he informed me that the price he had quoted me was wrong because it was in reference to the burgundy color car and that that was a 2007 model so for the navy blue car (2008 model) the difference would be approximately 934 J.D more.
I was very upset and felt manipulated and I told him that we had never considered the 2007 model that we had always talked about the 2008 model regardless of the color, besides I was with him the previous night and he neglected to mention this. I felt manipulated because they then had the cheque in their hand while the car was not ready for delivery as it was held up in regulatory delay due to awaiting tinted windows approval; whereas they could have told me the night before that the car was not yet ready for delivery so as to arrange for the cheque to be closer to the expected day of delivery.
Anyway, the unprofessional treatment continued, as I was never offered a temporary car loaner while we awaited approval which took another 11 days (the date of the car registration was 25 November 2008 and delivery was two days later as it had to arrive from Aqaba Port and then inspected for delivery in Amman). So they held the cheque for 13 days before I finally took delivery of the car (in the end the car had to be registered in my wife's name (Ibtisam Jamil Mustafa Sharan) as she is a Jordanian while I am not).
In the mean time had I not asked for it they did not even offer to give me a loaner car. They finally gave me one (which I only kept for 4 or 5 days) because I requested it as the wait was getting prolonged. Furthermore, I was getting no update information unless I asked for it. Even worse, the salesman also attempted to burden me with the cost for approving the tinted windows, when I refused he told me that he would have to bear it as a reduction of his own commission!!! (This, I believe, he did to make me feel guilty and responsible, which is manipulative and deceptive).
The lack of professionalism continued: among the few things we negotiated as add-ons were carpets and a free first service (which are sometimes standard things in other countries of the region, which means that your Amman dealer offers the least features and services of any other regional dealer/agent).
I was promised those things by the salesman and I also requested a breakdown bill (to itemize the price of the car and the other items such as customs tax, registration fees, etc…), I never received such an itemized bill or any other comprehensive bill except the registration costs bill only.
When we finally took delivery of the car, we were never given any letter to confirm the free first service deal and we had to re-ask for the carpets as they had not laid them in the car at delivery.
Then the salesman called two days later to request the difference in price he had brought up. Expressing my continued disapproval, I offered to pay by Visa card, he said he preferred cash. I told him I can not pay cash as I had to borrow the money initially (which by the way proves that the difference was after the deal, because if I arranged for a bank loan for 36,000 J.D which is equivalent to approximately 52,000 USD I could have easily added the difference but it was not in the agreement) and I can not pay that amount in cash. He said you can pay later as the Visa card machine was out of order. I said give me a call when it is repaired.
I now had the car and it was fully registered to my wife without any receipt or itemized bill except for a receipt voucher for the 36,000 J.D cheque paid 13 days prior to taking the car and a registration fees breakdown bill.
A month later the salesman called me to remind me of the 934 J.D. I went to pay it but this time he told me that the company stopped accepting Visa card payments. I was unconvinced and I thought something is wrong. So I told him I would speak to the manager and clarify all this.
I was becoming suspicious and sure that something is not right. I called to ask for the manager of accounts and he refused to tell me if indeed the company stopped accepting credit card payments.
I told him the situation is uncomfortable and that I had never acknowledged that I owe the money as it was initially the salesman's fault for discovering very late in the affair that he misquoted figures even though he knew from the beginning that we talked about 2008 model. I told him I felt manipulated and requested to speak to a senior manager as the continued excuses about my attempts to settle this via credit card payment were illogical and had made me more doubtful of their legitimacy.
A couple of days later I was called by the gentleman who was the manager we had spoken to during our brief contemplation of ordering leather seats and brown wood trimming. When I related to him the succession of events (that a loan was arranged, a cheque given, the car delivered 13 days later, and all while the issue of the 934 J.D balance was still in the air), he seemed to agree with me that something was amiss and that he would try to find out some more and get back to me.
Another month passed and I was called again by another manager, whom I had never dealt with before hitherto, he tried to tell me that despite the mess the balance is due and that if I do not pay the 934 J.D then the salesman would have to lose it from his commission.
I told him that they had mistreated me and misrepresented to me various things, including delivering the car without the carpets I requested and when I reminded them they gave me generic carpets with no style or proper fit. I also was never given a letter to confirm the first free service which I was promised and the salesman's explanation for that was that he had informed the service department, but when I went to check on the unusual bumpiness of the car on ramps or any hole in the road (and Jordan is full of them so I was feeling it a lot) the service manager informed me that he received no instruction about the free first service. Also, all they did for me was deflate the wheels and insist that there was nothing wrong and that I was over sensitive; to this day the bumpiness continues. Also within less than 3 weeks one of the wheels just went flat and the puncture shop I went to told me that the wheel was faulty.
The senior manager who never apologized for any of my inconveniences nor acknowledged that the salesman was wrong, nor offered to have a look at the faulty wheel, finally asked me if I would pay, I told him I believe that:
• I do not in fact owe the money as it was the salesman's fault for confusing our instructions for a 2008 model with the model of the color of the car (the senior manager had practically admitted as much as he said that the salesman would otherwise have to bear the difference as a reduction in his commission);
• The salesperson brought up this difference the day after the bank loan was taken out despite being with him on the eve of going to the bank to ask him about the final figure, so it was his mistake and should be his responsibility;
• That even despite my attempts to settle this matter in a reasonable way, I was being given illogical and unconfirmed excuses about at first a faulty credit card machine and then a cancelled credit card payment policy;
• I was misrepresented to on various issues and you are now trying to take advantage of me.
He said if you do not pay there will be consequences. This all ended approximately in February of 2008.
Five months later I had to sign for receipt of Court Decision Papers finding my wife (the car was registered in her name) guilty of owing the money to the company.
Curiously, we were never notified of an initial court hearing date where we could go to present our case.
I have had to hire a lawyer on behalf of my wife to appeal, but I am told even if I win I can not get the company to pay my expenses (a potential cost of 500 – 1,000 USD).
This is a very unprofessional and abusive and exploitive situation and I am asking the central management of Toyota to deal with the matter decisively to drop the suit and to reprimand the Dealer as their behavior is a blot on Toyota's reputation and their Customer Relations worldwide.
Sir, I am appealing to you to deal with this matter and to bring it to a close. The salesman made a mistake and tried to force my hand to pay for it and because he is a relative of the owner of the dealership they are inconveniencing me further by this mischievous law suit.
I look forward to your reply.
Husam Meshal, Ph.D.