You’d think buying a car either brand spanking new or nearly new from a Dealership would be relatively straightforward wouldn’t you ? Oh no ! not a bit of it. As long as I can drive one, in fact longer than that because I used to go with my Dad, there’s been this car buying sales ritual that I’ve never quite understood. I’ve never witnessed it in any other buying environment so I don’t understand why it still persists in the world of cars and car showrooms.
When I got home I commented about my experience on Twitter. I’m new to Twitter so I didn’t quite expect Bristol Street Motors to respond apologising and requesting I give them details for them to investigate. Here’s a copy of my email for your delight:
Following my comments on Twitter about Bristol Street Motors and your request to provide further details I think it best to elaborate further:
My wife is currently in the market for a new car. We are interested in the Hyundai i10 so over the past few weeks she has been looking at models and availability on the Internet. She found your website in which there is listed several Hyundai i10 models of various ages and prices but information like location is sadly lacking. How does this work then she wonders ? We could have gone on Live chat but frankly we both prefer a face to face so we get in the car and go down to your local Branch to talk to someone who we hope will give us straight answers. We arrive at your Branch and are met by a friendly welcoming young lady who politely passes us on to a Sales Rep. We are then subjected to what I can only describe as a carefully orchestrated ( and psychological) pantomime. The male Sales Rep welcomes us, shakes us by the hand and then sits us down in the middle of the showroom amongst all the shiny new Peugeot cars. My wife explains to him several times she’s seen these Hyundai’s on the Website and wonders how it works ? Despite my wife asking the questions he turns to address me and as I suspected he would subtly tries to start steering us onto Peugeot cars which this is a dealership for, “have you thought about the Peugeot 106 by any chance?” She’s prepared a list of about six cars on your site that she’s seen and has it to hand. Surely if we are interested in a particular car on the Website it can be arranged for us to consider it. We are informed however that despite each car having a reference number it’s “like looking for a needle in a haystack” but the Rep takes the list from her and tells us he is going to see his Manager to discuss further. This is when I start to get irritated because I’ve been subjected to this “ I need to speak to my manager “ before and I’m not falling for it. It pisses me off big time. He nips off for five minutes around the corner leaving us sat there like puddings. I saw his Manager at the same time and they weren’t talking. Furthermore one of the cars on the list is a little more pricey at £8495 than the others. Lo and behold he comes back five minutes later and tells us they can’t get the others but they can get the one at £8495. Despite my wife explaining yet again that it was only an enquiry he then insisted on taking our details on the computer, name, address, contact no etc and then left us again to go see his manager to see if his manager had finished his enquiries. Again his manager and he when I looked were not together and not talking to each other. In fact when he came back my wife reckoned she could smell fags on him but …..well ? After an irritating time sat down I asked my wife to stand up and look like we were about to leave. My Sales Rep returned to us with his manager and explained they couldn’t / wouldn’t be interested in getting us any of the cheaper Hyundai models because they wouldn’t make any money on them. “ Don’t you want us to order this one at £8495 the Manager asked us ? “ No” my wife replied we only came in to make an enquiry.
It begs the question, if these cars are listed on the Internet with unknown locations then what’s the point if Customers at the other side of the country can’t access them ? You either want to sell us a car or you don’t. We left your Dealership and went down the road to one of your competitors who I have to say treated us much more respectfully than you did.
My visit to your dealership left me completely bemused. My wife and I were made to feel like we’d just dropped off a Christmas Tree. I’m surprised that you still carry out these sales practices that I first witnessed about thirty years ago. Do you send your Reps on training courses to do this ? I won’t be returning to you in the near future and I won’t be recommending BSM to my friends or on my Blog.
Footnote: At time of going to press Vertu have not responded and we’ve been and purchased a car from one of their competitors. We pretty much went through the same ritual but somehow we felt a bit more in control.