Earl Stewart is the owner and general manager of Earl Stewart Toyota in North Palm Beach. The dealership is located at 1215 N. Federal Highway in Lake Park. Contact him at www.earlstewarttoyota.com, call (561) 358-1474, fax (561) 658-0746 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to him on Seaview AM 960, FM 95.9 and FM 106.9, which can be streamed at www.SeaviewRadio.com every Saturday morning between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
I wrote this column six years ago, but my doctor just told me I'm scheduled for another colonoscopy at the end of this year and it reminded me that, if I were you, I would probably rather do this than buy a car from a typical car dealer. ?
If you are over 55, you should have had a colonoscopy. If you haven't, call your doctor because this could save your life. It did mine, but that's another story. I had another colonoscopy yesterday and I have to tell you that it's a very unpleasant experience, mainly from the mental anguish anticipation and the discomfort of the preparation the previous day. I had a lot of time to think about my procedure and I started thinking about how this experience parallels that of buying a car. It's something you must do and has a very good benefit, but you dread the process.
This column, my 39th for Hometown News, has consisted mainly of suggestions and inside information that can make your new or used car buying experience less of a fearful occasion. If this is the first column of mine you have read, you can read all of them on my Blog, www.EarlStewartOnCars.com. Some of the titles/subjects are "Always Get an Out the Door Price," "Bait and Switch Advertising," "Beware of Deceptive Internet Car Pricing," "Beware of Direct Mail Car Advertising," "Buying a Car When You Have a Credit Problem," "Eight Steps to Ensure You Are Buying the Best Car for the Best Price," "List Price and MSRP Might Not Be the Same," "Negotiating to Buy a Car," "Open Letter to Florida Car Dealers," (I, II, III, and IV) "Shop Your Financing and Trade," "Should I Buy My Car at the End of the Lease?," "Should I Lease or Buy my Next Car?," "Should I Pay Cash or Finance My Next Car?," "Should I Trade in My Old Car or Sell it Myself," "Tell Your Car Dealer to be Nice," "The Right Used Car is a Better Buy than a New Car," "Translating Misleading Car Ads," "What is the True Cost of that New Car?," "What to do if You Are Treated Badly by a Car Dealer," "When is a Car Sale Not a Car Sale?," and "The Internet Price is the Lowest Price for a New Car."
Almost every one of these articles originated from my customers' and others' experiences when buying cars from other car dealers. I get a lot of calls from people who have never bought a car from me. They call to tell me of their bad experience with another dealer and, when I get several calls on the same subject, I write a column on it. People often call me asking for advice or assistance after they have already bought, which is "closing the barn door after the horse is gone." On more than one occasion I have called car dealers asking them to consider undoing a wrong they have caused one of their customers. I have to confess that I am "batting zero" on this effort. I won't give up, however. I just made another call this afternoon on behalf of a customer whose installment sales contract, signed by her and the dealership had a higher interest rate than a second contract that the dealer sent to the lender. The customer told me she signed only one contract, the one she took home a copy of.
One thing that amazes me about these weekly columns that I have been writing for almost a year is that no car dealer has ever called me to complain or for any other reason. I have not been sued either. I think that says something about the truth of my articles. I'm not a lawyer, but I do know that you can't successfully sue somebody for libel or slander if they write or say the truth. I know of one car dealer who threatened to cancel her advertising in the PB Post because she thought it owned the Hometown News. I am puzzled why not one single dealer would call me just out of curiosity. I don't have a secretary and I don't screen any of my calls...nor do any of my employees. They do know how successful my dealership is and how fast my sales are growing. They know that I am selling a lot of their former customers. Many of these new customers tell me how they told the other dealers why they chose to take their business elsewhere. I believe that before too much longer we will see some changes in the way other car dealers do business even if they refuse to call me, as I have repeatedly invited them to do. Sooner or later they will understand that treating your customers with courtesy and integrity is just plain good business.