Some Dealers Are Resorting to Detaining Customers

Apparently Some Car Dealers Think It’s OK To Detain Customers Against Their Will.



"I asked both attorneys what customers should do if they find themselves in a situation where a dealer is preventing them from leaving. Both said that dealers will often immediately change their approach once the police are called.

Another possible approach is to take out your cellphone and start recording the conversation."

“Suckers” in real life


i’d like to see how this would’ve played out in Texas


I’m gonna start detaining dealers. Those Chevy keys all look the same. Is this my Bolt key? Or an LT1 key? We may never know!

“Please let me go! I swear to God we’ll give you 10% off sticker!”

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This has to be few dealers by now being that most car buying/negotiation is done online. Negotiate over phone/email, have them send you a paper with all of the numbers, and show up to sign the papers.

Or PA, where every vehicle and unsuspecting person might have a legal conceal carry handgun tucked into their glove box, seatwell, or concealed holster.

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I actually think it’s the opposite. The majority of dealers are still operating the old-school way. But well-informed customers on this site will just pass over them and only work with the ones that behave like modern businesses. I time warp to 1996 in dealerships all the time.


Maybe just a sample size of 1 then. I will not even consider doing business with a dealer does not work over the phone/email, which probably means they are not pulling these types of shenanigans too often either. Any specific brand or just in general?

I think more Economy than Luxury can get away with a grimier style. Need vs Want type of thing.

As a customer: how you shop, where you shop, how you Sort/Prioritize, and what you’re shopping for are going to have an impact on the experience you get.

There’s a clear difference in the type of customer:
Great credit, researched online, contacts via phone or email
Fair credit, saw TV commercial or liked the look of the car, just walks in

As a dealer: Different brands & locales may get more or less of one kind or the other, and adjust their strategy accordingly.
…Or some stores may just literally be stuck in a time capsule, and be completely blind to the volume of customers that “will not even consider doing business with a dealer does not work over the phone/email”. They didn’t think You were a serious buyer anyway AKA “we won’t do business unless you’re here in the showroom.” No loss felt on their end. In that scenario, You Both pretend Each Other don’t exist.

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The few times I’ve bene car shopping, that’s been my impression…

Or Florida or Georgia.

I think this really depends on how the dealership is run. I have had varying experiences working with Honda, VW, and Toyota dealers. Some dealers have been able to be professional throughout the purchasing/leasing process and others need to resort to antiquated tactics.

It is just a dealer or dealer group that needs to resort to these tactics to keep the sales flowing. However, not having an online/over-the-phone presence is going to be a problem for dealers that have already given their local competition time to train salespeople, hire an internet sales team, and invest in online paperwork software.

Agree with you 100%. We’re saying the same thing.

It’s absolutely a problem for dealers that are stuck in the past. More of them go out of business each month because of the problem you’re describing. But, they’re stubborn enough to ride bad practices to bankruptcy before changing their practices.

This was me about a year ago, I could not fathom how the dealer I leased my first Ioniq from was in business if they treated people that way. Sure enough, less then 3 months later they went bankrupt and disappeared.

What you’re describing is happening, but it’s happening slowly, and in the present. Plenty more bad dealers still need to go bankrupt before you can assume that any dealer will deal over the phone/email.

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Apparently this SOB took Covid bailout loans too…


We are indeed saying the same thing.

I would only hope that it takes something less than bankruptcy to have a dealer’s management change the way they work with customers.

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and a lady’s lease buyout then ran :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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