I’m pretty even tempered and I’m pretty passionate about my bikes. But I walked out on my “new” VFR from That Dealer in Coquitlam (the big one, you know it I’m sure), here’s how it went down. Draw your own conclusions.
First contact and test rides went well. The Salesman, a member of this board, was really helpful and let me try the CBR Blackbird XX and the VFR with minimal fuss. Later he arranged for me to have a longer test ride on the ST1300 moving it from the downtown location to the Coquitlam one. It all started so well.
In the end I decided on the VFR and in consideration of the ease and number of test rides I had done out at Coquitlam store, I wanted to ensure that The Salesman got his commission so I took my business out there. It’s not a convenient location to do business at when you’re a resident of the West End, but thus far he’d treated me well.
On Saturday September 20th I went out to set up the deal. The Sales Person agreed to bring in the bike, and assured me several times that it would be “brand new from the crate.” So it wouldn’t be ready till late Monday or Tuesday Morning because they needed time to “build the bike”.
I was going to get a fresh bike! This was a major reason for going to this location, they didn’t have any VFRs in stock. I had already taken a look at a number of show room VFRs in the lower mainland and had concluded that thousands of trial-sittings by the masses had in general not been kind to the bikes. But heck I had The Salesman’s assurance that this was going to be “fresh from the crate”.
I sorted out the deal with the Financial Office. The experience was a bit like getting called into the principal’s office. Regardless it was sorted and I had arranged for personal financing.
Monday about 1PM my partner and I went over to the downtown location, to do a quick sit on the VFR (make sure I was doing the right thing fit wise) and price out some accessories.
We got to talking a sales person. They mentioned that even if I wanted the instant gratification of the scratched up VFR on the floor I couldn’t buy it. It had been sold to a guy out at the Coquitlam dealership. A mild alarm bell went off and my partner and I both made note of the bike’s VIN number. Still I believed everything would be ok, maybe another guy had bought a VFR out there. Earlier that morning I had called out to the Coquitlam dealer, the Salesman had said the bike would be coming in that afternoon at about 2:30 and be “built” for pick up Tuesday morning. So I felt vaguely confident that my bike was going to be “fresh out of the crate”.
Tuesday Morning my partner and I headed out to Coquitlam. We had decided that rather than my financing the bike personally we should put it into the company as part of the tour fleet we’ll be growing for next season. I brought every financial and corporate document I could think of that might be required. Should be a snap.
Upon arriving we were told the Financial Office was busy with two other sales ahead of us. I sat down to flip thru the manual. I also asked at one point if I could take a look at the bike. The Salesman told me it was in the shop still being “built”. He also mentioned that the bags hadn’t arrived, but the racks were on the bike so it would be just a matter of clipping them on when it came in. Odd, I had spotted the bike at the shop entrance on our way in. Odder, to my knowledge, the bags and racks come as a package for the VFRs – I put myself down as possibly being wrong. Heck, it sucks to be so suspicious that you ruin all that new purchase joy.
Once in the Financial Office, I requested that we reorganize the financing to be under the company. The woman behind the desk said she didn’t have any of the documents and made do with a personal finance application for the company. We were told to come back the next day because it would take at least a day and a half to process.
[EDIT] I've removed a very subjective judgement on the way the financing process proceeded. I have also recieved a very sincere and accepted apology from the Financial Officer regarding to the confusion around the financing and my perception of the tone of the transaction. She had chosen to relay the worst case financial scenerio.
On the way out I spoke to the Salesman regarding the financing he offered to speak let me speak to the Parts and Sales Manager. I conveyed the negative experience in the finance office to him, and the positive experience I had enjoyed while working with Salesman while I selected the bike.
On our way back downtown my partner and I talked the morning’s events through. Something didn’t feel right about the time it would take to arrange for the financing. We stopped in at the Honda Centre to ask for a second opinion. The response was that it should take an hour same as personal financing.
We then went to my company’s bank branch, to have a chat with the manager. It’s good being on a first name and drop in for a chat basis with your branch. We quickly checked to see it there were better options for financing and came up with a “not really”. I then signed an information release form pre-emptively in case Honda Canada Finance needed banking info regarding Go. It was about 1:30 and the branch hadn’t received any requests, again odd.
My partner and I went for coffee, to come down from the negative experience in the financing office and the generally lack of ease with which the day was going. We also discussed where my breaking point would be, where would I walk away from the deal if I had to.
I decided to phone the Part and Sales Manager in Coquitlam and tell him I had gotten a second opinion on the financing. I gave them 15 minutes to sort it out. It had been well over an hour since the new request had been submitted. This is pretty forward for me, I’m not an aggressive person – and damn it I wanted my bike.
Less than 15 minutes later it was reported that the financing had “just” come thru. I felt relief and we headed back out to Coquitlam.
[EDIT] I've since spoken with the Financing Officer and the Parts and Sales Manager. It was dumb luck that the financing came through at that point. At the time it was easy to precieve as otherwise. I accept this explanation.
Back at the dealership we waited for the Finance Office. After 15-20 minutes of waiting I knocked on the door and asked to sit down. Everything was in order and we started to look over the papers.
Then my partner spotted the upside down VIN for the bike on one of the documents.
“You probably don’t want this bike. It’s the one off the floor.”
I took a moment. I composed myself. I gathered my financial documents and left. On the way out of the dealer I put the manual and a first service free card on the sales persons desk.
Outside I started got ready to pillion back home. My partner went back in to discuss the matter with the Salesman and the Parts and Sales Manager.
My partner came back out and we prepped to go. The Parts and Sales Manager followed. He said that he was only told to bring in a ’03 product and apologized. I believe I said, “There seems to have been some miscommunication internally. You have lost the sale. That is the way the cookie crumbles. I will never do business with [this company] again.”
Draw your own conclusions as to this dealership.
I've taken my business to the Honda Center. My bike should be ready Tuesday! They've helped reinfuse the joy into what should have been a easy transaction.
[EDIT] I've since recieved appologies over the matter from the Parts and Sales Manager and the Finacial Officer. I accept these appologies and hope to move forward from the matter. Hopefully this will mean a better customer experience for myself as well as the rest of the motorcycling comunity in the lower mainland.