I'm not surprised to see this kind of loose and fast playing with pricing. Car Dealers are Car Dealers no matter what their slogan.
I ran across a Highlander Hybrid Avondale had advertised as Toyota Certified and having 3.9% financing. I gave them a deposit and began to prepare to fly 600+ miles to pick up the car, then the sales manager dropped a bomb. Earlier he had told me the 3.9% financing didn't apply to "Hybrids" but now he asked if the 100,000 mile warranty I mentioned was the Hybrid Battery Warranty because it wasn't "Certified". I was told by the sales manager "it was against the law" for them to certify this car because of the mileage on it, then clarified it was against Toyota "Rules".
He only believed their own ad (their website was mysteriously down at that time), after I led him to the ad so he could read it himself on AutoTrader.com:
Highlander Hybrid * 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Immaculate Inside & Out, Hard to Find, Great Gas Mileage, Tons of Power, Unbeatable Toyota Certified 7yr/100k Mile Warranty, Easy to Finance with 3.9% for 60 Months, Call to Set Your Appointment Today!!! * "
Well, I called, Set an appointment, gave my money and in the end wasn't offered what was advertised on at least 3 websites.
The Sales Manager wasn't quick to apologize or take responsibility for the issue, and only forwarded my information after requesting the dealership honor their advertisement after hinting that they should feel obligated to do so.
I was later contacted by another "Manager" who quickly pawned off responsibility on some supposed 3rd party company that placed all of their ads, and mentioned the ad is automatically copied on several sites, including their own. He did a decent job of typical used car salesmanship making it sound like I was being offered something, when I was really being offered nothing. He said they had made a mistake on pricing another car and had to pay the dealer the difference, although he never offered anything similar for my ordeal.
He also said Toyota doesn't allow cars with over xx miles to be certified, and if they could get a 3rd party warranty they would, but no warranties could be purchased for a car with the mileage it had on it. And there was nothing they could do about the 3.9% financing as that was a "Regional Toyota Offer" and didn't apply to Hybrids.
I made sure to never imply they were "false-advertising" or had purposely placed a misleading ad, but said it was to the dealer's advantage to have such positive selling points in their ad, which he disagreed with.
Instead of crawling back to them and asking for something in return to stay with the deal, I waited for them to offer an appeasement. Nothing was ever really offered, except the if there's anything we can do (to get you to buy this car anyway)...
I would probably be waiting till the end of time.
I made it a point to send my complaint to Toyota corporation and a few days later got another call from the same guy who reiterated that they would do something if they could, but there was nothing they could do, and he was "dissapointed" (that I had sent the complaint to Toyota) and gave me the standard this is a Family Owned Business, and the "One Price, One Person" sales slogan.
I would have thought in this litigious day and age a company would want to honor and appease the consumer, if not just to ward off bad publicity, let alone lawsuits.
But then I'm an outsider in the Wild-West McCainnedy country, so the same rules must not apply.
I see the NONcertified Highlander Hybrid is still apparently sitting on their lot, baking in the hot Arizona sun, now a few weeks later...which is justice enough for me!
Hope they don't send ol Angel Eyes out after me for this post!