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I don’t know if any of you will be interested enough to read this entire long story, but I thought I’d post it anyway. If nothing else, it will give me some closure on this ordeal…which has been the most bizarre vehicle purchasing experience I’ve ever been apart of.

The story spans three months, three dealers and three different Enclaves. And although this may spoil the fun, I’ll tell you up front there is a happy ending (just incase you were worried this was going to be some long tirade about how much I hate GM, Buick, Enclaves, life, etc.).

The search.
In early June we decided to seriously start looking for a new vehicle. My wife and I had attended a car show in January, and were very interested in the Acadia and Outlook. We were able to sit in both of those vehicles at the car show, and really liked what we saw. The Enclave was also on display at the show – but unfortunately despite the very nice and elaborate display, they didn’t actually have one that you could get in our even get close to (why…I don’t know). We liked it from the outside, but since it seemed so “unapproachable” we didn’t serious consider it at the time.

We first test drove the Outlook. We liked it and the Saturn dealer had many to choose from on his lot. However, we didn’t like the sales guy we talked to, didn’t like Saturn’s “no haggle” pricing, and I just wasn’t sure about owning a Saturn. So we immediately went right down the street and test drove an Acadia. We liked it more than the Saturn and started thinking this might be the vehicle for us. But luckily for us, this was a GMC/Pontiac/Buick dealer, and the couple Enclaves they had on their lot immediately stole our attention from the Acadia. We fell in love with the exterior look and once we drove it, we felt there was no comparison to the Acadia. Once we experienced the Enclave, our decision was easy.

Enclave #1
Once we decided on the Enclave, it was a matter of finding the right one. While we really liked the sales guy that was working with us at the first dealer, they didn’t have any Enclaves available in the right color/option combo/price range that we wanted. So, we quickly did some online searching through all of the local Buick dealer’s inventories. We were so excited to find the exact vehicle we wanted at another Buick dealer in town! We rushed to that dealer the same day to see it in person. Initially we drove around the lot looking for it, but didn’t see it anywhere. We gave up and parked our car and went inside the dealership to ask about this Enclave we found on their website (we weren’t sure if they still had it, etc.).

This is the point in the story where things start to go south. We stood in the lobby of the dealership for 20 solid minutes waiting for someone to acknowledge our presence. Yes, they were busy…but several employees peeked at us over cubicle walls, others walked hurriedly past us without making eye-contact. Call me crazy, but I was just waiting for someone, anyone to say, “Excuse me Sir, have you been helped.” Now I’m probably not the typical Buick customer. My wife and I are both in our late 20’s, so maybe they thought I was waiting with my daddy or something. Regardless, after 20 minutes I stormed out…I have zero tolerance for bad service. I was prepared to spend $35K+ that day on a vehicle, and if they weren’t willing to give me the time of day just because I didn’t look like the Buick-type….sorry Charlie, I’ll take my $$$ elsewhere.

I immediately went back to the other dealer with the sales guy that we liked. He mentioned before we left the first time that if we found one at another dealer that had the options we wanted, they could do a dealer trade and get it for us. We went back to him and said…not only do we want you to do a dealer trade for us, but we can tell you exactly where you can find the car we want. He called that dealer, and arranged the trade. On that evening, we spent 4 hours or so negotiating on price, etc. until we came to an agreement we were all happy with. All of this was, of course, dependent on them being able to secure the Enclave from the other dealer. Since it was late on Friday night, they said they probably wouldn’t be able to get it on Saturday (they wouldn’t have the office staff to do all the paperwork, etc.), so they set the expectation that we would have the vehicle on Monday.

All weekend we were giddy with anticipation. (If you were replacing a 1995 Isuzu Rodeo with a 2008 Enclave, you’d be excited too!) We waited and waited, and after I didn’t get the Monday morning phone call I was promised, I called the dealer that afternoon. He seemed skittish on the phone and said they were still trying to work out the trade and that there were some “complications” but he was confident they could still get it. His confidence was shattered when he called me back at 5pm that day to say he had bad news - I wasn’t going to get the car. Apparently at 6am that morning, the son of the owner of that other dealership needed a car to drive to a GM meeting in Detroit. Of all the thousands of cars that this dealer-conglomerate owns (they probably own 30+ lots in this city), which vehicle do you think he chose? That’s right…MY ENCLAVE! So, the owner’s son drove off with Enclave #1, and it of course was no longer available for sale or dealer trade.

Enclave #2
We were devastated, but not necessarily angry at the dealer we were working with because it all seemed like an unfortunate combination of events that really was out of their control. As consolation, the dealer offered to use one of their allocations to order that exact same vehicle for us that day. The catch of course was that we’d be waiting 8-10 weeks for our vehicle. Initially we thought, no way! But we quickly remembered looking at the inventories of every other Buick dealer in our city, and realized we wouldn’t find another match anytime soon. We went ahead and placed the order, and began our wait that so many of you are familiar with.

I wanted to be polite, so I purposely didn’t call the dealer for an “update” for about a month. When I finally did call, I was informed that the sales guy we liked so much (the whole reason we ordered from this dealer) had left the dealership and our order/sale was handed off to a new sales guy we had not met. Over the next several weeks, I called this new sales guy every Friday for updates. Each time he had “no information” for me, and often he didn’t return my calls in a timely manner (or at all).

Last week (week 10 of our wait), I started getting really nervous that our Enclave would not arrive before the Conquest rebate offer expired. Plus we had also been looking forward to having our Enclave for a Labor Day weekend road trip with friends…the chances of that were also looking bleak. In addition, I found out that a promise the previous sales guy made to us (being able to combine Conquest with the GM Friends/Family discount) was not actually going to be honored. So the price we had agreed on all along wasn’t what we were really going to get. All this considered, I talked to the sales guy and asked if he had checked other dealers lately for Enclaves that matched our order (something he said he’d be doing for us multiple times a week). We were in luck…he found one that matched at a dealer a couple hundred miles away. Again, our excitement kicked-in. That is until he called us back to say that dealer wasn’t willing to do a dealer trade. But, our sales guy made the mistake of telling me where this other dealer was – about 150 miles away. I was pretty sly – I had asked how many miles the vehicle would have on it after they drove it back here from the trade. Hee hee.

Thanks to GM’s vehicle locator on the GM website, I did some “detective” work and I was able to find the vehicle myself and I contacted that dealer to start talking price, etc.

Enclave #3 (3rd time is always a charm, right?)
To my delight and surprise, this other dealer was able to beat the price I had negotiated on my ordered Enclave…and this one had the Luxury Package that we didn’t include on our order! So, I could get a better Enclave for less money, and I could have it as soon as I could get there. This happened on a Wednesday. After a little debating – feeling bad about backing-out on our order – we decided to do what was best for us, and we put a deposit down on this out-of-town Enclave. We would make our trip to get it on Saturday. I decided not to call the dealer we had ordered with (to cancel our order) until we got back with this other Enclave. This was just to be sure we had a back-up incase for some reason we didn’t actually return with the out-of-town Enclave. And besides, it didn’t matter because according to our dealer, our ordered Enclave was still “a couple” weeks away.

Again, all that happened on a Wednesday. To my absolute disgust, the dealer I ordered with called me on Thursday with the “good new” that my Enclave had just rolled off the truck and was ready for me to pick up. What stupid irony! The day after I gave up on the order, it arrived – and it was to the surprise of the dealer. They said they had no indication in their “system” that it was going to arrive that day. Wow…now I was really in a pickle. I had a non-refundable deposit on an out-of-town Enclave with more options at a better price, and I had a refundable deposit on the Enclave we ordered, sitting on the lot right down the road from me. After some more internal-debate, I decided I was again going to do what’s best for me, but still do the “right” thing. Rather than just “hiding” for the weekend and not returning our dealer’s “good news” voice mail, I decided I would call them the next day and tell them the entire situation and tell them we were backing out on the order. This way, they would have the all important weekend to sell my order to somebody else. That phone call wasn’t pleasant…my sales guy was disappointed, and his manager was ticked! Oh well. If they could have told me a few days sooner that my Enclave was going to be there that day, I would have never strayed to another deal. Maybe this really wasn’t their fault, maybe GM truly wasn’t keeping their “system” up to date. Either way, it was yet another unfortunate combination of events and timing that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

On Saturday morning, we took a Greyhound bus to this out-of-town dealer. (That’s a whole ‘nother story…we did it to avoid having to drive two cars home, but my oh my was it a humbling experience). To our delight, this dealer had a person waiting to pick us up at the bus stop, and when we arrived at the dealership we were treated like royalty. We were introduced to practically everyone at the dealership, and it was instantly evident that everyone was 110% committed to making us happy and exceeding our expectations. To make a long story slightly shorter, I’ll just say that we had an absolutely awesome experience with this dealer. A few hours later…after waiting so long and going through so much, we finally had the Enclave we wanted, and we drove that baby home!

We’re in love.
This vehicle is already exceeding our expectations. We love it!!! It does things we didn’t even expect it to do, and all of my friends and family are just “ga-ga” over it. I couldn’t be happier! As crazy as this purchasing experience has been, it was totally worth it. This is an outstanding vehicle that I will be proud to own for years to come.

And even though I could have had a similar vehicle 10 weeks ago (if it wasn’t for my own stubbornness refusing to give our business to a dealer that shunned us), I don’t regret anything that happened during this ordeal. I was GLAD to give my business to this out-of-town dealer that went above and beyond to make us happy.

The moral of the story.
Let this be a lesson to all the Buick dealers out there. Don’t ignore the 20-something “kids” that walk into your dealership. If Buick continues to crank out impressive new vehicles like the Enclave, you’re going to start seeing a lot more of us walking through your doors. Just because we’re young and may appear to be your typical customer’s children…we’re not. We’re professionals, making plenty of money to afford your vehicles. But unlike our parents or grandparents who maybe just bought what was available and easy to access, we demand to be treated and serviced in a way the proves to us that you want to earn our business. If you don’t do that, we’ll do whatever it takes to find somebody that will. Two dealers didn’t earn my business, one did. Two dealers aren’t happy with me, one is. But nobody’s happier than me when I’m sitting behind the wheel of my gorgeous new Enclave!

There is a saying that goes, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”…or something like that. In this experience, I’d have to disagree. My journey was excruciatingly painful and filled with disappointment at almost every turn. My destination – the new Enclave – is luckily great enough to make me forget about the terrible journey. But now, behind the wheel of my Enclave, I can actually enjoy the journey more than I ever thought was possible.
 

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Great story, enjoy your Enclave.
I was also in my 20's when purchasing my first Buick. However, that was in 1985. ::)
 

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Great story grd, glad it had a very happy ending :cheers: If I may ask, was the dealer you finally purchased from in a small town? You know what they say about courtesy and customer relationships in a small town is true because I grew up in one.
 

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grd398s,
Congrats on your new Enclave, loved the story too! :cheers:

Thankfully, there ARE smaller dealers out there (maybe some big ones too) that aren't marking these up. Glad you found yours (relatively) close to home -- and a suggestion to those waiting -- use the Buick locator (much better than the GM buypower locator), look for the zip code in the address line and simply enter one after the other to look for YOUR Enclave. You don't have to expand the radius a whole lot if you are in or near a large metro area -- what you really need are a lot more zip codes so that you can move the circle around and capture most of the Enclaves out there for a particular area.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ccaats said:
Great story grd, glad it had a very happy ending :cheers: If I may ask, was the dealer you finally purchased from in a small town? You know what they say about courtesy and customer relationships in a small town is true because I grew up in one.
Yes, a much smaller town. I live in St. Louis, MO and we bought the Enclave in Paducah, KY.

I'll refrain from mentioning the names of the St. Louis dealers that I had "issues" with, but I want to shout the Paducah dealer's info because of the exceptional service I received. It was Larry Stovesand Buick/Pontiac/GMC in Paducah, KY.

If at anytime in the near future I am again in the market for a Buick, Pontiac or GMC...I'll certainly be making a return trip to Paducah! :cheers:
 

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Great story!
I'm glad your Enclave is home-sweet-home now!!
 

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I just love a happy ending. Congrats! :blob:
 

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grd398s
I live here in Paducah, KY and know the dealer you mentioned but had a little different experience. My wife had called to see about ordering our Enclave (Dark Crimson Metallic with everything but the engine block heater). She also contacted two other dealerships in the area. Larry's dealership (larget of the three) never called back. We went to the lot and again no help. They were also asking for MSRP or better. Don't know what you paid, but we were not going to pay it. Ordered with another dealership just out of town and expecting delivery within the next few weeks. Glad you had a good experience but there does not appear to be any consistency with Buick/GM dealers.
Congrats, and I think I saw your vehicle on the lot. Platinum color is very, very nice. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
orthopac - Sorry you didn't have the great experience there that we did. That's funny that you actually saw my car...small world. We certainly paid much less than MSRP...we got a deal that nobody here in STL could touch. Maybe they weren't as helpful because you wanted to order one? While we were there, they mentioned to me that they haven't been allocated very many Enclaves. So maybe they were just reluctant to use one of their "precious" Enclave allocations for your order. Could be the only they they would be willing to do that was if you were willing to pay MSRP or more. I'm not sure that makes good business sense, but who knows. It seems to be hit or miss with Buick dealers, and even more specifically hit or miss with who you happen to talk with at the Buick dealers.
 

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Congratulations grd398s! Sounds like you are enjoying the ride! Glad you finally got what you wanted.[/color] :angel:
 
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