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Poor Overall Service & Products
Respected sir/madam,
In the eighteen (18) months since I bought a used Subaru Forester from Sisbarro Auto, in Las Cruces, NM – my third vehicle purchase within one month from this dealer - I have had nothing but trouble. I have poured over five-thousand dollars($5K) into repairs and there is still more needing to be done. Were this a case of one bad car, a lemon, then I would be justifiably upset. However, given my history with this dealership, it is neither surprising nor unexpected that once again, I was sold a bill of goods.\r\n\r\nIn June of 2010, I went shopping for a vehicle, and was referred by a local garage to a tent sale event in town. I drove there and found myriad used vehicles. A salesman named of Fred Byers approached me and immediately started the hard sell on a worn and worn-out Jeep, whose doors did not even close properly, and was missing a few windows. He offered everything he could to get me to take a test drive, but I demurred and said I would continue looking. As I walked away, he did, too, in another direction.\r\n\r\nI came upon a white 1999 Nissan Altima GXE, which he insisted was a Maxima, contrary to the rear end model designation. (It was about fifteen minutes after the papers were signed that he realized his mistake, saying, “I wondered why the title said Altima.” As always, great salesmanship.) It was a priced affordably and I took it out for a test drive. Some minor problems were evident, such as there being a bag of marijuana in the glove box. Why would a professional auto dealership not make a thorough search of a vehicle before selling it? Other than the weed, the few minor, visible defects were used to bring the cost down further. I said I would take it and we started the paperwork.\r\n\r\nThe next day, I brought the car to my mechanic who, after placing the car on a lift, informed me that there were so many items needing repair or replacement, he wanted to meet the salesman personally. He also told me that repairs would run well over $5, 000 and that it was not worth it to keep the car. Understandably, I was in shock, as I took to the phone and started calling anyone I could think of at the dealership. When I reached the finance manager, I related what was happening and he was upset. He immediately contacted the salesman and directed him to come and pick me up.\r\n\r\nWhen Fred Byers arrived, coffee in hand, he was none to keen to even exit his vehicle, let alone enter the shop. But the mechanic insisted and Fred took a cursory look, neither knowing nor caring what was being said, even as it was being emphasized how unsafe and unroadworthy the car was. I then got into his vehicle and we drove back to the tent sale. After much time walking among the many vehicles, I found a 2000 Blue Chevrolet Cavalier, seemingly in good condition. Fred told me the price was the same – wasn’t I lucky? – and we took it out for another test drive. This time, no illicit substances were found in the vehicle, and it seemed to drive well. I insisted my mechanic take a look at it before any paperwork was done, but Fred balked at this, until I threatened to personally go to the dealership.\r\n\r\n(Interesting side note: Fred Byers, the tent sale salesman told me how dealerships around the country would “import” out of town salespeople so as to not disrupt their own, permanent showroom staffs. Thus Fred, who hails from NNNM – Nowhere Near New Mexico, was conveniently gone when the real troubles occurred.)\r\n\r\nThe upshot of this purchase was that within several days, the Chevy died in a friend’s driveway, hundreds of miles from my home. On a Friday evening. The next morning, I started calling Sisbarro and, to their thin amount of credit, was contacted that morning by a high-ranking individual who seemed sincerely concerned about my plight. Offers were made, including sending a tow truck to retrieve the car and me. I declined that, as I did not wish to be at someone else’s mercy on a long ride with my valuables exposed to who knows what. Consequently, Sisbarro said they would reimburse me for repairs done to the car where I was.\r\n\r\nWhen I finally returned, it became apparent that no one in the actual showroom had any idea what was being said or done at the tent sale. The owner, Lou Sisbarro, made an appearance, glad-handed me and went on his way. The marketing manager, who seemed to be the only real gentleman I met during this entire ordeal, made sure I was put up in a local motel and promised that all expenses related to this fiasco would be taken care of. Which they were. So again, to their not very reliable credit, this much was done, thus assuaging me somewhat. However, I still had no car and was staying in a motel, a long way from home.\r\n\r\nI was introduced to the sales manager, Mike Tourtillot, a tall, lanky mid-westerner who reminded me in both look and character of an amalgam of M*A*S*H (TV) characters Hawkeye & Henry Blake, at once both conniving and bumbling. He was told the problem, told to satisfy me and I was left in his hands. Unfortunately.\r\n\r\nDuring my several days at the dealership, the marketing manager again came to my aid, by giving me the keys to his own dealer-provided car for the duration of my stay. Why he wasn’t running the place is a mystery. Maybe his service was so good, it would have blown a hole in the sentiment of Used Car Dealers being sleazy. I was then urged by Mike Tourtillot to visit the other Sisbarro showrooms in town and see if there were any vehicles meeting my standards, which meant that they would run for more than one week without a tow truck’s assistance. I looked for several days, until finally, while sitting in Mike Tourtillot’s office one afternoon, he said to me, “There’s your car.”, and pointed out the window to a red Subaru Forester which had just pulled in.\r\n\r\nHe told me that the woman who owned the car did not drive much and always came in for servicing, thus the car was in good shape. I asked to see a Carfax report, which he declined. I then asked to have the car inspected by my mechanic, and have Sisbarro pay for, to which he also said no. He said he would have one of his own mechanics examine the car, which struck me as a wee bit of conflict of interest. The, on my own, I found that the brakes were very low, the tires worn and several items needed repair, including the rear window washer; the cruise control; the left front fog lamp; and the clock-temperature display. The cigarette lighter was broken and, though I do not smoke, I do use a GPS unit, and thus needed the outlet.\r\n\r\nWhile he grudgingly agreed to the new tires – and that, in and of itself is a story to be told – he declined to pay for a $5 socket replacement! I simply went past him, asked a staff mechanic to install it and that was that. The brake job never materialized, nor did any other repairs. As for the tires… I like Discount Tire, a large chain out west with great customer service. Mike Tourtillot said no. He said he would have his contracted tire person replace the tires. When I told him I wanted the Discount Tire warranty, he said “It’s the same thing, and you can still go to Discount Tire with this warranty.” Which was, of course, a lie. I learned this the first time I pulled into a Discount Tire, in Oklahoma. The manager there was as gracious as any other person I have ever met at all other of their stores and took care of my needs. However, Mike Tourtillot lied, again.\r\n\r\nHe said the car would cost me $5, 000. I said that I wanted to pay less, based on all the crap I had already endured. He said no, giving me his sob story about having to pay for the tires, the cigarette lighter – he found out, eventually and the $5 rankled him – and his entire life story. Also, I complained that at the tent sale, a real, honest-to-goodness – well, honest is a stretch, but… - Sisbarro sales manager had refused to even look at my original trade-in and I wanted it put toward the Subaru. He said fine, it was worth $500.00 and thus the Subaru cost me… $5, 000. I still do not know how that worked out.\r\n\r\nI was tired, physically and otherwise. The past several weeks had drained me, in the summer heat of southern New Mexico. The emotional drain had enervated me to the point where I just wanted to get out of that situation. I did the necessary paperwork, said my goodbyes and left, finally. Now the real adventure began. I always thought that Subaru was a superior brand of vehicle, and it felt fine at first, confident, stable. But then, little things started becoming evident, such as the aforementioned rear, washer, the display, etc. Within two weeks, I paid a mechanic to repair the washer. The clock display was too expensive and was not vital at the time.\r\n\r\nHowever, as time went by, other things began to happen, such as a burning smell from the engine, and an unstable feeling when turning. When I brought the car in for an oil change and tire rotation, the shop manager showed me numerous problems with the car, including cracked wheel bearings, leaks and other maladies. And those low brakes. This was less than 12 months after purchase. I care for my vehicles, including regular oil changes. But there was no way for me to have known about problems which were brewing well before I ever set eyes on the car. And I have Mike Tourtillot to thank for that; for his refusal to have the vehicle inspected.\r\n\r\nSo now, eighteen months and $5, 000 later, I have hard decisions to make, again. And what compounds matters is that after all the trouble he gave me during the process of trying to buy a third car from his dealership, Mike Tourtillot, who knew full well how unhappy I was – and am – with him and the entire situation - continued to email me happily, jauntily, as if we were old friends, and all was okay with the world. He was told to stop, but this did not deter him, until a complaint was made with the honorable marketing manager, who must have gotten the message through Mike Tourtillot’s thick skull.\r\n\r\nMy message? Avoid Sisbarro Auto Group, avoid Mike Tourtillot and insist on Carfax, a mechanic’s exam and anything else to protect yourself. I have no faith, whatsoever, in Sisbarro or its employees. And there is more.\r\n\r\nSubsequent to my purchase of the first two vehicles, I looked into Sisbarro’s policies. I was told by a Sisbarro employee – not in sales – that Sisbarro routinely and illegally sold vehicles meant for the Cash For Clunkers program, and that I had been sold at least one, if not two, of those, indicating the Nissan and the Chevrolet. I was told that the tent sale provided a convenient pretext for unloading these undesirable vehicles which had been destined for the scarp yard.\r\n\r\nFurthermore, I was told, unsolicited, that on at least two occasions, out of town sales persons, had made untoward advances toward female customers during test drives, when the alleged victim was trapped in a moving vehicle. Now, these two allegations have never been proven, but it seems mysterious that employees of a company would be relating such things to a stranger unless there were kernels of truth floating about.\r\n\r\nSo again, my message is to save yourself grief, trouble, problems and perhaps becoming both stuck and out of luck, by having do dealings with Sisbarro Auto Group and Mike Tourtillot.
Post by b999
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