The Great Nissan Debacle

Feb 14, 2012

What you are about to read may be shocking but I assure you that every word is true. I’m not writing this to get anything out of it except maybe a bit of stress relief and to enlighten others.

TL;DR: I won’t ever buy a Nissan.


My wife and I had a 2011 Toyota Camry which we were perfectly happy with. We were not really in the market for a new car but heard what sounded like a good deal on a 2011 Nissan. Since there were 49000 miles on the Camry after a year and a half, we decided to check out Kraft Nissan and see what the fuss was about.

16 January 2012

My wife heads to Kraft and they let her borrow a 2011 Armada to test drive and see how it is. Initial impressions were great. We really liked the car and started to think about purchasing it. She took the car back to Nissan after a few hours and we told them we’d like to think about things.

That night, we did some research online and compared prices. The price they were asking seemed like a good deal and was on par with others in the region.

17 January 2012

My wife tells the salesperson at Kraft that we’d like to test drive a Pathfinder instead just to keep our options open. We still preferred the Armada and were really thinking hard about moving on it. Kraft had also pulled credit scores to look into what the financing would be and overall, everything looked pretty decent.

That same morning, she receives a call from Flowers Nissan in Thomasville, GA and they were basically just following up on a lead that had been generated by her looking at vehicles on their website. They told her that they would basically do anything to beat Kraft’s price on a 2012 Armada and wanted to know how they could earn our business.

After talking everything over, we decided we wanted to do business with Kraft since we liked the salesperson and the price.

18 January 2012

We got all of our required paperwork in order to purchase the 2011 Armada and headed to Kraft Nissan. Upon arrival, they told us that we hadn’t actually been approved yet and that they were still working with other lenders to work out a deal. They also said we may want to check with Wells Fargo, our bank, and see if we can get a good rate. This is the first thing that upset us since we were under the assumption that all we would need to do is sign paperwork and drive away happy.

After about an hour, my wife has gotten both of us approved for a certain amount. Since we had a sour taste in our mouth with Kraft, she called Flowers and said, “We’ve been approved for X amount, can we do business on the 2012 Armada?” They told us we could and we began the process of going back-and-forth with our bank and the dealership for the next five hours.

That night, we drove up to Thomasville to pick up our new, sexy, black 2012 Armada. We gave Flowers and check from Wells Fargo and one from us, signed the paperwork and drove away happy.

19 January 2012

We discovered a small scratch on the rear of the vehicle. It was deep enough that it would probably require a bit of paint but not major. We also noticed the screen for the backup camera had bad reception in the dark. We told our salesperson and he said make a list of anything and that they’d be able to get the car in-and-out the following week. That weekend, we celebrated our son’s fourth birthday and had a good time.

23 January 2012

My wife called Flowers Nissan to discuss getting the car in for the repairs. We decided that we would rather wait and get the car in on the weekend since we both had to work. They told us that they really needed to get the car in that day since they were booked the rest of the week. She drove the car to Thomasville and the gave her a loaner to drive, saying that the car should be done the next day.

On her way back home, she receives a call from Flowers finance manager saying that he’s about to lose his job and we owed another $6000 on the car. Needless to say, she was incredibly freaked out and scared. We had left the paperwork in the Armada and so had no way to reference it. I told her not to worry and that we should be fine since we had signed for a certain amount and they let us drive the car away.

24 January 2012

My wife received another call from Flowers’ finance manager and she gave my cell phone number to him so I could take care of it since she was nine months pregnant. He called me and I told him that I did not agree with what he was saying and that it was their mistake; we shouldn’t be
held liable for that. I told him we’d be up later that day to sort things out and to pick up the Armada. After that phone call, I told my wife to call our friend who is also a lawyer and tell him what’s going on.

I ended up taking the second half of my work day off so I could sort everything out. About noon, we arrived in Thomasville and let our salesperson know we were on the way to pick up the car from the shop. When we arrived, I was approached by the finance manager who brought me into the office to go over the paperwork. I took a photo of the buyer’s order which turned out that they had made a mistake and were correct that we were supposed to have given more. I told him that I was going to take the order to our lawyer before doing anything. The car wasn’t out of the shop yet so we drove back to Tallahassee to talk to our lawyer.

After talking for a couple hours, our lawyer found multiple mistakes with the paperwork. The biggest mistakes were that they hadn’t done their math correctly and THEY didn’t sign any of the documents. At this point, we decided it’s best to go get the car and let them decide if they want to take us to court over $5200 (not $6000).

We drove back to Flowers and I was brought into an office with the finance manager, sales manager, and salesperson. I told them that I wasn’t going to pay the amount in question and that I was going to go ahead and get the car out of the shop, which I was in my legal right to do. They came back after about 20 minutes and said they would not release the car without the rest of the money.

I called our lawyer and he said I had two options: file an injunction and have the police make them release the car, or get all of the money back and void the deal. Filing an injunction would have cost at minimum $500 and at this point, we didn’t want to spend any more on this. We decided to just void the deal.

When I told them that we wanted to just get our money and the Camry back, they said they wouldn’t give us the Wells Fargo check and would send it by mail instead. This wasn’t acceptable because I didn’t want to have any liability on someone else. After involving our lawyer again, they finally brought a check for us and one for Wells Fargo. They then told us that we’d have to wait until the next day to pick up the Camry since they had already sent it to wholesale (BTW, they hadn’t even applied for the title so I question the legality of that).

26 January 2012

We finally drove back to Thomasville to pick up the Camry and ended up heading straight to Thomasville Toyota and purchasing a 2012 Highlander. Toyota was so quick and painless and we were out of there in about two hours.

Closing Thoughts

The entire process with Nissan was so despicable, that we will never buy a Nissan. I see Nissan Armadas on the road now, and am just sick to my stomach at the way we were treated. We were mis-led and multiple points and I’m ultimately glad we are in another Toyota. I hope this story serves as a warning to people to make sure you don’t let dealerships try to take advantage of you. Don’t be afraid to question everything and make sure you document the entire process. If something like this has happened to you, please let the corporations know and definitely don’t be silent about it.