May 11, 2024 at 1:44 pm

Five Years Ago A Dealership Bait And Switched Him. He’s Still Leaving Bad Reviews That Cost Them More Than $50,000.

by Abby Jamison

Source: Shutterstock/Reddit

Buying a car is a huge investment!

Dealerships are supposed to be trustworthy places, but sometimes, they can seriously screw you over.

For this person, a dealership made promises they didn’t keep, so he made sure they paid for it.

Let’s see what happened…

Dealership pulled Bait and Switch – It cost them over $50k

The city I live in has extremely inflated vehicle values compared to the surrounding areas.

If you buy the same car from a neighboring state, you can often save $3-4k without really trying.

When I buy a new vehicle (which happens every 3-4 years), I always look in the surrounding states to compare pricing.

This story happened about 5 years ago – and the malicious compliance is still ongoing to this day.

Let’s dive into the story…

I was shopping for a new car (brand new) – and found one that matched my specs about 12 hours away in a neighboring state. It was priced about $5,000 below comps.

After looking up flights, there was a 1 way direct flight that took me to their local airport for around $175. Plus the gas to drive back – I was looking at a total of maybe $275 to save $5,000. Absolutely worth it in this situation.

I reached out to the dealership – negotiated a bit – and agreed on a price.

I let them know that I would be flying in to pick up the car – and offered to pay in full in advance of the flight.

They told me that all they needed was a $1k deposit – and that the car was considered mine.

We signed a contract and I paid the deposit. And then I booked the flight (for 3 days from then).

First sign of things gone awry:

When I showed up at the airport, the dealership was supposed to pick me up. This had been arranged in advance.

A quick phone call later – and I grabbed an uber to take me the 20 miles to the dealership with the promise of them covering that cost.

No big deal either way.

Second sign of things gone awry:

When I showed up at the dealership, the salesman I had been speaking with asked me if I wanted to walk the lot with him to look at a few cars.

Yes, cars. Plural.

Questioning what he meant by that, we walked into the lot to see these “cars” that he was talking about.

Were these some special type of gold inlaid, full self driving, full self flying, amaze-mobiles?

No. They were not.

When I point blank asked to see the car that I was buying – the one with VIN XYZ listed in this signed contract with a deposit on it – I was told it was no longer available.

Thing aren’t looking great…

The salesman offered to show me similar cars – which would have been fine were we able to come to similar terms on pricing – but all of these cars outrageously priced (think 2k over MSRP – instead of $5k under MSRP).

(Important note for later: There was never a mention (or any paperwork, signage, etc) of any incentives for giving 5 star reviews.)

Fast forward 2-3 hours.

I am now convinced this dealership never had this specific car on the lot – and that this was 100% a bait and switch gone wrong.

The dealership was unwilling to sell me a similar vehicle at a similar price to our negotiated one (we were over $5k apart) – and were unwilling to pay the flight costs for this bait and switch scenario.

A heated discussion ensued between myself and the GM – where he told me to “go ahead and leave a bad review” – but that I wasn’t getting any “free” money from him.

They messed with the wrong guy…

I took an uber to a nearby hotel and booked a flight back home for the next day. Total cost? Around $750.

Cue malicious compliance:

This dealership had an average Google rating of right around 4.5 stars and around 400 total reviews. Pretty solid for a dealership.

That night, while I was sitting in the hotel room, I had some time to burn.

I spent a couple of hours creating new email accounts just so that I could leave multiple reviews for this dealership.

All said and done, I had left around twenty 1 star reviews over the course of that night – and then sort of stopped caring about the reviews.

At this point my focus shifted to recovering my lost travel expenses.

A few days after getting back, I sent the dealership a demand letter for $750, which they promptly ignored.

Since we had done the original contract (with the deposit) in both states, I was allowed to file a small claims suit in my state – which I did.

The dealership never showed up to court – and I received a default judgement for $750.

(I did collect that, by the way. It took a few certified letters – a few phone calls – and about a year – but I did get a check for $750.)

As you can imagine, I was still not a happy camper. What they had done was wrong on so many levels.

All of my friends knew the story of how I was bait and switched – and the fact that I flew to the dealership on a one way ticket only made it that much worse.

They had all left a bad review or two – but nothing more than a normal mad customer.

It doesn’t stop there…

Cue malicious compliance (long term):

I don’t know how it started – or how it ended up lasting as long as it has – but at some point I had some time on my hands and left a bad review for this dealership.

Just one. Not two. Not three. One.

In doing so, I noticed that all of the reviews I had left right after leaving the dealership were gone.

Probably taken down for being “fake” or because I had left so many at the same time and the dealership reported them.

I wanted to make sure this dealership wouldn’t do this to someone else. So the next day, I checked to make sure that one bad review I had just left was still there.

It was – and since I was thinking about it, I went ahead and created another account – and left another 1 star review.

Fast forward 2-3 years.

It has now become a habit. Every time I have a few minutes to spare, I create a new account and leave a 1 star review for this dealership.

Their current rating? 1.9 stars with nearly 3.5k total reviews.

I am personally responsible for at least half of those reviews.

He changed their business forever…

When you open the dealer’s website, one of the large banners that flashes across the screen advertises $50 for a 5 star review – something about showing the review to your salesman to get a $50 visa gift card.

It has been this way since about a year after this bait and switch occurred – right around the time the 1 star reviews began to accumulate.

Assuming I am responsible for half of their reviews – and the fact that the dealership only has 3.5k total reviews – they have paid $50 per review for at least 1,000 reviews (likely more than that).

Meaning, they have implemented a policy to pay for reviews – have spent $50k doing so – and have still seen their average rating drop consistently since telling me to “go ahead and leave a bad review.”

Let’s get Reddit’s opinion on this story!

This commenter questions the contract.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

Many commenters pointed out he could take more legal action.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

This Reddit user praises their dedication.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

Overall, praised this guy’s dedication!

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

I guess revenge can be pretty sweet, even years later!

They definitely deserve it, in this case.

If you liked this post, check out this story about an employee who got revenge on a co-worker who kept grading their work suspiciously low.