Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's chilly out here, and deception

I'm sitting on my back patio, and it's chilly out here! The thermometer on the back porch says 53, so maybe it's not that cold, but it sure feels cold - guess it's the relative temperature drop from the summer that's fading into memory. At least I've got my laptop to keep my lap warm... wonder if I could create a device to pump the fan exhaust around my head to keep my ears warm? Oh, and I can see my breath, the moisture from the warm air inside my body condensing as it hits the cool night air.

I just wish the street light up the hill behind my house wasn't there. (I know, I know, get a .22.)

OK, it's too chilly for me now (I'm adding this sentence about halfway through the next section); going inside!

Out of curiosity, what would you consider "false advertising" when it comes to a car dealer? For instance, if they list the MSRP on their web site for a vehicle, wouldn't you consider it false advertising if the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, according to the window sticker on the vehicle, is actually a much lower price? Consider, for instance, this car, at a local car dealer:
Ford Fiesta at Chuck Stevens Ford 
According to that page, the "MSRP" is "$20,780" and the "Internet Price" is "$19,280" (and you can send them contact info to get "Chuck's price" which, I would assume, is even lower).

And yet, if you look at the window sticker from Ford (note: the following link will open a PDF of the window sticker from Ford; some browsers may prompt you to download it):
Ford Fiesta Window Sticker (direct from Ford)
Um, Chuck, the MSRP - from the manufacturer - is "$17,285."

Did I miss something? Chuck's "Internet Price" - showing you saving "$1,500 off MSRP" - is actually about two grand higher than the official MSRP from Ford. What's up with that? Now, don't get me wrong, Chuck Stevens is legally able to charge any value they can get for the car (within certain consumer protection provisions, of course - they can't scam you for extra, for instance). But, wait, this seems like a scam. Why are they posting "MSRP" that is, oh, $3,500 more than the MSRP on the official, manufacturer's window sticker?

And it's not just this one car. I actually chatted with one of their "internet sales reps" a few months about about this when I noticed it was the case on all the Mustangs on their lot, that the "advertised" MSRP was well inflated above the MSRP on the Ford window sticker. "Oh, that's a clerical error, we'll get it fixed." It was never fixed, and it was apparently a "clerical error" on every car they had on the lot (at least all the ones I looked at).

Here we are, a few months later, and all the new Mustangs on their lot once again have inflated MSRPs on their web site. And, again, not just Mustangs, but every vehicle I've looked at on their web inventory. Again I chatted the internet sales rep, a different one (the internet sales manager, actually), and she had no explanation, but "will look into it." When I said, "Honestly, it looks like deceptive sales tactics" - well, she didn't close the chat, but never replied after that.

If it's something that they've added, dealer markup, various "dealer add ons," etc., that's fine - but that's not MSRP. Maybe "DSRP" - "Dealer's Suggested Retail Price." But there's nothing on the web site of the vehicle to indicate why the listed "MSRP" is way more than the one that Ford - the manufacturer - put on the window.

So, what say you? Is it "false advertising"?

Note: Chuck Stevens has multiple brands - I have not attempted to check whether their other lines follow a similar deceptive advertising policy; I don't even know if you can get to the window sticker of other brands online like you can with Fords.

No comments: