Planet Hyundai, Las Vegas SUCKS!
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My Story

Disclaimer - This is just the experience and opinion of ONE unhappy Planet Hyundai customer.  I have at least one witness for every claim I am making, and I am making every effort to be as detailed and accurate as possible. Take it for what it is - nothing more.  I do not know the inner workings of management at Planet Hyundai.  I can only speak for my experience, and do not wish to imply that my experience is typical of the norm.  In fact, I hope for the sake of consumers that it is not.    

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Freedom of Speech is Sacred - and Information is Power

My experience with Planet Hyundai began in July 2004.

The reason I chose to visit this dealership was because of the amazing advertisement in the paper.  The ad touted Sonatas for a little over $8,000 and Elantras for a little over $6,000.  I am not completely naive, I knew that there had to be several tricks to the ad (Like the 8K car comes with no doors, no tires, no engine....) So I called the 1-800 number listed on the ad.  I asked them if they could tell me how they calculated the price, and what it would really cost if I did not have the loyalty rebate, military, etc.  I was told I would have to come in to discuss it.  I had some reservations about it, but I decided to go in and get the info, because I really was interested in buying a Sonata.

Saturday Afternoon at 1:00PM

it started out Ok, I got to the dealership to meet the Internet Manager, but was quickly paired up with a sales person instead.  This sales person seemed to be a nice guy, talked to me about his family, talked to my kids (who spent the entire 4 1/2 hours there with me).  As we started to talk about cars, I showed him the ad, I told him I knew that the 8,000K purchase or 129.00 a month lease Sonata did not exist, but I wanted to get the real price. I was just looking for the basic automatic trans model, nothing fancy.  He told he would go to the sales managers area (the elevated platform with the slick guys in dress shirts) to get me a price.  About 15 min later he comes back with a piece of paper that nearly floored me.  It was a lease - in the 360’s for 5 years.  Over 21K for a lease on a Sonata - Insane!  I knew the 129 was a joke, but I thought maybe the low 200's was reasonable.  Little did I know...

So we started the back and forth game.  I said no way would I lease the Sonata for that price, he went back to the platform to see what he could do for me.  Back and forth 3 times, and he had it all the way down to about 299 - a steal at 18K for a 5-year lease.  We had been there for an hour at this point; I was getting frustrated, so I asked him to get me the info on a base model Elantra instead.  The ad was showing those leasing for under a hundred bucks.  After about 3 times back and forth on that one, we had it down to about 230.  That was getting close enough to my budget that I finally agreed to test-drive a car. 

So we went out to a nice new Elantra, got in and started the test drive.  My kids loved it.  My sales guy made several comments throughout the drive about how popular the Elantra was, how it was outselling Toyotas, how it has a great CD Player, Cruise Control, everything I could want.   In all honesty it was a great car.  We came back in to the dealership, and the kids were begging me to buy it.  We went back and forth one more time, and my sales guy had managed to convince the platform masters to let me lease the car for 199 a month for 60 months.  It was not the most amazing deal in the world, but I felt it was fair, and I signed on the line.  My kids popped the balloon, everyone clapped; it was a relief to have gotten through it after 2 1/2 hours.  The sales guy said it would take about 15-20 minutes for the finance area to be ready for me.  In the meantime, he even bought my kids some candy and a soda.  I was thinking, despite the exhausting back and forth, it was an overall OK experience.

It was shortly after this that things started taking a turn for the worse.  My sales guy disappeared for about 20 minutes, then came back looking sorry as could be.  He told me he was not playing games with me, but that the car we just test drove did not have the same sticker price as the one he priced me at.  He said it would be an extra $600.00, adding another 20 a month to my payments.  I asked him what the difference was.  He told me he thought it was something trivial, like mud flaps or something.  I made the mistake of trusting him at this point, as he assured me he had found me a car just like the one we test drove, for the price we agreed on.  The kids were restless, and starting to get a sugar high, they had somewhere to be in another hour and a half, and my sales guy seemed so apologetic and trustworthy, I gave him the OK.  He told me finance would be ready in a few minutes.

A few minutes turned into 45 minutes.  I saw my sales guy walking back and forth every once and a while, but he never came back up to me until 45 min had passed, and finally showed me where to go for finance.  The lady at finance seemed nice. As we started the process, she told me I really should consider buying the Elantra outright.  It would only be another 20 a month and an additional 12 months on the term.   I asked if I could consider it, as I still had to go home and get my checkbook for the down payment.  My sales guy told me I could drive the new car home to get my checkbook, and bring someone back to get the car I came in.  At this point, the girls had somewhere to be in less than an hour, and I was still stuck in limbo.  She told me she would let me think about it, and I could change the lease to a purchase when I got back if I wanted to. 

So I waited patiently by the main door for the car to come around, it was supposed to take just a few minutes, my sales guy told me.  I was very tired, frustrated, and had two little kids hanging on my legs begging to leave.  At this time it started POURING rain outside.  There was lightning, wind, tons of rain (rare for Vegas). All the balloon arches on the lot blew away, my kids were scared and wanted to leave.  About 15 min passed and still no car.  I found my sales guy and asked what was going on, he told me they were still detailing the car.  I told him they did not have to do that, since it was pouring outside anyways.  He said OK, he would have them just get it and gas it up for me, and I would be out in about 15 min.  

Another 30 min passed before the car finally came around.  At this point, the kids were going to be late to their appointment, it was still pouring, they were crying, and all I wanted to do was get out of there. 

We ran as fast as we could to the car and got in.  I reached to turn on the radio, and realized it was already on - but there was no sound.  I tried it a couple times, nothing.  I also noticed immediately that there was a cassette deck in it instead of the CD player.   My first reaction was to drag the kids back in and find out what the hell happened to "the only difference in the car is something trivial like mud flaps,” and to find out why on earth they would give me a car with a non-working radio - a BRAND new car.  The kid that gassed it up had to have known there was an issue, he had the radio powered on, and the volume knob turned up.  But I could not waste another 2 hours with the kids there fighting it out, so I took them to their event and went home to get the checkbook. 

As soon as I got home I called my sales guy.  I told him I was not feeling good about the purchase, that the car had a tape player, not a CD like he said, and that the radio was not even working. I also noticed it had no cruise control.  He was very apologetic, he said not to worry, that he would take care of me when I got back. 
When I got back, I quickly found my sales guy. I was there with my mother, who was there to take home the car I had come in.   He sat me down, asked me what the problems were, again said he would take care of it, and then said he was going to get the sales manager to work with me on it.  

He brings over this guy from the platform that seems to epitomize everything you would attribute to the sleazy car dealer of your nightmares.  He starts out OK, asking me to repeat my concerns, and then he starts on the attack.  At this point, the sales guy who was my best friend earlier in the day just looks down at the table.  He never made eye contact with me again that night.  He never said another word. He just sat there. 

The sales guy started waving my contract around in the air, asking me why I signed the contract without going and making sure the car they swapped out was what my sales guy told me it was.  I told him that I trusted the sales guy, and that I was trying to get out of the dealership so I could get my kids somewhere.  He told me that was my problem, not his.  I told him that the sales guy told me the only difference in the cars was something trivial like mud flaps, not the CD player and cruise control.  He told me I was stupid if I thought that something trivial would make that much of a difference in the price.  He told me again, that was not his problem that I did not do my part.  I signed the paper, which he continued to wave around, and that was all that mattered.  He told me he did not care if I was happy, he had sold 50 other cars that day to happy people.  I was a new car owner, whether i liked it or not, he said.  He was smiling the whole time he was berating me.  It was as if he took pride in the fact that he got me.  Like it was a big game to him, he was the winner and I was the loser, and that was it. 

While we were there, I asked him if he could explain to me how the 99.00 lease amount in the ad could have actually happened.  He started scratching numbers on paper, taking off discounts for several things he did not describe, and ended up with the number.  He then told me that it did not really matter, because they did not intend on selling that car at that price.  Again smiling, he said that they did not legally have to put the details in the ad (which they did not) and that it worked well at getting people like me in there so they could sell the same car at a much higher price.  The sticker price difference between a manual and auto was about 800 bucks, but the cost difference from the ad to the car I bought was over 7000.00.  He asked me why would I think they would give me the same deal and just add 800.00, like I was insane.  He said nobody buys manual transmissions, that is why they can show the low prices.  They do not have to say in the ad if it is manual or not, legally of course.  He was still sporting that smug arrogant smirk.  I was not smiling.

I tried to bring up the issue of the broken radio again.  He told me that was not his problem either.  I signed the contact so the car was under warranty now.  He did not have any obligation to give it to me in working order, even though it was a brand new car with 20 miles on it.  He told me I would have to take it to service another day.  

I said I was just going to leave the car there and he could rip up the contract.  He told me they would sue me for breach of contract.  I asked him why it was OK for them to take new cars back from people when they could not get the financing through, but it was not ok for me to give it back to them 2 hours after taking it.  He reminded me that my credit score was good and it was a done deal, and that it was not his problem.  I tried to state my case again, he waved the contract around again, told me it was not his fault I signed it, and congratulated me on being a new car owner.  Then he told me there was nothing else for us to talk about.   He got up, still with that smirk on his face, and left.  The sales guy, still did not look at me, just got up and walked away. 

I have never in my life been treated as poorly as I was that day.  Not only did I get lied to directly by the sales guy, but also I now had a car with an electrical problem from the first mile, no radio, no CD player, no cruise control, and they could not care less.  Worse than that, the sales manager rubbed it in my face, did not even try for 1 second to pretend he cared.  I have been a victim of bad customer service before, but never anything even close to this.  I was shaking I was so angry, in a state of disbelief that this was happening. 

I thought that the worst was over, that I had to just accept I had been taken advantage of, and that I just needed to get over it and get the car fixed.  A few days after I had the car, I had my mom take it to the dealership so they could fix the radio.  She was there with my kids for another 2 1/2 hours waiting, only for them to tell her the radio was not the problem, it was something in the wiring harness, and they would need it for days to fix.  She asked if they gave loaner cars, the service manager said that was not their policy.  We could not go without the car for that long.  The service manager said that they had a couple loaners but they were a first come first serve deal.  He said he would call when they had one. 

What followed was over a month of calls that were never returned, and different service managers giving me the run around.  I would call one shift, they would tell me the radio was never even tested.  I would call the other shift they would tell me the first shift did not know what they were talking about.  They never had a loaner car when I called, and they never called me to tell me when they did have one.  I tried to stress the fact that this was an electrical defect in a brand new car, thinking maybe they would care enough to give it some priority.  I was wrong.  5 weeks passed and I was still getting nowhere.  I had 5 weeks of driving in complete silence to think about how bad I had been screwed over.  I tried multiple times to talk to the manager.  He refused the calls; the receptionist told me he was a busy man.  I asked her if there was ever a chance he would talk to me.  She said honestly, probably not. 

It was 3 weeks into my driving in silence that I decided I needed to find a way to share my experience and my opinions with more people.  I have seen some people shoe polish their cars and drive them around.  I have seen some people picket outside car lots.  I wanted to do something that not only touched more people, but also provided them with facts like the BBB status, and other peoples stories.  I thought to myself, "what would I have appreciated 4 weeks ago before I got myself into this mess?"  And so, this website was born. 

2 weeks later, in complete frustration, I sent an email to the online email account on the Planet Hyundai website.  The next day, I did get a call from one of the managers there, who told me he would get my car in that day.  He did not acknowledge any of the issues that I had, other than the non-working radio, but he was the first person that actually made an effort to help me.  I took the car in, and when I got home, he called me and asked me if I would like a CD player swapped in for the cassette player if they had one for the trouble.  I told him sure, and thanked him.  It was the first attempt anyone there had made to help me. 

You may wonder, if I got a CD player out of the mess, why did I leave the site up?  I think even though the dealership may not understand or care, most consumers get it.  It was not nearly as much about the CD player as it was about the way I was treated when I brought up the issue.  I could have accepted the fact that I was lied to and dealt with the tape deck, if they had at least made the effort to fix it quickly.  But the way that I was treated was inexcusable, and the fact that nobody ever owned up to that is enough to motivate me to share my story with others.  

As the sales manager said, I am a new car owner, whether I like it or not. 

My response - I am a web site owner, whether you like it or not. 

Freedom of Speech is Sacred - and Information is Power

Planet Hyundai Sucks - Consumers Fight Back!

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