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In Focus

Sometimes you may hear someone refer to a car dealership as shady.

In a previous editorial, I shared I recently purchased a new car and traded in my notorious blue Cobalt. When I began looking for a new vehicle I researched the cars I was interested in and with the assistance of my bank, got an idea of what the vehicles were actually worth and what I could afford. This included the value of my little blue Cobalt.

This poor car (the Cobalt) was approaching 230,000 miles, had a new timing chain, years of wear and tear, had some rust and a few scratches. I wasn’t expecting much for the car. The bank estimated about $400ish for the condition it was in. I was offered $800 from a different dealership because it had a new timing chain. Either way, the little bit of value was still going to help me purchase a new car.

A week ago Monday morning I received an email on my personal account that I thought, at first, was spam mail. Then I saw a link directing me to the listing of the Cobalt with the message, “Shoot them a call. I’m sure they ripped you off on trade and didn’t even care to protect your information. I messaged one of their reps for you to see if I could get your emails removed from the photos like two days ago, nothing. This is super unacceptable.”

Needless to say, this caught my attention. I clicked the link and saw something that made my blood boil. They had posted screenshots of the pictures of the Cobalt I had sent them. It wasn’t bad enough they were being lazy on their end but the kicker was the screenshots also had my full name and email on every picture they posted.

What the h#*&!

This was zero quality control. Not only was it super lazy, as they could have just downloaded the pics but, no, they screenshot them and did not pay one ounce of attention to anything else they were capturing.

I promptly called the dealership and spoke to someone on the phone who pulled up the listing. There was an instant “oh no” and fear as he quickly transferred me to a manager.

I spoke with the manager, trying to speak with my best customer service voice behind gritted teeth. I directed him to the listing and the issue, where he profusely apologized and said they were going to fix it asap.

I proceeded to email the kind gentleman that brought the issue to my attention and thanked him for letting me know. At least there are decent people out there.

That night, many hours later, I decided to check the listing again. It still included my personal information. How long does this process take I asked myself? I was becoming livid all over again.

I decided to actually look at the listing and noticed something else. It showed the listing had over 30 views in the last seven days. My personal information had been on this listing for over a week! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? How did this go unnoticed by them for that long?!? Their apology was now void in my book.

A few hours later, after trying to sleep, anger-induced anxiety took over once again. I hopped back online about 11:30 p.m. checking on how to make a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Protection, Better Business Bureau, etc. What if there had been more sensitive information posted? It’s scary...they didn’t even pay attention to what they were doing with “my” personal information.

I checked the link again later, and they had finally updated the post. There were new pictures with none of my personal information on them. Finally, I was defused.

But there was one more thing I was curious about. I looked up the kind emailer that notified me on Facebook. The plot thickened. This guy works for one of the competitor dealerships. So this guy must have been checking out the competition and discovered their mistake on the listing. His message makes more sense to me now. Could he possibly use this information to his advantage?

Why does this weird crap always happen to me? I’m still debating if I should lodge a formal complaint...



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