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Jim M'Lady Nissan - a fair dealer?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Topics:  M'Lady Nissan

Jim M'Lady Nissan - a fair dealer?

Gus Philpott
The Woodstock Advocate
May 28, 2015


Jim M'Lady Nissan is located in Crystal Lake, Ill. Have you dealt with that dealership?

Does it employ fair business practices when dealing with customers? You be the judge.

A potential buyer might think he is "just" going in to look, to get some information, look at models, get some prices. What he doesn't know or forgets is the motto of any car dealership.

"We are going to sell you a car today, before you leave, no matter what."

No matter if you didn't come in to buy.
No matter if you are not sure what you want.
No matter if you can't afford it.
No matter what!

M'Lady Nissan's sales tactics are no different than those at other new car dealerships in Crystal Lake or any other dealership, anywhere.

What if the shopper is inexperienced, impulsive, susceptible to pressure and fails to recognize that his inexperience is likely to cost him a bundle, when he is dealing with people who have a lot of experience in selling cars every day?

Why am I writing this?

Because I am livid about the number of new and used vehicles that a young man in McHenry County has purchased in the past three years. About six new cars and at least two used ones. And this is a young man on SSI and housing benefits, with a part-time job earning $100-200/month.

About three years ago he had a paid-for used car. I suggested he put a lien on the car, in favor of the person who paid for his car. That person was irate over my suggestion. "Why should I do that? I can trust him (the young man)." I explained my reasoning - because, without the lien, he is driving a paid-for vehicle and he can go into any dealership and trade it."

And that's exactly what he did. And then he traded again. And again. And again. Losing money every time. Seeing his monthly payment increase each time, to the point that it was nearly $400/month plus $100/month in car insurance premium!!! How do you pay that out of a $700 SSI check.

After numerous trades the same family member stepped in and bailed him out about three months ago, paying for a car for him. And within a month he had traded that, and now he has payments again!

What kind of financial information would be put on a loan application at M'Lady Nissan? Why would any bank finance a car, when an applicant's living expenses and debt exceed his means to pay?

I had suggested to the young man that he put freeze on his credit reports with all three major credit bureaus? Why? Because then a car dealership could not run a credit report on him. It would be at least a stop-gap measure to protect him from himself. And from the car salesman and finance managers.

Do I have experience to write on this subject?

In the mid-1980s I was a salesman for a Nissan dealership in Littleton, Colo. For two months. It was the worst two months of my life. Why? Because I didn't believe in the dealership philosophy, which was that anyone who came in the door really came in to buy a vehicle.

One day a kid and his pregnant wife rolled to a stop in front of the dealership in their old beater pick-up truck with a flat tire. They came in to use the phone to call a friend for help. And what did the sales manager tell me? Sell them a new truck. "You're kidding; right? They don't even have money for a spare tire!" I said.

He said he'd show me how to sell, and they went home in a new truck. Three days later the truck was back, when their financing was finally turned down. Of course, it was turned down!

What has been your experience with M'Lady Nissan? Have you ever been "sold" a vehicle there that he didn't intend to buy? Did you over-buy?

One Woodstock businessman told me about his daughter's experience there. She finally called her dad from the dealership, crying, and he went there and raised hell with Jim M'Lady himself.

Watch out for this "trick." They'll sell you a car you can't afford, then put you in a lease (because the payment is less), and then sell you a car because a lease is a sucker's game.

You and I know it's "buyer beware." Caveat emptor.

But what responsibility should a sales team have to not take advantage of a prospective customer? They know that, if they don't sell him a car, he'll just go down the street and someone else will.

Kinda makes you sick, doesn't it?

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