Eric Lai answers readers’ auto beefs every week for Wheels.
Q: I’m a senior. In August 2012, I signed an “Intent to Purchase” agreement on a new white Elantra Touring GLS at a Hyundai dealer for $17,529 with cargo cover, cargo net, floor mats, paint protection and undercoating.
They couldn’t find one in my colour, but had a black one with a decal. I’d already made a down payment, which I thought wouldn’t be refunded, so I agreed to take it.
On delivery, I showed the salesperson my Intent to Purchase agreement. My address and trade-in vehicle model were incorrect. He made corrections and asked for my bank draft, but never returned my copy of the agreement. Regrettably, I didn’t read the details of the Vehicle Purchase Agreement when I signed it and took the car.
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My insurer later advised that my Elantra’s VIN isn’t for a GLS, but an L, the cheapest model. The dealership had adjusted the costs so their black L model totalled the same $17,529 as a white GLS that I wanted.
The L model is a complete disappointment compared to the GLS that I test drove. The GLS has many standard features the L doesn’t and, to add insult to injury, the cargo cover didn’t fit properly. I returned to the dealership, told them they changed the purchase agreement to their benefit, and demanded things be rectified. They refused to look into the matter. Also, my replacement cargo cover came from an auto recycling company, not Hyundai.
I admit I was negligent on safeguarding myself as a purchaser, but I feel I’ve been wronged. I should be driving the vehicle I paid for, not something that conveniently fits the price tag.
A: Chad Heard, public relations manager for Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. replies:
At time of purchase, the 2012 Elantra Touring was available in three trims: L, GL, and GLS. The dealership sales records indicate the reader negotiated two prices, one for a GL at the price cited in her letter and another for a GLS model that cost approximately 10 per cent more. Both quotes included a handful of accessories and a vehicle trade-in. A purchase agreement was created for a GL model — at the previously-agreed price for a GL — and was signed by the reader. Our records confirm the VIN of the reader’s vehicle is for an Elantra Touring GL. (Electronic Stability Control was added part way through the model year, which her vehicle has. These were designated GLC.)
Regarding the cargo cover, Woodstock Hyundai determined there was a defect in the original unit and was able to source a new replacement unit from AutoValue Hyundai, a registered Hyundai dealership in Niagara Falls.
Eric Lai adds:
It’s not surprising this customer is confused and suspects deception. Frankly, the dealership staff created the problem for themselves when they failed to accurately indicate the vehicle trim level on the sales contract, which is a legal document. The trim level is incorrectly listed as “black” rather than L, GL or GLS.
Got a beef? Send it to Eric Lai at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include year, make, model and kilometres of autos cited, plus your name, address and telephone number. Personal replies cannot be handled due to volume.
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