Saturday, October 9, 2010

Route 23 Honda

Last month I had to make one of those big financial decisions. My old truck finally crossed that line of marginal utility where the cost to benefit ratio was no longer in its favor. New car time.

So, you're looking at the title of this and thinking, "this guy bought a Honda." Wrong. However, I did have a great interaction with a Honda dealership. I came so close to buying a Honda Fit that I actually put a down payment on it to hold it until the weekend. In that time, I decided to buy a different car. Yet, I walked away from this so happy with the way I was treated by Route 23 Honda that I feel I need to sing their praises.

First, there was our salesman, Alton Brown. We wanted to buy the car just so we could make Good Eats jokes for the next 10 years. Of course, he was just a pretty good guy. He wanted to sell the car. He didn't want to lie to us. He didn't want to make a bunch of small talk or try any sneaky salesman tricks. Sure, he had the pamphlet on the car memorized, but I never caught any of the little deceptions that pretty much every other salesman we met threw in. Over the course of our dealings he was pretty open and didn't disappear for too very long.

Then there was the price. Cost was a major factor for me. I need basic transportation with a little cargo flexibility and room for my family. Beyond that it's all dollars. I have a spreadsheet that compares the yearly TCO for a range of cars. I used various resources to collect information on the price of each vehicle, including what people really pay. I knew that Honda doesn't cut too many deals. And yet, they did. They offered me a price that sites like TrueCar say the Fit simply doesn't sell for, at least not new. Even better, I was approved for a loan with a 0.9% APR. I knew I was getting a great deal.

So, I signed some papers and put a deposit down. They said the deposit was refundable. The paper they had me sign said it wasn't. So I had them note that it was and initial it. I knew Amex would have my back, but I was still nervous about the potential fight to back out. I had a pit in my stomach about it afterward. Oh well, it would be a pain but it might not even be necessary.

It was, though. We backed out. Not because the deal was bad. Not because the car was bad. Instead it was because another car, the Kia Soul, was a better fit for us. We liked it better. It was more comfortable. No fault of Route 23 Honda, they did a great job.

Amazingly, here's where things got even better. A simple phone call to my salesman was all that was required to cancel the deal. I could hear he wasn't happy about it, but he didn't say anything to that effect. I thanked Alton and told him we'll see him next time. I hung up. A few days later I had to give my credit card number to their billing department (they actually have security on their system so the number was unavailable) and they issued the refund.

That's it! It was one of the best experiences I've ever had with a dealership, and I didn't even buy there. Because of this, I will certainly visit Route 23 Honda any time I'm shopping for a car. Good dealerships are few and far between.

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