Hello, Jennifer Williams here. Most of you already know me as the food columnist for The Dagger. But what you don’t know is that I love to shop almost as much as I love to eat! So in keeping with that, I will now be writing a third column called Cloak & Dagger. Cloak & Dagger will essentially be a Secret Shopper blog, or exposé if you will. I will be allowed to vent about substandard shopping experiences in Harford County and also give praise to those establishments who are providing excellent customer service. This will provide honest feedback to local businesses on what they are doing right as well as what could be improved. So stay tuned!
Unfortunately, if you have ever bought a car, whether it be new or used, you probably have some sort of horror story to tell about the dealership. Maybe you bought a lemon or perhaps the salesperson talked you into a pricey sports car that you couldn’t afford when all you really needed was a minivan to schlep the kids around. Five years ago, I paid off my car, but was still hesitant to replace it. Finally, the time came when I decided that I wanted something more plush for the dreadful commute to my day job in the city. Truth be told, I got sucked into an episode of Celebrity Apprentice where Donald Trump was touting the new Buick Verano.
A Buick?? The only thing I knew about Buicks was that my Great Uncle Lou always drove one and it probably got about 3 miles to the gallon and was 20 feet long. Me on the other hand? I’ve driven Toyotas since I got my drivers license umpteen years ago. To this day, I have fond memories of the Toyota that I bought from my father when I was in high school. But I live around the corner from Boyle Buick, so off I went for my first car buying experience in almost 9 years. Instantly, I was treated like an old family member and was introduced to one of their salesmen, Mike Duray. Mike was extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of the vehicle. What I liked most was that he was very low-key and not pushy. I explained that I was “just looking” and did not wish to make a purchase until summertime. He asked if it would be ok to keep in touch by phone or e-mail and I suggested that text messaging would work best for me.
Unfortunately, I was not completely sold on the Verano. So I made my rounds to other dealerships in Harford County. I even borrowed a beautiful Lexus for a couple of days from Lexus of Towson. Nice ride obviously. However, the salesperson could not explain any of the vehicle’s features and handed over the keys with an empty gas tank. Not very impressive. I suppose he felt that with a name like Lexus the car would just sell itself.
Meanwhile, Mike Duray continued contacting me via text message regarding various options, specials and financing deals. Finally, with nothing better to do on a Saturday night, I again drove through Boyle Buick’s parking lot. And, lo and behold, I see a Certified Pre-owned 2011 Buick LaCrosse with lots of bells and whistles. Not the car that I was originally shopping for, but it appeared to be right up my alley. The dealership was closed, but immediately I whipped my cell phone out of my purse and texted Mike asking for specifics like price and mileage. Apparently, Mike had nothing better to do either, and he responded right away.
Long story short, my husband and I eventually test drove the car and fell in love with the LaCrosse. But typical car-buying questions kept popping into my head. What type of interest rate could we get on a used vehicle?
Does it make sense to purchase an extended warranty? How much money did we want to put down? Would they drop the price at all? What is it like to deal with their Service Department for future repairs and maintenance?
I was dragging my feet, simply because I didn’t want to have a car payment. Wishful thinking, right? Mike was very patient throughout the entire process, answering each and every question I had and then made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Several trips were made to Boyle to finalize the paperwork. Every employee that we met along the way greeted us upon arrival and seemed truly happy to see us, from Mr. Boyle to Brady and Adam, our finance representatives. There was no “hard sell” on the car, on the warranties or on the financing. They provided us with factual information and allowed us to make the decisions that suited our finances as well as our lifestyle.
To date, I have traded over 100 text messages with my new friend Mike. And I’m sure there will be many more as I continue to be a loyal customer of their Service Department. And down the road, no pun intended, I’m sure that a new vehicle will be in our future. I’m also on my way to check out these discounted bikes for my next purchase. Many thanks to everyone at Boyle Buick for making this purchase as painless as possible!
Boyle Buick is located at 3015 Emmorton Road, Abingdon, MD 21009 or on the web at www.boylebuickgmc.com. Stop in and say hello. You’ll be glad you did.