You may have recently heard a radio commercial by Ed Morse Honda of Riviera Beach that said this:
[Disclaimer: 24 month lease with approved credit, 3-9-9-5 down plus tax, tag and title]
“Hi…this is Lia again…from Ed Morse Honda…with a little exxpossee..
Last night I’m watchin’ TV in my jammies…and see a car ad that’s full of …well…
Bull_ _ [Sound effect: cow moo].
This car dealer says…he doesn’t add a dealer fee…on top of your price. He doesn’t tell you…he packs the equivalent of a dealer fee – or more – in your price. Where you can’t see it. Insulting right?
Well, Ed Morse Honda has an honest deal for you.
This year is our once-a-year Clearance Event.
Every one of our gas sipping Hondas is reduced.
Accords with 31 miles per gallon are now just $159 a month…and 36 mile per gallon Civics are reduced to $16,203.
Plus, Ed Morse has clearance financing…below 1%.
And…we also have a basket of free bull_ _ [SFX: cow moo] horns…
And when you see one of those no dealer fee TV ads…give it a toot!
And get a real deal at Ed Morse Honda
On I-95 and Blue Heron Blvd.
You will notice that the commercial does not name me or my dealership. However, since I’m the only car dealer “in the World” advertising on TV to make the dealer fee illegal, it’s pretty obvious that this slander was directed at Earl Stewart and Earl Stewart Toyota. Now, I’m not one who likes to sue anybody. In fact, I don’t remember ever filing a lawsuit, but this commercial directed against my company and me is just going too far. How dare Ed Morse say that I “pack the equivalent of a dealer fee or more in the price where you can’t see it”! Ed Morse and all of the other dealers who charge a dealer fee are the ones trying to hide something from their customers. Ed Morse’s dealer fee is $749. When you are quoted a price on car by one of his salesmen, that dealer fee is not included. When my sales people quote you a price on a car or you look at the sticker or other price on the car, it’s an out-the-door price plus tax and tag. Which of us is hiding something from our customers?
When you get a price from my dealership, you get no “surprises” when you sign the paperwork. That’s when customers who pay dealer fees usually discover that the price of the car is higher than they were told. In many cases, they never realize that the dealer fee was added or they think it’s some like of “official” local, state, or federal fee.
The commercial above says, “Well, Ed Morse Honda has an honest deal for you”. Is it honest to put a disclaimer, out of context, at the beginning of the commercial which is difficult to understand because the disclaimer is “mumbled”, very rapidly at reduced volume? This is not to mention that the disclaimer is about a lease payment that isn’t mentioned in the commercial until near the end. The misleadingly low $159 per month payment is spoken loudly and clearly. The disclaimer that you can’t understand says you have to make a down payment of almost $4,000, but it makes this unclear when it says “3-9-9-5 down”…just one more subterfuge to make sure you don’t understand you have a large down payment on a short, 24 month lease, to arrive at the $159 payment. A $3,995 down payment on a 24 month lease is the equivalent of $166.45 per month. In other words, the advertised monthly payment is really less than half of the real lease payment. How “honest” is this?
You have to ask yourself, what would possess a car dealer to attack me for lack of integrity because I don’t charge a dealer fee. It doesn’t seem rational does it?…except maybe in Bizarro World. Furthermore, to make that attack in a radio commercial which is itself deceptive is even more irrational. What drives these dealers to irrationality? I believe it is emotions”…predominantly fear and/or anger. As you know I’m virtually the only car dealer in Florida that does not charge a dealer fee. I lobbied the legislature in Tallahassee last year to make this “dealer license to steal” illegal in Florida. I am lobbying again this year and the prospects for my success in the 2008 legislative session are quite good. I’ve been approached by and met with legislators and lobbyists who want to talk compromise. They wouldn’t do this if they were confident. They are terrified that the dealer fee may become illegal. Dealers are afraid to lose this “profit” which they can now disguise as the reimbursement of a “fee”. This attack by Ed Morse Honda to impugn my reputation and integrity is not the first attack launched against me by Florida car dealers. A few months ago a group banded together to conduct an illegal boycott of my dealership. They aborted this effort upon receipt of a letter from my anti-trust attorney who informed them that such an action would subject them to reimbursing me for treble damages in civil court and criminal prosecution by the Justice department.