Monday, August 04, 2008

Ed, You Went Too Far This Time!

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.


  1. Mr. Stewart,

    I would think if you worked with the other dealers to resolve the issue of dealer fees, which you feel so strongly on, you might get a better responce than by blasting the dealers and putting them down. I don't feel that this makes any dealership, including yours, look good by putting others down. My Mother used to always tell me if you don't have something nice to say don't say anything at all. My Father used to tell me to never step on someone else to get where you are going. Seems like you could learn a little from my Mother and Father. Working with your peers to get to a common ground may be better than fighting them. Just one mans opinion.

  2. Your comment shows the obvious thinking of a normal person that brings a good family background values and sense of morality. This is definitely not the case here.

    This guy is totally incapable of seeking any common ground with his competitors, because his own ground is so dirty and his predatory business strategy to get free publicity is so low that he should be banned from representing Toyota.

    If you walk into his dealership you will find a crew totally dedicated to stain the competitors image as the only way to sell a vehicle. A crew that is incapable of selling the product they represent by showing the advantages and features of Toyota product. This guy should be selling bananas not Toyotas.

    This guy is a sick man. He calls the Law stupid telling people that the legislators are giving license to steal when this bastard knows that is the Out of The Door Price what matters to the customer and he does not offer any better Out of The Door Price than any other competitor in his area.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    Your Mother and Father will be happy to know that I've reached out to car dealers and tried to "work with them" for several years. I've beseached them to join me in eliminating the dealer fee. On this very blog you can read my "Open Letter to Florida Car Dealers...I, II, III, IV & V".

    Ask your Mother and Father what I should do when car dealers, not only ignore me, but actually raise their dealer fees. As far as "not saying anything about somebody if you don't have something nice to say", do I really need to comment on that? Where would we be today if our founding Fathers had adopted that philosophy with respect to King George III in the American Revolution? Thank God Abraham Lincoln didn't believe that he should have remained silent because he had nothing "nice" to say about slavery! What kind of political system would we have today? Can you imagine where we would be if our politicians [Barack Obama and John McCain, for instance] simply didn't voice their opinions because they would not be considered "nice" by their opponent? Free, open debate is an American right we should cherish, even it it means we have to voice an opinion which is not condidered "nice" by those who oppose us.

    Your Father said to "never step on someone else to get where you're going" and I totally agree with him. Lots of people agree, especially the customers who are tricked into paying more for their cars than should or bargained for because of the "dealer fee surprise" when they sign their sales documents.

    Just out of curiosity, "Mr. Anonymous",do you, or your Mother and Father, think the dealer fee is a good thing or would it be better if it was simply included in the price quoted to our customers?

  4. In response to posting Mr. Earl…

    This is not about American History. This is not about Political affairs. This is not about American Values. This is not about the Right of Opinion. This is not about Free Debate.

    This is about your marketing strategy aimed to confuse and scare the public as a camouflage to harm the reputation of your competitors setting yourself beyond suspicion as the best resort of free publicity to sell more vehicles. This is about your groundless attempt to attack reputable corporations. This is about your responsibility of leveling yourself with the high reputation of Toyota brand you represent. This is about business ethics you lack to understand.

  5. Hahaha, it sounds like Earl touched a nerve!

  6. One other thing, let's be honest, the "dealer fee" is just a cash grab.

    Freight, PDI, taxes, title are all paid for seperately. The is NO reason for a $749 dealer/admin fee.

  7. One of the anonymous competitor car dealer/manager/employee commentors brought up "family values" and "morality" - not Earl.

    Listen, Earl Stewart used to have a dealer fee the he got rid of it because he thought he could sell more cars and feel right doing it: it obviously worked. What could be more natural than his desire to shout about his success at the top of his lungs? Of course it's going to help him sell even more cars, but the magical thing is he's doing it ethically. It's the Holy Grail of the car business. These whining critics who spend an awful amount of time reading this blog are a bunch of dumbasses. One of them ought to smarten-up and start copying Earl's ways before he (or she) goes out of business (a very real possibility among many S. Fla dealers...can you say "Palm Beach Toyota??")

  8. Good comment guys!

    Yes, you are right when you say that the Dealer Fee is nothing but a profit, but never forget: The Out of The Door Price is what matters to the customer.

    I give you a perfect example I have in writing by Email:

    1. Earl Stewart Price Quote: Out the Door Price for the 2009 Camry LE was $20,998.00 including TAX and TAG.

    2. Out of the Door Price from another dealer for the same vehicle was $20,450.00 including TAX, TAG and FEES.

    How hard is for you to figure out which was the best way to go?

    I had no idea that the Holy Grail of the car business had a dealer fee before.

    This only confirms that he gave up his dealer fee in order to implement his marketing strategy aimed to confuse and scare the public as the best resort of free publicity to sell more vehicles.

    Does he say to the public how much he regrets the time he used his License to Steal?

    Please, don’t be sorry for him: Now he builds in his price all fees.I just can’t see anything Holy about his game!

  9. Dear Anonymous quoting online Camry prices,

    (1) I notice that you failed to mention the NAME of the dealer with the lower price than mine. Why? If you're telling the truth, why not give the readers of this blog an opportunity to buy a Camry from him? Or, is that a price you just made up?

    (2) I'm the only Toyota dealer in South Florida that quotes price on the Internet, out-the-door, plus tax and tag only. All of the other dealers quote you a price with a fine print disclosure of "plus tax, tax, and FEES. The FEES can be up to $1,000 [Al Hendrickson Toyota in Coconut Creek]. Palm Beach Toyota and Royal Palm Toyota add $899. Ed Morse Delray Toyota adds $749. If the price you are showing as being lower than mine is real, it does ot include the dealer fee.

    (3) Why don't you admit that you're not a consumer but an employee of a car dealership adds a dealer fee to the prices you quote our customers? Your insistance on remaining anonymous give you away.

    (4) Do you have any idea how rediculous you sound to readers of this blog when you accuse me of HIDING my dealer fee in the price of my cars? The pricing of any product is assumed by the buyer to include all of the sellers costs and profits! This is the way every other retailer in the World prices their products. Can you imagine buying a 50" Plasma HD TV from Costco and finding a $200"delivery fee" on the cash register tape when you paid your bill? When Costco, Earl Stewart Toyota and every other honest retailer includes all of their profit and costs in the price they quote you, they afford you the ability to shop and compare that price with their competition. This is what a free market place is all about. You and your colleagues need to put your dealer fees in the closet along with your white shoes, checkered jackets, gold chains, and Sansabelt slacks...this is the 21st century and today's consumers are far too smart for you to get away with this anymore.

  10. shame on you Earl.....
    I am one of those people that you slapped into a 66 month lease and can't get out of it.

    Glad to see the truth about your lack of business ethics are really coming to light.

    see you hell.............

  11. earl
    I remain anonymous untill the day my factory warranty expires.....
    You think I would expose my self to future problems that could happen by your service department?

  12. Dear Anonymous threateners & distorters of the truth,

    Sometimes the most effective response is no response. You two guys [or maybe one and the same] make my case better than I.

    I am working on establishing your identities from clues in your postings. I'm using the "process of elimination". So far I've established positively that neither of is a member of "Mensa International"!

  13. You are a customer of Earl's service department??? If you find him and his business so despicable, can I ask why? Your feelings wouldn't be hurt if I insinuated that you are lying about that, would they?

  14. Dear "stuck in a 66 month lease",

    Earl Stewart Toyota does not lease cars for 66 months. We consider this too long and not good for our customers. Only dealers who are trying lure customers with an artificially low payment advertise leases for 6 1/2 years.

    You just got caught in another lie, but that's S.O.P. with you. One good thing about you "waiting to see me in hell" is that you will have LOTS of time to wait. If I don't show up, please "start without me".

  15. You over charge for service to cover the cost of shop supplies. You perform un-needed services on your customers cars like brake fluid flushes, power steering flushes, transmission and coolant flushes when they are not needed. You talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. You have a new crew of service people that have brought their corrupt ways of selling service to your dealership and you are turning a blind eye because you are making more money. You CSI is in the bottom 10% of SET, but your excuse is because everyone is cheating and you are not.

  16. Dear Earl…

    Your speech is synchronized with your marketing strategy of confusing the customer in order to maximize your PROFIT.

    Let’s make it simple and straight to the point.

    First, let me explain you what is the “OUT OF THE DOOR PRICE”: is the price the customer pay to drive the car HOME. There is no such thing as “Out of The Door Price” plus TAX, TAG WHATEVER.


    I made my car shopping very EASY:

    I wanted to buy a '09 CAMRY LE. I requested few dealers the Out of The Door Price. I informed the County that I was going to register my new CAMRY, I also informed that I was going to transfer my current TAG.

    All I wanted to hear from the dealers was the Out of The Door Price NOTHING ELSE.

    Bingo, I bought my 2009 CAMRY LE for $22,450.00. Sorry, not with you EARL…

    Everything else is blah, blah, blah… Plasma TV, Dealer Fee, Manager Fee, Weather Fee, Mother-in-Law FEE, NO DEALER FEE, who cares?


    As far as I am concerned the dealer could have charged me $10,000.00 in TAX, TAG, FEES and $10,450.00 for the car, who cares? Is $22,450.00 the amount of the check I am writing to you? Yes, Sir… BINGO, I TAKE IT!

    Dear Earl, IF YOU WANTED TO SELL ME A CAR, YOU WOULD HAVE NOT WASTED MY TIME with THIS BLAH, BLAH, BLAH about the FEES other dealers charge to the customers. WHO CARES?



    THE END.

  17. Being fair to Earl…

    I just want to add to my last comment:

    Although Earl was not the best price when I purchased my 2009 CAMRY LE, I want to be fair to EARL considering I am using his Blog: Consider Earl for your next Price Quote:

    Make sure that you ask for the “Out of The Door Price” (which includes TAX, TAG, everything)and also make sure he is quoting you right model equipped with the features you want to purchase and he has the vehicle in stock.

    Why? Dealers may offer you diverse prices for the same vehicle in different occasions for several reasons: depending on particular model inventory, sometimes the salesperson or merely the dealer my need more volume to achieve its objective. It’s the nature of the business, I suppose.

    Make no mistake, you must always play with three “Out Of The Door Price” quotes (which includes everything: TAX, TAG, FEES).

    To be fair, make EARL STEWART your FIRST STOP or PHONE CALL.

    If he offered you the best price, COME BACK and buy from EARL, otherwise you know BUY from the DEALER that offered you the best “Out Of The Door Price”.

    Business is business, right?

    THIS IS SIMPLE and FAIR to EVERYBODY, don’t you think Mr. Earl?

  18. Dear Anonymous "being fair to Earl",

    I agree with almost everything you said and I thank you for recommending that readers of this blog consider me the next time they purchase a Toyota.

    There are two things that I don't agree with you on.

    (1) YOu say "You must always play with three...price quotes". I recommend you get at least three price quotes. If you are shopping on the Internet, why stop at three? In less than an hour you can get quotes from more than a dozen Toyota dealers just in South Florida. Some of the these won't respond and some will refuse to give you an "out the door" quote unless you call or even come in which is another reason to ask for asking for more than three.

    {2}You say "Buy from the dealer that offered the best out-the-door price". The best price you get might be too far from where you live. If you live in West Palm Beach and you get a great price from a dealer in Tampa, take that out-the-door price to a closer dealer...or maybe the one that you would prefer dealing with...higher integrity, better service department, or other reasons. Usually a car dealer will meet the written out-the-door price of his competitor.

  19. I am one of a group of four neighbors who have all purchased cars from Earl Stewart Toyota. Each of us have had similar experiences. We have all described it as "atypical". In a nutshell, the experiences have been much, much better than what we have encountered in the past at other dealerships. I have a hard time understanding the point of the people who are attacking Earl. If the customer experience did not match what Stewart promises in his marketing, I would concede that the attackers were justified in their comments. But since the the promises are fulfilled, why attack the marketing? The arguments about "hiding the fees in the price of the car" are senseless - I have to agree with Earl on that. I can only speak authoritatively for me and my friends, but I think most Toyota buyers are intelligent people (that's why we buy Toyotas and not Chryslers). To say to us that Earl's consumer advocacy is a just a clever trick to lure us unsuspecting masses to his secretly evil dealership betrays a lot of arrogance. If we were fooled into coming to visit him, well, we certainly were not disappointed.

  20. Dear Advocate:

    Every point of view depends on the viewer’s perspective. It’s nice that you are happy with Earl Stewart Toyota and this is worth more than price itself. The fact is that you are totally missing the boat here:

    First of all, nobody is attacking Mr. Earl, in contrary Earl predatory attacks to competitors is the core of his marketing campaign to get free publicity.

    Earl's consumer advocacy is totally incompatible with his position. He is the SELLER and he represents the SELLER not the BUYER.



    Dear Advocate: Go back to your group and try to figure out why a dealer that does not charge dealer fee cannot claim he sells for less than other dealers.

    Dear Advocate: Did you know that Earl Stewart sells the very same new vehicle model, features and year for diverse prices for different customers within the same month? This is the game: Let’s try to make the most profit we can on every deal, but let’s try to save a deal when the customers have the “Out of The Door Prices” from other dealers. Smart... then Earl says when is convenient for him: “Usually a car dealer will meet the written out-the-door price of his competitor”.

    Translation of his message: Guys if my Out Of The Door Price is higher than other dealers we usually meet the written … Smart...

    See you!

  21. Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

    Maybe you're the one missing the boat!

    I'm on a boat with a lot customers who value our ability to get an out-the-door price from Earl Stewart. My boat is filled with customers who appreciate the fact that Earl Stewart doesn't claim to always have the lowest price. We laugh at these "LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEES" that claim they will pay you $500 or give you the car "free" if any other dealer beats their price.

    Best Buy doesn't always beat Circuit City's price, HP doesn't always beat Dell's price, and Albertson's doesn't always beat Publix' price. It's impossible to always have the lowest price. The free market place and competition won't allow it...Economics 101. Earl Stewart doesn't make untrue claims about always having the lowest price and actually encourages us customers to shop and compare his price before they buy. Lots of times we customers will give Earl Stewart the last chance to beat our price because we simply prefer dealing with a "no B.S. guy".

    On our boat we have a pretty good idea who sells Toyotas for less most of the time. We see a dealer in one of the smallest towns in Florida, Lake Park, outselling the Toyota dealers in West Palm Beach, Wellington, Delray and lots of the dealers in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. That's NOT because he sells Toyotas for a higher price.

    You're the one who "just doesn't get it". The dealer fee is not about price, it's about insulting us car buyers' intelligence. Earl Stewart looks at us as intelligent human beings who are insulted when somebody quotes us a price on a car and then tries to slip a phony fee into the contract when we sign all the papers for delivery. Earl Stewart makes it easy for us to shop and compare his price. All the other dealers try to make it impossible.

    Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, why don't you admit that you are an employeee of a car dealer competitor of Earl Stewart's and you are "getting your lunch eaten" by an smart, honest car dealer. Maybe you ought to consider applying for a job with "Earl"...I understand they are selling lot of cars in his dealership. How's business in yours?

  22. Earl,
    Love how you refer to yourself as the third person. Worked great for Bob Dole.....
    People are starting to understand your Marketing ploy, the ride is coming to an end.

  23. Dear Anonymous,

    I don't blame you for not commenting on my posting, instead choosing to attack Earl Stewart.

    Lawyers say "If you don't have the facts on your side, argue the law". I don't know what to advise you to do since you don't have the facts on your side and you don't care about the law.

    By the way, if I WAS Earl Stewart, I would be honored to be compared to Bob Dole.

  24. earl,earl,earl,
    you are so defensive, the above was meant as a compliment. wow lighten up, your starting to scare the customers.

  25. Dear Anonymous,

    Even though I know you don't intend your remarks as a compliment to Earl Stewart, I must say I'm flattered that you believe I'm he.

    As far as frightening customers goes, there are lots of customers frightened by car dealerships in Palm Beach and Martin Counties and that's exactly the reason that Earl Stewart Toyota out sells all of them. Car buyers are fleeing in droves to the safety of a dealer they can trust.

  26. Dear Advocate, Bob Dole or simply Earl wearing one of his maks….

    Yoops… he says: The dealer fee is not about price, it's about insulting us car buyers' intelligence…

    I want to be insulted with dealer fee as long as my “Out OF THE DOOR PRICE” is $500.00 less than Earl Dole Price. It was the best insulting I have ever had saving $500.00.

    So, dealer fee is not about price, are you mental retarded? Maybe you just take for granted the public is stupid!

    Yoops… he says: since you don't have the facts on your side and you don't care about the law. Is this the same guy who calls the Law Stupid condemning the legislators of giving “License to Steal”? How many masks do you have hidden in your closet?

    Yoops… he says: Car buyers are fleeing in droves to the safety of a dealer they can trust… You are pathetic! You want the public believe in this cheap propaganda…

    The Safety they get is the big profit built in your price plus one of the most expensive hourly rates for service in Palm Beach County.

    Like somebody said: The ride is coming to an end…

  27. Dear Advocate, Bob Dole or simply Earl wearing one of his maks….

    Yoops… he says: The dealer fee is not about price, it's about insulting us car buyers' intelligence…

    I want to be insulted with dealer fee as long as my “Out OF THE DOOR PRICE” is $500.00 less than Earl Dole Price. It was the best insulting I have ever had saving $500.00.

    So, dealer fee is not about price, are you mental retarded? Maybe you just take for granted the public is stupid!

    Yoops… he says: since you don't have the facts on your side and you don't care about the law. Is this the same guy who calls the Law Stupid condemning the legislators of giving “License to Steal”? How many masks do you have hidden in your closet?

    Yoops… he says: Car buyers are fleeing in droves to the safety of a dealer they can trust… You are pathetic! You want the public believe in this cheap propaganda…

    The Safety they get is the big profit built in your price plus one of the most expensive hourly rates for service in Palm Beach County.

    Like somebody said: The ride is coming to an end…

  28. Hey Earl
    Whats the difference between your No Dealer fee and your competitors Out The Door Price?

    Answer: Your competitor is around 500 dollars cheaper.

  29. Thanks for providing this venue Earl.
    I will now stop at your place first to get a price before I see if any one else can beat it. Please make it quick and in writing so I can shop around, and don't lowball me either.

  30. Mr. Earl’s Marketing Strategy and his questionable personality…

    Standing Out from Competitors – He outlined his marketing campaign based on the imaginary premise that he is the public defender from Car Dealers, as if he were not one of them.

    Being the big defender of the Car Buyers (Preys) against the Car Dealers (Predators), he not only automatically set his business as “Friendly Predator”, but it also gives him the grounds to attack the real Predators (The Competition).

    The result is: He creates a huge fear among the Preys (customers) making them even more vulnerable to the Friendly Predator (Earl Stewart). It is a DEADLY MISTAKE when the Prey trusts the Predator!

    The Power of Pre-Selling Yourself – In this step he created the center point of his campaign: Dealer Fee. It was brilliant when he stopped charging dealer fee incorporating it as part of his profit.

    Earl the man of a thousand masks!

  31. EARL the Phenomenon of The Phantom of the Opera – Deformed since birth, a bitter man known only as the Phantom lives in the sewers underneath of the dark side of the car business.

    He's a genius who must hide his facial disfigurement behind a mask and in the catacombs beneath the real truth of his fake role of buyer’s advocate.

    The story of The Phantom lies in each of our minds, while terrorizing the rest of the market, he claims his dealership as a safety harbor to attract terrified customers to their final destiny of resting in peace. Meanwhile, he recruits followers to scare the population extending his forged image of buyer’s advocate.

    When the Phantom does not wear his mask, you can see that the right side of his face is disfigured. His despair quickly turns to furious, jealous rage and is willing to do anything to save his imaginary role of buyer’s advocate. He must keep wearing his mask as the only alternative to catch the attention of the public.

    His time is running out, the final moment is near when the lights will be on. Without the mask, his real face is finally revealed. The excitement of the public reaches the peak and finally the audience is waiting for the curtain to fall. The frenetic emotional experience is extraordinary with enthusiastic applause!

    He sets the unprecedented milestone of becoming one of the best actors of all times in this business.

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo… the Phantom of Opera will be in your neighborhood soon, don’t miss out this lifetime show! The tickets are FREE but you might end up voluntarily paying THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in the end! Don’t your worry happiness is what counts.

  32. Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for for believing I'm a "genius". You apparently also think that most car-buyers are "stupid". Do you really expect our blog readers to believe I've become the largest volume car dealer in Palm Beach County by tricking car buyers? Do you really expect anyone to buy the fact that I received the Toyota President's Award, the highest award for customer satisfaction Toyota gives by "fooling" everybody. In fact, I am the only current President's Award winner in Port St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach out of 4 winners out of all 17 dealers in all of South Florida.

    By the way, you either never saw Phantom of the Opera or completely missed the point of the story. Let me show you a quote from a top Broadway crtic:

    "The Phantom has many negative and even murderous flaws but is not painted as the villain of the piece; he is empathetic even when acting for his own benefit, his actions made to seem justified through the torments of his previous public life. Some may see the redemption of Christ in the role of Raoul and Christine, who eventually bring light into the Phantom’s life."

    The "torment of my previous life" was when I was like you...charging dealer fees and having no "empathy" for my customers. Now I have been "redeemed" and see the light.

    You seem to be cut above the "room temperature IQ" level of many of my antagonists, with whom its no fun to debate, but you forgot that you should..."never bring a knife to a gun fight". :)

  33. Don't offend Earl by comparing him to the Phantom.
    It appears that he prefers the term Messiah.

  34. Hey Earl,

    Thanks for firing your service manager yesterday. Maybe your stop with all the flushes that we really don't need. Maybe your prices will come back in line and you will be competitive again

  35. I love it. Tom Moran is gone. He ruined Palm Beach by offering service that does not need to be performed and brought the crap to Earl Stewart. Earl, you and Paul should be ashamed for allowing this to happen at your dealership. All the Palm Beach Toyota employees you allowed to be hired at your dealership and do the same thing, ruin the business. You lost customers but hopefully it is not to late to bring them back. Tom will not be at any Toyota dealership you can bet on that. You can increase your service the right way or let Tom do what he did at your dealership. Sell service not needed. Bring a bunch of crooks from Palm Beach Toyota to your store to continue the stealing trend there. At least you woke up. Next move is to fire those crooked bastards you allowed Tom to hire and bring in the right people that want to do the right thing. Hopefully you saw that your service business can not just increase that much because you think you were doing the right thing. Hopefully you saw it for what it was and that was stealing.

  36. Do you really think that Earl does have full control of his operation?

    Do you really think that he was not aware of what it’s been going on for a long time?

    How do you think these employees are paid? I tell you: Commission! The pay plan tells you what the corporation expects from its employees.

    Do you really think Earl has never compared “Service Profits” before and after TOM?

    This is why Earl give you the “Tires for Life Program” conditioned to the customers acceptance of ALL RECOMMENDED (not NEEDED) Services. This is ALL part of a plan.

    Who do you think gets the Big Prize from his Service Crew? TOM?

    Did you know that these people have quotas to achieve?

    What about the Hourly Rate for Earl Stewart Services being one of the highest in the County? Do you also think were Tom who set the Service Prices?

    SERVICE, NEW CAR SALES AND USED CAR SALES - EARL STEWART MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Make as much money they possibly can for the corporation and yet making the CUSTOMER HAPPY. You know, this mission is VERY HARD to be accomplished.

    You must be one of Earl’s blind customers that truly believe that in the end of the day he is absolutely beyond suspicion and he really going to fire everybody to bring justice for his CUSTOMERS.

  37. Earl -
    I own a German premium brand. I love the cars for the way they drive. I found a CPO car in another city and negotiated a price over the phone. When we got to the agreed-upon price, I sent them a letter confirming the price, with additions for tax, tag and title.

    I received a fax sales contract with a 499.50 dealer fee. I was livid since this wasn't part of the deal. I told the salesman that it had to be removed. He said it was his mistake for not telling me. I told him that no one from the dealership responded to my letter and that the purpose of my letter was to make sure there were no misunderstandings. I also reminded him that his sales manager spoke with me and was sitting across the desk from him when we cut the deal.

    I told him that if the dealer was going to charge this back to him, I would walk on the deal first. Since I'm getting a good deal, I agreed to pay an additional 250. But your crusade is correct.

    I am a lawyer. If I quote a fee, and then add a "lawyer fee" on top of my fee, that wasn't previously discussed, I wouldn't have many clients.

    My mother-in-law is looking for a new car and I intend to bring her to your dealership.

  38. Excuse me Mark. You are a Lawyer so you are the lowest form of human on the earth, but let me clarify something for you and the rest of the readers on this blog. You charge and hourly rate, but you forget to tell people about the charges for making copies, or the girls in the office, or the travel time, gas, tolls, etc. So when you say you hourly rate is $400.00 you are correct. But when you send the bill it is $400.00 plus expenses. Guess you forgot that right? By the way, don't comment on Earls blog if you don't know what you are talking about. This blog is to blast Earl for bashing good, hard working dealers with his disguise of the dealer fee. If you didn't want to buy your precious German (Nazi) import you should have left. So shut up and go back to being the scum you are.

  39. Earl,

    I heard you little radio show yesterday and you said that you had an ad in your hand from a local Honda dealership that said they had to reduce their used car inventory because they were selling so many new cars. You responded by saying "read the paper folks, no body is selling used cars". Obviously what you meant is that this Honda dealership, in which you had the ad from, was lying to the readers. Is this what you are saying? Please explain to me and the rest of the readers to this blog, how you know what this local Honda store is selling and not selling. Don't tell us you have a cross sell report because the August report is not out. So how do you know? Or is it that you really don't know but want your readers to think you do. By the way if it is this local Honda dealer that I think it is, they out sold you last month. And don't tell your readers that they didn't because they did.

  40. ding dong the witch is dead, which on witch, TOM MORAN. Tom, one of the biggest criminals in Florida, is no longer at Earl "the rip off" Stewart Toyota. I guess Earl just couldn't keep up with the red phone complaints with Tom and his crew. Hey Earl, how's tires for life. Tom did a number on you there didn't he. Gave everything away to cover up the un-needed charges. Tom and his bunch of criminals were giving away free tires, charging them to tires for life in exchange to charge the customer un-needed work. Earl, your not to bright. Took you too long to see how much Tom was stealing from your customers. Even though you were warned before you hired him and after you hired him. I guess you were just smarter than those warning you. Yea, real smart now huh. Made you a ton of money though. Just too bad he made you money the wrong way. You knew about it, because so many people told you about Tom and what a bad manager he was. You just chose money over doing the right thing. Just another way Earl trys to hide stuff on you folks. Hope one day you wake up and smell the roses

  41. Anonymous -

    I'm sorry, do you know me? Before you start bashing someone because of their profession or the car they drive, perhaps you should put a little thought into your comment.

    I have read this blog. It is not open solely for the purpose of bashing Earl Stewart any more than it is for the bashing of lawyers or owners of German cars. You are quick to point out that German cars come from a country where the Nazis once ruled but have you forgotten Japan's history? Did you overlook Pearl Harbor. But none of this has anything to do with the topic contained in this blog.

    You insult me because I am a lawyer. I presume you had a bad experience with a lawyer. I am sorry that your presumed bad experience has made you feel that all lawyers are scum bags. There are lawyers who do not represent the profession well. Just like there are car salesmen who do not represent the profession well. And just like people who post blog comments full of nastiness and personal attacks who do not represent the blogosphere well.

    I don't know you and you don't know me. I think it is you who has missed the point of this blog. It is for the open discussion of issues relating to the car sales business. How could you possibly state that it is for the purpose of bashing Earl Stewart? Did you set up the blog? Do you own the blog?

    I have run across people like you before. You're real tough and full of yourself when you type because you don't have to stare at the target of your attack and see their reaction. In fact, you write in a fashion that is similar to a number of lawyers I have dealt with.

    And you are right, I could have refused to deal with the dealer, which I threatened to do. When the salesman told me that this could come back on him, I told him that I would not do the deal if it was going to hurt him financially and that he should tell his boss.

    You are missing the point of the whole dealer fee argument, in my opinion. When the average consumer, not someone with significant car buying experience, cuts a deal with a dealership, they think they're done. Then they're handed a contract that has a bunch of line items on it, one of which is the "dealer fee" which was not discussed during the negotiations and the fee is not required by any law unlike, say, taxes.

    As in my situation, once the deal is set, it should be set. It shouldn't be, "oh, we're going to tack on another $500 that we didn't discuss but it is pre-printed on the contract."

    As a side note, I don't have "girls" in the office. They're called employees. "Girls" went out a long time ago. And I do tell my clients what expenses they are responsible for and I've never had a client complain about a fee I have charged. Could it be because I'm honest with them up front?

    I'm sure you'll have some obnoxious comment to make because you are so convinced of the righteousness of your cause. This will be my last post because I have better things to do than try to convince a person such as yourself of his wrong-headed attitudes.

    Good day and good luck.

  42. Good morning, Marc. :)

    Thanks for the positive things you've said on this blog about my company and me. I'm very sorry that this resulted in the attack on you by one of my blog's "professional Earl Stewart bashers".

    I guess this is the price we pay for free speech and expression in this country. We have to listen to the "David Dukes" and the bitter, uneducated cowards to ensure that all Americans keep the precious right to freely express themselves.

    I was not surprised that this anonymous nut attacked you. Lawyers, car dealers, and politicians have something in common. The actions of the few "bad eggs" in our professions seem to spread and paint the reputation of us all. I've experienced this during my career and you probably have too.

    A few years ago I got tired of being painted with the same brush as unethical car dealers. My dropping of my dealer fee a few years ago is only one of many positive changes I've made in the way I do business. This has resulted in the kinds of attacks you read on this blog from car dealers and their employees. They all choose to remain anonymous.The only negative comments I've received from real car customers on this blog I've addressed and resolved.

    The economy is one big reason there's been a surge in negative blog attacks on me. The retail car business is very bad. Car dealers and their employees are afraid of losing their livlihoods and they are angry at me because I threaten the existance of the dealer fee. Car dealers have become "dependent" on the dealer fee, much as addicts become dependent on illegal drugs. They know its wrong, but are afraid to contemplate living without it. An illegal drug is a quick form of happiness in the short run, but a sure road to self distruction in the long run.

    When I went "cold turkey" years ago and stopped charging the dealer fee, it was painful and frightening. My sales people and my managers all strongly opposed what I did. My profit per car dropped. But I stuck to my guns because I had faith tht doing the right thing by my customers would benefit my profits in the long run. It did. My sales volume surged, transforming Earl Stewart Toyota from one of the smaller dealerships in South Florda to one of the largest and most profitable. Currently, I retai more vehicles than any other dealership in Palm Beach County.

    Thanks again for your support and maybe you can learn to laugh at these anonymous "Neanderthal" blog attacks like I have.

  43. When it is not convenient, Earl plays the famous three monkeys -- speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil… Then he overrides the uncomfortable subject with a traditional fallacious cliché…

    Well, I will respond the unanswered questions with a 24-Karat straight and true answers on Earl’s customer comments about Tom Moran …

    Do you really think that Earl doesn’t have full control of his operation?

    - Yes, I do have.

    Do you really think that he was not aware of what it’s been going on for a long time?

    - Of course, all the time.

    How do you think these employees are paid? I tell you: Commission! The pay plan tells you what the corporation expects from its employees.

    - Yes, they are here to produce me the green.

    Do you really think Earl has never compared “Service Profits” before and after TOM?

    - Yes. I control my earning everyday, who doesn’t if?

    This is why Earl give you the “Tires for Life Program” conditioned to the customers acceptance of ALL RECOMMENDED (not NEEDED) Services. This is ALL part of a plan.

    - Yes, that’s right. I am not here to give anybody a free lunch, this is a business!

    Who do you think gets the Big Prize from his Service Crew? TOM?

    - No, Earl Stewart Toyota but I was fair paying him part of it.

    Did you know that these people have quotas to achieve?

    - Yes, they have to produce the green or hit the road Jack.

    What about the Hourly Rate for Earl Stewart Services being one of the highest in the County? Do you also think were Tom who set the Service Prices?

    - Yes, it’s one of the highest in Palm Beach County. Yes, I set the prices, this is my job!

    SERVICE, NEW CAR SALES AND USED CAR SALES - EARL STEWART MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Make as much money they possibly can for the corporation and yet making the CUSTOMER HAPPY. You know, this mission is VERY HARD to be accomplished.

    - Yes it's hard but they are here to produce the green and achieve the Toyota CSI goals in order for me to make me even more money! If not, hit the road Jack!

    You must be one of Earl’s blind customers that truly believe that in the end of the day he is absolutely beyond suspicion and he really going to fire everybody to bring justice for his CUSTOMERS.

    - Thanks for being one of my loyal blind customers. They are the best when it comes to make money. Blind customers never compare my prices because they blindly trust me. I am free to reach their pockets.


    "But that you shall not say I yield, being silent,
    I would not speak". Shakespeare

  45. Proverbs:

    "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him".

  46. Dear "Ex-Earl Employee",

    You say you used to work for me and I hope you can understand why I don't like your personal attack on Tom Moran, who also used to work for me.

    I can assure you that the reasons Tom no longer works for me have nothing to do with his integrity. Tom Moran is an honest man. To call him a "crook" is slander but you hide beneath the cloak of anonymity.

    Also, you alude to the possiblity that Palm Beach Toyota may be going "out of business". Palm Beach Toyota is owned by the United Auto Group which happens to be very well capitalized and no where near declaring bankuptcy. In fact, I think their stock might be a good buy...better than AutoNation.

  47. Earl,

    If your so honest and you want to save the customers from deceptful practices and paying too much for a vehicle than why is it that you are listed as one of the most profitable dealers in the country? It seems that if you were really out to help the customer that your profits would not be higher than most of the other local stores.

    I'll give you this, your marketing ploy is a good one. You pretend to be on the consumers side and than you charge them more for the car because they already trust you. Cudo's to you for this great idea, but people are smarter than that. I think Ed Morse's comercial is great and lets the people know what alot of people already do. That no matter what you say, you pay as much as every other Toyota dealer does for a car. The differance between you and them is that you sell them for MORE.

  48. Dear Anonymous,

    Since when are profitablity and customer satisfaction noncompatible?

    Why do you think Toyota is the most profitable car company in the World? They satisfy their customers better than anybody else, which allows them to sell more cars than anybody else, and that makes them more profitable than anybody else.

    What is there about that "formula" you don't understand?

    If I'm the most profitable car dealer in Palm Beach County, it's because I satisfy my customers best and therefore sell more cars than any other dealer.

  49. Sorry Anonymous! I had to delete your last comment. Please re-submit if you like, but this time leave out the profanity.

    Let's keep it clean :)

  50. You deleted my blog because it was true. Tom Moran is a crook. I know him personally and the man is as crooked as the Mississippi river.

  51. Earl, Toyota is not the most profitable car company. Actually they are about 11th on the list. Anyway, Toyota is profitable because they were at the right place at the right time. They do not have Unions in their factories and they are cash rich, they are profitible because they own most of the parts suppliers they do business with or at least own part of them, they control their expenses, put the proper money in research and developement, they have adopted the continuous improvement theory or KAIZEN, they build cars customers want to buy, their vehicles are of high quality standards, they have invested heavily in this country, they build cars faster and better, their time to get a car from idea to prodution is the fastest in the industry. They understand the business and the customers.

    You are profitable because you steal from your customers. How dare you compare yourself with one of the best car companies in the world and say you are a mirror image of them. You should be ashamed.

  52. By the way Earl, Palm Beach Toyota is not owned by United Automotive Group. They are owned by Penske Automotive. This changed several months ago. Roger Penske no longer allowed his son to run a seperate group, but has since merged United Auto with Penske so his son can take over most all dealership operations.

  53. I have painfully read through these posts and compliment Mr. Stewart in taking the time to thoughtfully respond to all of them. I am in the business and this article caught my eye so decided to read further.
    Mr. Stewart, no doubt, has spent millions of dollars in HIS DEALERSHIP therefore has the right to charge whatever he deems is a fair profit, whether it be in sales, service, parts or bodyshop. All I see in his claim to not charging Dealer Fees, as one of the many ways he is trying to put trust back into an industry that needs an overhaul badly. The fact that he is accesible to his customers and employees puts him into a minority of owners who are hands on or "front room operators".

    As far as being profitable, there have been many studies that show direct correlations between great customer service and profitability.

    No, I don't work for him, never have nor do I know him. But I have been in the Toyota World for a long time and have seen his growth though the years. The district he is in, consisting of 11 dealers, he is one of 3 that has not seen his sales decrease this year over last and of those 3 he almost doubles them in volume.

    Good luck Mr. Stewart.

  54. Dear Anonymous "Toyota is not the most profitable car company",

    Just as you do with most of your facts, you "make them up" to fit your opinions. Blog readers can confirm that I did not make up the fact that Toyota is far more profitable than any other car manufacturer in the world but is also the 5th most profitable corporation "period". Click on this Web site,

    Rank: 5
    Profits ($millions): $15,042.50
    Change from 2006: 7%
    Ticker: TM
    Despite slow sales in Japan and Asia, Toyota Motor posted record profits for the second consecutive year, riding the wave of increased demand from Europe, America and Africa.

    Profits jumped 7% to $15.043 billion in 2007, led by a surge in sales in North America and Europe, specifically the popularity of fuel-efficient smaller hybrids in those markets.

    You either don't know what you're talking about or you are lying on purpose to defame me and my company.

  55. Dear Anonymous "United Auto Group does not own Palm Beach Toyota",

    One again you either don't know what you're talking about or you are making things up in a vain attempt to discredit my credibility.

    The United Auto Group changed its name to Penske Automotive Group on June 29, 2007 and changed its NYSE sticker symbol from UAG to PAG.

    The ownership has not changed, the same corporation owns Palm Beach Toyota as before albeit with a different name, and this has absolutely nothing to do with Roger Penske's son. He removed his son from his top management position with UAG/PAG for, what I assume, were good reasons.

    One again, you have proven you are either uniformed or dishonest.

  56. Earl,

    I have proven you wrong on both issues. Toyota is not the most profitable they are 5th according to you. You however first said they were number one. You are a liar. Second you said UAG owned Palm Beach Toyota. UAG does not own them because as you said they are owned by Penske. As I said it merged with Penske a couple of months ago. So again you are a liar. You basically said everything I did but put your twist on it like you do with everything you say. You twist your words to benefit you.

  57. earl,
    i recently purchased a prius from your dealership. i put down a $500 refundable deposit to hold the car. when the prius came in i tried to sell the car that i was driving at the time, a 2003 avalon. i got no buyers for the car and your people would only give me $9000. for a trade in for a car that had a book value of $12000. when i asked if i coud get my $500. deposit back the salesmen told me that might be problem, and he summoned one of your sons to the office to explain why. he told me that if i didn't buy the car toyota would punish earl stewart toyota because i did not buy the car, that they could not just order prius's and just sell them. well, i felt a little pressured and i took the $9000 trade-in for my avalon and bought the prius. to my suprise just 2 weeks after my purchase i received an e-mail from earl stewart toyota saying that they had a surplus of prius cars and that i could buy one for $1800. less that i paid for my prius 2 weeks earlier. i feel that i was not told the truth and your practices were deceitful. you can email me with your response to this at


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