Brian and Tara Phillips thought they did everything right. He had reserved a Bronco a year earlier, had kept deposits with a dealership on and off for 19 years, and agreed to pay MSRP or, if it worked out, employee pricing. He was back in March. Yet last week, three days before delivery, he got a text that the dealer was adding a $10,000 markup to the Bronco.
This appraisal came as a side note to the proposal that Moon Township was building on Ford Bryan’s tundra. A small side note, stuck at the last minute to change the deal. This was the first major purchase Tara had planned for herself since re-entering the workforce, a reward she earned after sacrificing eight years to stay at home for her children. With that $10,000 markup, it was about to slip. They couldn’t afford it.
In the end, as the couple explains in their video on the Pipsburg View YouTube channel, they were still able to buy the Bronco. It didn’t come easy though. Apart from the markup, the dealer had low-balled Bryan on the Tundra. Eventually, they were able to make a competitive offering on Tara’s Toyota Sienna and cut the markup down to $4000, but it still left a bad taste in Tara’s mouth. Brian had spent two decades of his life at this dealership and was forced to negotiate a price, even after he had verbally agreed.
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Tara said, “Everyone says we should have put the deposit down. We did. Oh, you should have signed the price sheet. We did. You know, you should only go with the dealership you need.” Trust me. We did,” said Tara road and track.
Brian is adamant that he is not trying to drive people away from Moon Township Ford. He values that relationship, believes they have generally treated him fairly, and doesn’t want to hurt his friends and coworkers out there. But the experience is so out of the norm that it has to be shared, with both he and Tara noting that they don’t want anyone else to go through it. So yes, sign all the paperwork, work with a dealer you trust, and get a verbal commitment. But the most important thing is to get a firm final price in writing as soon as you order – not a quote.
“Make sure you get that guarantee in writing,” Tara said. Brian said: “I’d say get that thing notarized three times with your lawyer sitting next to you. Because, to be honest with you, they can basically do whatever they want.”
Other potential Bronco buyers who responded to our previous coverage on Reddit noted that even with a guaranteed price, your time slot and special build may not be a sure thing. Once you have received your VIN, add it to the purchase agreement or final price sheet to make sure it is okay. And whatever you do, don’t assume that Ford Corporate will back you up with any violent behavior.
in a statement to road and track, Ford spokesman Mike Levine noted that the manufacturer has offered a suggested retail price—a suggestion. The freedom of dealers largely prevents Ford from setting pricing. The company will try to connect you to another dealer, but if your Bronco has already been delivered to your local dealer, there’s not much you can do to help Ford or anyone else.
Car buying expert and consultant Tom McParland said that, in a situation like Brian and Tara, it may be too late to save the deal. “[T]hat so you want to make sure you choose the right store to start,” explains McParland Road and Track. Particularly for hot vehicles like the Bronco, the community at large has explored which dealers make sleazy moves and which prioritize repeat business and a good reputation. Because while you can personally trust a dealership, how they treat average customers is a better indication of their ethics and encouragement. Because, as the Phillips story shows, you can’t assume it won’t happen to you.
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