Thursday, November 06, 2008


Yesterday, I had to go my local Toyota dealership to have an extra key made. When we bought my car, it only came with one key, and we decided it would be wise to have a second key for Hubs to have on his key chain, especially if we were to lose the only key we have.

When I arrived at the dealership, I was informed that the make and model of my car was manufactured to require a key that has a special chip inside that must be programmed for my car. The bottom line was that the key would cost $200, but they would be kind enough to sell me the key at cost for a mere $137 + tax!  *GULP!* I called Hubs and we decided to go ahead and get it.

Then I waited for two hours, after they told me it would just be an hour.  

And then, they decided to throw me a curve ball that I was not at all prepared for.  Apparently, there would be an additional $100 labor charge on top of that, bringing the grand total to $247...for a key!

I am a real sweet girl, but I have learned that if you put me in a pressure cooker situation, if you try to take advantage of me, or if you cross me, all of that sweetness just melts away, and a fierce angry woman emerges. And she is a force to be reckoned with. 

My heart started beating, my face got hot, and my voice was shaking. But that shaking voice was powerful and firm as it told the slick car salesman that I would be happy to walk out of there without my key. And I would be happy never to bring my business there again. And I would be happy to tell my friends and neighbors to bring their business elsewhere.

Gentle reader, I am pleased to tell you that the dealership decided to hand over the key and told me that they would take care of the $100 labor charge.

As I recounted this story to my sister, I told her that as awful as the interaction felt, something about it showed me my own strength. It showed me my limits and who I am. And it showed me what I have inside. Power to say "Enough!"

My sister replied by saying, "Maybe God is using the experience to prepare you for motherhood."

I had to laugh because my mom always said, "I'm a real nice lady, but if anyone messes with my baby bears, they will have Mama Bear to deal with, and it won't be pretty!"

I'm pleased to be realizing that the apple doesn't seem to have fallen too far from the tree! 


Monica said...

I can totally relate!

When the chip in my old key died, my car alarm went off every time I unlocked my car. I decided it was time to buy another key, and I got stuck with the $220 key situation at the dealership as well! I tried to buy a key online and have the dealership just cut it for me and program the chip, but that was a bust (the chip was "incompatible"). I think it's a clever way for dealerships to REQUIRE you to pay the big $$$.

josey said...

WOW! good for you! that made my stomach churn just reading it! we bought a new car almost 2 years ago, and it was a horrible experience with those slick car salesmen--we were there over 3 hours just bantering with them about the price (they kept trying to get us to pay more than what we could afford) and then another 2 hours after that finalizing paperwork and arguing with them that we didnt want the extended warranty. it was maddening!

anyhoo, the deal with the special keys really is a rip-off these days. but i'm proud of you for standing up to those crazy extra charges. dont you sometimes wonder if hubs would have gone in that they wouldnt have slapped on that extra labor charge? HMMM! well they learned their lesson ;) hehe!

J at said...

It's amazing to me that a car only came with one key, and that there would be a $100 difference in what they quoted you and the bill you were presented at the end. AMAZING. I have never heard of a new car coming with only one key, and it makes me wonder if this isn't their little way of squeezing a few extra dollars out of people.

I'd find a new Toyota dealer if I were you. Of course, I'm mean enough, I'd write to Toyota and tell them what kind of crap this dealership is up to. My neighbor works for them, and they take great pride in their service. Of course, don't tell Autumn's mom that, because she went to a horrible Toyota dealership as well.

Anyway, good for you for standing your ground! I am usually very sweet as well, but a few times that inner bitch (that's what my mom called it, and she thought of it as a strength, not an insult) has come out and served me well.

Liv said...

What is with car dealership people? Way to be strong. My brother always taught me how to respond to mechanics/dealers trying to get me to spend more money than I planned to.


Katie said...

Way to grow! From one super "nice girl" to another, kudos!

Autumn's Mom said...

Sadly, I'm NOT a fan of Toyota at ALL. I've heard of a similar experience to yours at another dealership, with them adding the labor at the end. My friend said NO as well. NO. Let's all practice it together. NO! haha

Deb said...

Good for you!!! I can be such a push over. I probably would have sucked it up and bought the key. So sad. But, your incident gives me encouragement. I will think of this the next time something like this happens to me. Thanks!

Miriam said...

Assertiveness was the "key" to success :)

And as a mom of four, let me tell you, the mama bear does emerge from even the most confirmed people-pleasers (read: pushovers!).

J at said...

Your mom's 'mama bear' comment reminded me of a book my mom told me about. It was about protecting your children, and it said that we need to trust ourselves. One example was of a woman and her tween daughter. They were followed by a man into a garage, and he attacked them while they were getting into their car. The mom opened her door first, and got her daughter in that way (easier to control the situation) and thought to herself, "I don't know, if I have to I guess I could jab his eyes out with my car keys, but that's so gross and inhumane, I don't know if I can do it, no matter the danger to me or my daughter". In the meantime, while she was thinking this, she had poked him in the eyes with her keys, shoved him aside, and driven away. Mama bears rock.

Cherry said...

Prepare you for motherhood huh?

When I bought my Honda I was told about the special key, but they told me it would be $75 to replace. But it came with 2 keys and 2 valet keys and I have luckily never needed the second fancy key yet (and it still has the little chip info on its tag).. excuse me while I go find some wood to knock on.

Catherine said...

Good girl!! I'm glad you put your foot down. What a ridiculous situation to be put in, huh? Customer service at its best . . . :)

lisa w. said...

ohhhhhhhhhh, you have any news for us?!!!