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Star Nissan in Queens questionable dealer practices

See the blog column in the NY Times about the problems customers have had with this dealership. http://www…wheelsemb3

That dealership sounds particularly sleazy, even for a NYC-based car dealer.
(Hint: Never buy a car from a guy with a broken nose, a shiny suit, and a tendency to use words like “dese, dem, & doze”)

Hopefully the AG’s office can come to Mr. K’s assistance before the dealership owner puts out a contract on him.

Atleast the guy had the sense to cancel the contract as soon as he got home.
I’d also comment that the buyer should gather all his paper work and talk to the local news channel about setting up a news story about this

It sounds like a pretty sleazy operation but it sounds like the buyer waded into much if not all of this muck himself.

What someone should do with a car purchase is take the paperwork and go somewhere for a quiet cup of coffee while reading the contract through from start to finish. If they don’t have the ability to wade through fine print then they should have a friend present who can.

Normally the car manufacturers won’t yank a franchise unless it’s gotten really bad. A problematic used car or a botched engine job in the service dept. won’t do it but a pattern of repeated abuses should be enough I would think.

A Subaru dealer I worked for got in trouble once and threatened because a salesman tried to steer someone from a new Subaru into a low miles Chevrolet on the used lot.

Another Subaru dealer (no, I did not work for them) lost their franchise when they got caught a second time trying to steer someone into a high end car instead of a Subaru. This was a BMW/Lincoln/Bentley/Subaru dealer. They were using the Subarus as enticement to get people on the lot.

Both learned that Subaru at times sends what one could call “undercover customers” around to check things like this. Maybe all car makers should do this.

Yeah, I know that dealer in Queens quite well.
My boss, back when I worked for Citibank, bought a brand new '02 Nissan Maxima from them.
Lets just say that things didn’t go so well, either, over the life of that car.

A co-worker bought a Neon from them, and asked me to take the car there for service one day, since he couldn’t break away during his lunch break. Lets just say that after talking to a couple customers waiting in the service dept, I vowed never to set foot in that place again, under any circumstances.

So far, so good.
Living in Colorado for the past 4 years makes that much, much easier, too.


I’m amazed the State Attorney can’t or won’t get involved. I don’t see how this is in any way the buyers fault. Sorry…but the dealer committed FRAUD…and should loose their license.

And the manufacturer doesn’t have to pull a license…the State attorney can. My friend who owns several dealerships in upstate NY…got his Nissan dealership because the previous nissan dealership was pulling the same stuff this guy in NJ was…The state AG stepped in and revoked their license…My friend then bought the inventory and got the franchise rights to that area from Nissan.

There’s a Nissan dealer in Manchester NH…I was there years ago and looking to buy…and I happened to overhear them browbeating/scaring an older couple into buying almost every option and coverage they have…I walked out and never returned. Bought my then new Nissan in Concord (20 miles north)…Great place to buy…And once when I was there getting some warranty work done…I overheard the salesman selling a car to an older couple…He basically took the opposite approach…Actually talking them out of some of the services because in their case they probably weren’t needed…

I wonder how difficult it would be to find out who Mr. Joseph Collins’ lawyer is. Perhaps the Clerk of the Court could help find out? It’s worth a trip to the courthouse.

They seem like a sleazy operation to me but let me play devil’s advocate here for a minute.

Maybe the word “rude” is being used when the manner of the salesperson, etc. could have been brusque in nature. These people are under a ton of pressure and have to deal with various yo-yos and tire kickers every single minute of the day. The Sword of Damocles is hanging over the heads of everyone in the sales dept.

The main complaint seems to be bait and switch, altering a contract after the fact, etc.
So let me ask this. If a contract has legitimately been altered after the fact then why has the NY AG’s office not gone after them along with an individual who could retain an attorney and sue them?
Is it possible during the tension and mind-numbing process of the deal that someone gets confused and forgets this and that? Later on that day or the next (or even the next week) the cloudiness fades away and they realize they’ve stepped in sales manure?

Looks like they’re giving him a refund

WASHINGTON ? A Nissan dealership in New York City is refunding nearly $6,000 to a customer who complained in a newspaper story that he was overcharged on a new-car purchase and couldn’t obtain redress.

Star Nissan of Queens, N.Y., agreed to mail the refund to George Karikulathileliyas after the automaker interceded last week, said the dealership’s general manager, Gus Tsolkas.

The store would have provided the refund on its own if senior managers knew of the customer’s complaint earlier, he said.

?It doesn’t make sense for him to be upset with me and not buy a car down the line,? Tsolkas said in a phone interview today.

The dealership is refunding $5,995 for a disputed service contract, alarm system, tire-care warranty and alarm system on a 2009 Nissan Murano bought in August 2009, he said.

The vehicle cost $32,900, and the New Hyde Park, N.Y. customer paid $36,400, Tsolkas said. The service contract cost the customer an additional $2,495, bringing the total Karikulathileliyas paid to $38,895.

The dealership, owned by John Koufakis, was the subject of a Dec. 25 New York Times story in which Karikulathileliyas complained he had visited the store about 10 times and called 25 times in an unsuccessful attempt to get his concerns addressed.

Tsolkas today expressed skepticism about the customer’s claim.

?He might have made one or two trips to our store,? Tsolkas said. ?I wish I knew about it a year ago.?

After the newspaper story appeared, Nissan Americas contacted the dealership.

?We consulted with the dealer to ensure customer satisfaction,? Nissan spokesman David Reuter said. ?The consultation basically encouraged the dealer to do what was necessary to resolve the points of dissatisfaction. In the end the dealer made the decision on what action to take.?

Karikulathileliyas could not be reached for comment.

I have just had my run-in with Star Nisaan. I purchased a used car from them in May of 2009 for my son. We also purchased an extended warranty for 48 months or 60K miles. The finance manager told me that I would be covered for almost 100K miles since the car already had over 34k miles on it. Now comes the time we need service, the car has engine trouble. They take it apart and Easy Care declines paying because now the car has 74K on it and supposedly the contract “expired” at 60K. Apparently we were told one thing ( we were covered for 60K for time of purchase) but the contract was put thru for another (a maximum of 60K)… I still don’t know how the 48 months plays into this. Now the argument is that ‘I’ should have known that paying ONLY $1325.00 for an extended warranty was way too cheap to be 60K additional miles…how in the world is a customer supposed to know whats too much or too little for anything at a car dealer. I guess they assume we should since its obvious ‘they’ cannot be trusted to be honest and truthful. Lets see how THIS ONE plays out…I AM FURIOUS!!! We did find out that our finance manager was fired about a year ago…WHAT A SURPRISE!!!

More important than listening to the sales pitch is to actually read the contract and limitations. There it was probably abundantly clear that you purchased a warranty for up to 60K miles, not an additional 60K miles.

It also reinforces my belief that any extended warranty is not worth it, in either dollars or trouble to get a warranty claim successfully approved.

I live in a community of about 70,000 people. The dealers that engage in shady practices don’t last very long. In my community, the dealers depend on repeat business. I once tried buying a new vehicle from a large city dealer and didn’t like the sales pressure so I left. On the other hand, I went down to a community of about 1500 and bought a new Ford Windstar. Had Ford continued to make minivans, I would have gone back to this dealer.

I suppose in large cities, there are so many people that repeat business isn’t important.

I wonder of the TV show 20/20 would be interested in looking into this dealership. Perhaps they could feature it in a piece about dishonest automotive sales practices.