Final update on DS's car purchase: he finally got his tradein back tonight, with the gas tank drained dry. I've figured out how the dealership runs this legal scam:
1. Potential buyer with no (or bad) credit comes in hoping to purchase. Bonus points if the buyer is young and/or inexperienced
2. Salesman puts together fantasy deal for the Coolest Car In the World at an incredible interest rate
3. Salesman sends Buyer on his way to show off the Coolest Car
4. Buyer spends a few days falling in love with the car, showing it off to friends, etc. Salesman calls a few times, hinting the fantasy deal is not going through but assuring Buyer he will 'make it happen'
5. Salesman finally contacts buyer and tells him the deal won't go through; come back in so they can talk
6. New deal is realistic but miles away from the original as far as interest rate and monthly payment
6. Dealership has 'lost' the tradein; it's already been sent to auction; there's no option for Buyer except to take the new deal
DS did not fall for this, fortunately, because I realized what the game was and was coaching him. He worked through the salesman, the customer service manager, the shift manager, and the general manager, all of whom lied their butts off and refused to anything until he said hte word 'attorney', at which point his tradein vehicle magically appeared and he got away.
It's scumbags like this who give car salesmen a bad name. I'm sure a great many of them are honest and ethical, but the ones who do this crap just destroy it for everyone.