I was surfing the Net when I stumbled into the Saturn Web Site. Saturn proudly advertises itself as "a different kind of car company" I've had some traumatic experiences with car dealers in the past so I thought I would give Saturn a try. Maybe they really were "a different kind of car company"

I walked to the bus stop with dreams of tearing up my bus pass and driving back home in a shiny new Saturn. Nevertheless I entered the Saturn show room with trepidation as my past experiences with slimy car salesmen flooded my mind. As I waited for a salesman to collar me I stared in wonder at the shiny icons of the American dream.

A pleasant African American saleslady casually strolled over to me and asked if she could be of assistance. I told her that I wanted to buy a car but that my credit was less than perfect as I had declared bankruptcy a few years back. She assured me that bankruptcy was an obstacle that could easily be surmounted. She invited me to pick out the vehicle that I wanted and then we could discuss financing the purchase. What a charming lady I thought, perhaps Saturn truly is "a different kind of car company."

A silver beauty caught my eye. I fell in love with its metallic charms. That's the one I want I beamed. "Good choice," she smiled. Wow! What a relief not having to go through the charade of bargaining over the sticker price. Saturn has a policy of having a set price for each of its models. I followed the saleslady to her cubicle thinking this is definitely "a different kind of car company"

Once safely ensconced in her office she informed me that in spite of my suspect credit she would gladly sell me my car at 22% interest. All I needed to finalize the deal was to provide her with a list of 10 references, a copy of my utility bill to prove residence in Oakland and a down payment of $1000.00. The 22% interest rate was hard to swallow but I sneaked a peek at my silver beauty in the showroom and my reservations dissipated. "No problem" I exclaimed. "Tomorrow I will return with my down payment and the list of references but you will have to wait a few weeks for a copy of my utility bill." I explained that just a couple of days ago I had paid my phone and electricity bills and as I always do I ran the payment stubs through the shredder. Lily the saleslady kindly agreed that the utility bill could wait. "A different kind of car company " I hummed to myself as I walked out the door.

The next day after work I leaped on a bus packed like sardines but I didn't mind as I was on my way to take possession of my dream automobile. As I exited the bus I gave my bus pass to a lady I saw fumbling for coins in her well-worn purse. I smiled at her surprised expression and I practically jogged the last block to the Saturn dealer.

I handed over my down payment and list of references and signed a dozen different forms and finally I signed the actual contract and Lily presented me with keys to my new car. I don't think my tires touched asphalt as I flew home. The weekend was a blur as I broke in my silver chariot driving all over the highways and byways of the bay area.

When I got home from work Monday I noticed I had four messages on my answering machine. Hmm, my friends must have called to congratulate me on my new ride. I turned on the machine and was distressed to discover that the messages were all from the finance company that Saturn selected to finance the purchase of my new sedan. The disembodied voice was demanding that I call immediately because they still hadn't received a copy of my utility bill. I called the number she had left on my answering machine but all I got was a recorded message telling me she had left for the day.

The next day at work the finance company called me first thing in the morning. I politely explained that I did not appreciate being called at work. I patiently listened to her demand that I immediately provide here with a copy of my utility bill. I explained that I was unable to meet her request until I received my next phone bill next month. She yelled that was unacceptable and as she began her next tirade I cut her off saying that I did not discuss my personal business while at work. I told her to call me at home and not to call me at work again. In a space of less than an hour I received two more calls from the finance company and two calls from the Saturn dealer all demanding my copy of my utility bill.

Finally the sales manger of Saturn called me and informed me for the first time that I needed to be interviewed by the finance company and that I needed to immediately supply a copy of a utility bill. In desperation I told him please don't call me at work any more I will come over after work and we can discuss the matter.

When I got there I read the sales manager the riot act. I complained that I was being treated like a second class citizen because of my bankruptcy. I told him that I had enough and I wasn't going to provide him with any further documentation. I said that when I signed the contract and the Saturn saleslady turned over the keys to my car that was a done deal. He informed me that unless I agreed to be interviewed by the finance company and provide all the necessary documentation I would have to turn over the car. I was in catch 22 situation. I could tell him "a deal is a deal" and storm away but at that point I wanted nothing more to do with the Saturn Corporation. I had no choice but to turn over the car keys and void the deal.

As I fumbled for change for the bus I sighed as I contemplated how difficult life is for a minority with a bad credit history. The symbols of the American dream remain teasingly out of reach. "A different kind of car company" Yeah right!

The management staff of the Saturn corporation may have a stereotypical view of persons who declare bankruptcy as ignorant and powerless pawns who need to be treated with disdain and rudeness but as a writer I will have the last laugh as I strike back with my pen and warn everyone, especially the minority population of Oakland that Saturn is just another car company.


Not all car dealers discriminate againist minorites and people with less than perfect credit. I ended up buying a new Daewoo and I am very pleased with my purchase. Daewoo also has a policy of having a set price for each of their models. Daewoo did not burden me with an outrageous interest rate. I highly recommend Daewoo of Oakland California.

Robert Paul Reyes
Alameda, CA
United States

Saturn Of Oakland treated me very unfairly. I don't want the same thing to happen to anyone else

Remember, Don't patronize Saturn of Oakland!