We purchased a 1997 Toyota Camry V6 LE from Bertel Auto Brokers of Edgartown, MA. However we completed all our transactions and pickup of the car from the dealer's private home in Sharon, MA. We received a 90 day warranty per MA law by Mr. Ken Efron brother of the owner of Bertel although we did not receive a written or verbal notice of the implied warranty.
We knew that the car had been a previous private lease thru Toyota Financial Services and then sold at auction in New England. We paid $12,900 in check and cash. Two mechanics inspected the vehicle and found it in good condition. The engine ran smooth but the valve covers were not taken off for inspection. The car initially drove well but when we took the car on a long trip to Vermont we began experiencing problems.
On March 9th while driving the turnpike to Vermont, the check engine light came on. We stopped and checked the manual. It said it could be either a loose gas cap or to bring it to a dealer. We thought is was bad gas and filled the tank up with hi-test. The oil was a little low so a half quart was added. The following Sunday (3/11/01) on the way back we could feel the engine stuttering and running rough.
As soon as we returened home we called and set up an appt. with our mechanic for March 13, 2001. Our mechanic came back with disturbing news. Two cyclinders were way below compression and the plugs were fouling. Under the impression that the car was covered under Toyot's 60,000 mile drive train warranty ,we called Toyota of USA. They referred us to a local dealership (Clair Toyota) who inspected the car. Their diagnosis was that the engine was seriously sludged up and that this condition voided any warranty by Toyota. The dealership gave a cost estimate of $8,500 plus tax for replacement of the engine. At this point we contacted Mr. Ken Efron and told him the results. He referred us to two other dealerships which he claimed he had connections but the results were the same, the sludge voided any warranty work.
We found a company that installed remanufactured engines for under $3,000. The other dealerships had estimates of $5,500 and $4,4000. We contacted Mr. Efron again and asked if Bertel would share in the costs of replacing the engine at the lowest price. Mr. Efron declined claiming his brother would not approve.
We then sent a 30 day demand letter asking for the replacement of the engine at the original estimate of $8,500 and related costs of not using the car to over $10,000 based under the implied warranty of merchantibility law.
Bertels response was to have their attorney send us a letter denying all liability and responsibility. Bertel offered to replace our engine for $2,500 at our cost. We refused. While this was going on we were waging a battle with Toyota of USA who totally denied us any claim to warranty even though they had leased the car out and claimed it was returned in good condition. Toyota did not respond to our query as to why this car was not sold as a Certified Used Vehicle but dumped at an auction.
The car now sits and is rarely used because we have been told by the dealerships that the engine might seize up and that would be dangerous if driving at high speeds such as the turnpike or highway.