On May 29, 2006, I purchased a 1999 Volkswagen Passat from CarMax for $13, 011.85. The exterior of the car appeared in excellent condition and the interior was appealing as well. The mileage on the vehicle at the time of purchase was 85, 221. I was concerned with the mileage being so high, but the salesman assured me Carmax thoroughly checked this vehicle before placing it on the lot for sale. He suggested I purchase the extended warranty and I did for $1,169.00.
What I wasn't prepared for, was the insurmountable repairs and return visits for service that began on July 21, 2006, just 2 months after purchasing the car. There were a dozen subsequent visits within a year and a half totaling over $5,000.00 in repairs that were not covered under the warranty. Today, there are still repairs pending on this vehicle with an approximate cost of over $3,000.00 and it cannot pass emmissions testing. Essentially, this vehicle was never reliable or dependable and never served its purpose. Soon, it will be of no use to us because the granted extension on the emissions service will run out in May, 2009.
I have been widowed for 11 years and have raised 4 sons on teachers salary. This car was intended to get my sons back and forth to sporting practices and games, school events, their part-time jobs, and college. I still owe approximately $7,000.00 on this car and basically, the car is only worth $3,500.00.
I met with the manager of the Carmax Service Department on March 21, 2008. We went through the file I accumulated; discussing the date of service for each item, the mileage at the time of service, the necessary repairs, the expense of the service, and the pending repairs. He mentioned, "Carmax would give me an estimate to buy the car, but indicated since it was over 100,000 miles, it wouldn't be much and certainly wouldn't be enough to pay off the balance owed." He stated also, "he did not think Carmax would buy me out from under this car."
I told him I saw negative feedback on the internet about Carmax and I would do the same. He didn't seem concerned. I told him I got the Carmax Corporate Headquarters information off the internet and was going to contact them next. He said, "they will only tell you to talk to the service center where you purchased the car." He said, "he would discuss my concerns with the other service manager and get back to me." I never heard from him.
One week later, I filed a complaint against Carmax with the State of Maryland, Office of The Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division.
Unfortunately, they were not able to help because the vehicle was over five years old when purchased and over 60,000 miles. However, they did contact Carmax's Legal Department, who felt they met their obligation to me under the Limited Warranty and declined any relief related to the vehicle.
I filed a small claims lawsuit against Carmax in the District Court of Maryland. Judgement was granted in favor of Carmax on October 24, 2008. The judge said, "I failed to provide an expert witness to claim the repairs rendered to the vehicle were most likely there at the time of purchase." I have appealed this judges decision.
My advise to anyone who has read my story, is to avoid purchasing a used vehicle from Carmax. They spend millions in advertising. How could they not offer assistance to a widowed mom and teacher; a mother, raising 4 children on her own on a single salary? I will NEVER patronize CARMAX.