• Report: #849711

Complaint Review: Volunteers Of America

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  • Submitted: Tue, March 06, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, March 29, 2012

  • Reported By: anonymous — Capac Michigan United States of America
Volunteers Of America
618 E Walton Pontiac, Michigan United States of America

Volunteers Of America ripped off on vehicle sale Pontiac, Michigan

*General Comment: used car charities

*Consumer Comment: Private sale

*Author of original report: In my defense!

*General Comment: Another dumb used car purchaser

*Author of original report: I will not stop here

*UPDATE Employee: Rebuttal

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We purchased a vehicle from the Volunteers Of America car lot in Pontiac. We were told by the staff that it was a great running vehicle the only problem was that the gear shifter would sometimes stick when shifting out of park. Being V.O.A is a well known organization and is aimed to help families we fully trusted in them. Figuring by purchasing a vehicle from a charitable organization we were helping other families in need while meeting ours at the same time.

Shortly after leaving the car lot the truck broke down. We got it running again and drove back to the car lot. By this time there wasn't anybody there, so we got the vehicle home and called the lot first thing the following morning. We were instructed to take the vehicle to be diagnosed by our mechanic and call the lot on Monday morning.   

Our mechanic looked over the truck and found several things wrong. Including problems with the transmission,a bad transfer case that had been sealed with putty, steering column damage, stabilizer arm, lower ball joints and a few other issues. All in all totaling $5,000 in repairs just to make it safe to drive. He informed us this vehicle should have never been allowed to leave the car lot and that we are very lucky we made it home without harm.

We then contacted the car lot and told them what our mechanic had found wrong. They told us once a vehicle leaves the lot it was no longer in their hands. My husband asked if a women with 5 young children came to them for a vehicle would they sell her a bad car, the man replied "the same rules would apply". I then contacted the "higher ups" at V.O.A after 2 days and several phone calls I finally received a call from the director.

I explained to him the situation and was pretty much told the same thing. It was almost as though they have a standard print out of responses to read off. I wasn't asking for a cash refund I was willing to pay for the vehicle to be towed back to them (60 miles) simply to exchange for a vehicle that was safe for my family. Again I was "reminded" it was no longer their problem.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/06/2012 05:19 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Volunteers-Of-America/Pontiac-Michigan-48340/Volunteers-Of-America-ripped-off-on-vehicle-sale-Pontiac-Michigan-849711. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
2Author 4Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

used car charities

AUTHOR: Buzz - ()

A major problem with many (not all) of these orginizations is they will accept these vehicles for tax donations and do not check these cars for road safety, laws should be implemented to make them responsible for selling unsafe vehicle's, just as a home owner must disclose any health or safety issue before he sells his home, these charity used car lots should check and make sure these cars are road worthy or junk them.

Instead they hide behind outdated laws which protect them and continue selling death traps disregarding public safety, if you want to change this contact your state reps and elected officials and hound them to introduce laws to protect consumers from anyone charity or private seller from selling any used vehicle that has not been deemed road worthy by a certified mechanic....

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#2 Consumer Comment

Private sale

AUTHOR: James MK - (USA)

As you were purchasing a vehicle from an organization that is not a licensed dealer it is to be considered a private sale, therefore by paying for the vehicle you were agreeing to accept it "as is". In such a transaction it is the buyer's responsibility to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic if so they wish since it's neither required nor expected of the seller to be aware of every problem and issue that may affect the car.

It may seem one would expect someone selling their car would know about serious problems, but that is only the case when the seller has driven the car himself on a regular basis. In your case it was a blind sale, neither you nor the seller were familiar with the vehicle's history so the risk to the buyer was high, but you had been made aware of that. On the other hand you probably paid a comparatively low price for the vehicle, and you contributed to a good cause.

I'm not saying people shouldn't buy vehicles from charitable institutions but it is advisable that those wishing to do so be technically inclined enough to be able to gauge the magnitude of the risk they are taking. In other words they should know enough about cars to be able to tell if there is something obviously wrong with the vehicle, and if they can fix it. The average backyard mechanic will spot a bad ball joint, bad steering, and other suspension issues, etc. No biggie he or she can fix that. They can also spot a bad transmission, in which case they will usually leave it alone.      
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#3 Author of original report

In my defense!

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

As it sounds you have been in the same situation. My big huge problem with this whole situation is that I purchased this from a charity organization that CLAIMS to help families in need. Nobody needs a broke down vehicle especially a family who has fallen on hard times. This treatment is something I would expect from a back ally salesmen in a dirty wife beater. I did not purchase the vehicle from the side of the road, I purchased it from what is supposed to be a trustworthy organization.
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#4 General Comment

Another dumb used car purchaser

AUTHOR: Bubba Lee - (Canada)

You went to a used car lot that has you sign a declaration that you understand they do not know the vehicle history, the condition of the vehicle, it is sold as is and you should have it checked before purchase.

Now you complain that its got issues.

You have just made yourself look like the second dumbest person ever to post on this site.
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#5 Author of original report

I will not stop here

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

It is only posted that the vehicles that are auctioned have no history with them. As for ALL vehicles being donated, we have already busted you on purchasing vehicles from various auctions. I just can't see how you can sell vehicles that are deemed unsafe to travel on public roads. Thankfully my family made it home safe. I will continue to spread the word on how you do business. If you paid no money for the vehicle then why is it such a problem to exchange it for something that is safe. I'm not complaining of a bad alternator here. I'm complaining about a vehicle that was purchased for my family and needs $5,000 in repairs to be considered safe to be on the road. Your organization (who is supposed to help people) showed no compasion or empathy for the situation you put my family in. Again I will not stop here.
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#6 UPDATE Employee

Rebuttal

AUTHOR: VOA - (United States of America)

Here at Volunteers of America, we sell donated vehicles at low prices to raise funds for our programs. Since the vehicles are donated to us, we do not have access to their histories.
 
For this reason, we strongly advise our car buyers to have all vehicles inspected prior to purchase. In fact, all buyers sign an acknowledgement of understanding prior to test-driving or purchasing a vehicle.
 
We sell over 1,500 vehicles per year, with many repeat customers, and few complaints. Our business hours are 9:00am to 8:00pm Monday through Friday, and 9:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday. Our vehicles can be viewed at www.voaautosales.com. We may be reached toll-free at 866-435-7862.
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