In August, 2007, I purchased a 2000 Porsche Boxster during Reno's famous Hot August Nights which is one of the biggest classic car events in the country. It has been going now for over 20 years, and thousands of auto enthusiasts come to town each year to buy, sell, and show their cars.
Every year during the event, Silver Auctions of Spokane, Washington holds a huge 4-day auto auction. The owner of Silver Auctions is Mitch Silver, and he sells over a thousand cars every year during Hot August Nights. I made the mistake of buying one from him.
The trouble started as soon as I drove the car home from the auction site to my house, a whopping twelve miles: Fluid leaked from the back of the car onto my garage floor: This was less than an hour after taking possession of the car!
To make a long story short, over the next two weeks the local Porsche dealer, and another independent shop both evaluated the car and found a host of problems including oil in the cooling system and coolant in the engine oil, swollen hoses from the long-term crossover, and oil leaks. Both estimated repairs from $5,000 to $15,000 (depending on the exact cause), for a car I had just bought for over $20,000!
The second mechanic (Silver Auctions requested a second opinion) told me that the car had every symptom of having been through a flood, and was certainly delivered in defective condition. They even found a large water-logged paint brush wedged in the spoiler compartment of the rear wing, along with silt and debris in the rear compartment and in the trunk liners.
Silver Auctions was contacted and updated from the start. Mitch Silver (the owner of Silver Auctions) assured me that he would work with me to get the situation resolved, and he still claims this is his intention, although now eleven months have passed, and I still have this inoperable car sitting in my garage covered with dust. Every month there is another payment due; insurance is mandated by the car loan, so that is more expense; and I have incurred lawyer fees trying to resolve this, but Mitch Silver can ignore people with the best of them. Even though HIS bidding contract specifically states that the buyer is protected against exactly this kind of thing, he has done nothing to resolve the case.
I am just sitting here with a piece of junk in the garage, with a pre-auction inspection report stating that the car is in excellent condition.
I purchased this car in good faith. I relied on the cars presented at the auction being in good condition unless stated otherwise, with no undisclosed defects, and believed that buyers were protected by Silver Auction's bidding contract. The Vehicle Inspection Form provided to me has half the sections left blank, and the Vehicle Description Sheet posted with the car at the auction has all areas marked as Excellent, which is far from being either an accurate or truthful description.
I retained an attorney several months ago, letters have been exchanged, and almost a year has passed with Silver Auctions refusing to take responsibility and honor their Bidding Contract.
Mitch Silver even had the audacity to write a letter offering to resell the car at another one of his auctions, and that he would give me all the proceeds, and not charge the usual auction fees. He wanted me to pass this problem along to the next unsuspecting buyer, and to suffer whatever financial loss would come of it. And he put the offer in writing. He actually offered to resell a known defective car to another poor sap, and of course, I refused to have anything to do with that.
Hot August Nights is a great event. It's great for car lovers and great for Reno. But it's just not right for this company to come into our town and unload lemons on unsuspecting buyers, and make lots of money doing it.
If posting this situation can keep this from happening to even one person this year, then we can at least feel a little bit better. Please - Buyers Beware. If you are considering purchasing a car at auction, have a mechanic you know and trust go over every inch of the car before you buy.