On Saturday June 11, 2005 my family went shopping for a used car. We went to Carmax which proved to be a BIG mistake.
First, a little background. I am a full time college student and the car was to be purchased for me by my mother. We had this arrangement previously with my last car, and pretty much everyone I know have purchased cars this way at one time or another. To make sure there wouldn't be a problem with financing I called Carmax ahead of time and spoke to a finance rep named Valory who told me that there wouldn't be any difficulty.
On June 11 we picked out a 2001 Ford Focus from the Valumax lot. During the sales and financing process we were all very open about our arrangement, how my mom would buy the car and I would make payments to her occasionally. Neither the salesman (Allen Rapp) nor the finance rep said anything against this. In fact, the salesman offered suggestions on filling out paperwork based on the fact that I would be driving the car.
The very next day, on June 12, we began having problems with the car. At first the trunk would not close, and then once we got it closed it was stuck and would not open. Rather inconvenient given my luggage was inside. Then the driver's side seat stuck in one position and would not shift. We called the dealership about this and they said it should be covered under warranty, no big deal, take it to a garage where we live on Monday and get it fixed. Then, the interesting stuff began.
At around 2:00pm on Highway 113 the car stalled for the first time. Bear in mind, this was only the second day we had the car and we were about to embark on the four hour drive back home to Valdosta. We spent a few minutes on the side of the road and decided the car had to go back to Carmax. It was not safe to drive and it was RIDICULOUS that the car was breaking down on only the second day! We phoned Carmax and got a serious runaround from the sales managers there. The end result was they said "Fine, bring it in...but we can't refund your money until your mother gets back from vacation because she bought it."
On the way to Kennesaw to return the car it STALLED AGAIN!!!! This time I phoned Carmax (for the third time that day) and told them to send a tow truck because this car was not safe to drive, period. When a sales manager named Mike answered, he said he would have to find the person I had spoken with earlier, and he turned around and said "Hey, who here was working with a Rebekah about a 2001 Ford Focus?" and I could clearly hear a group of men laughing in the background. He then told me that Gary (the other salesman) was at lunch and couldn't be reached.
When the tow truck showed up my boyfriend and I followed it to Carmax. After waiting for ten minutes the elusive Gary Laird showed up and proceeded to tell us that there was nothing he could do about our luggage locked in the trunk, that it was all probably an electrical malfunction but he couldn't say since he had nothing to do with the service side (and yet he sells cars that OBVIOUSLY haven't been tested and certified. funny, huh?) and he said that it was a good thing we were returning it because if he had found out that my mother had bought the car for me to drive he would have had to repossess it anyway since it was an ILLEGAL arrangement.
Now, please remember, we were all VERY clear to both the salesman and the finance reps what our payment arrangement would be and who would be driving the car. At absolutely no time did anyone tell us it was illegal. When I told Mr. Laird this, and my eyewitness backed me up, he backtracked and said "Well maybe it's not exactly ILLEGAL enough for you to go to jail for...but it's against Carmax rules." In other words he was trying to intimidate me because I had returned the car and he feared any type of repercussion. This man had obviously sold me a lemon and was trying to make it seem as if I had done something wrong! Unbelievable!
My boyfriend and I made a remark at the time that they were much, much nicer when they were trying to sell you a car and they were horribly rude when you had to return it the next day because it was defective. It was really an amazing situation.
Two days later I called back to find out what had been wrong with the car and what had happened to my luggage. The young lady answering phones in the service center at first said she had no record of the car but that someone would call me back within an hour and fill me in. THREE HOURS LATER I had to call them back...and was told that they couldn't speak to me, they could only speak to my mother and that she should contact Gary Laird upon her return.
When my mother, who was still on vacation mind you, cut it short to return to Carmax and sign the papers for her refund, Mr. Laird was apparently marginally more polite. He told her that there had been NOTHING AT ALL wrong with our car and gave the impression that I must have done something to it. Again, bear in mind that I had had the car less than 24 hours and put less than 80 miles on it at that point. And, in addition, as my mom told Mr. Laird, SHE had been in the backseat the first time it STALLED. Also, before she had stopped by Carmax to get the refund, she had received a call on her answering machine from Carmax's service department saying that the fuel pump had had to be replaced!!! Nothing wrong with the car, huh? If it weren't such a horrible situation I would have to laugh. I called Mr. Laird to ask him why he so blatantly LIED to my mom about what had gone wrong with the car and he has not yet returned my call. Not surprising.
PLEASE don't consider buying from Carmax at Town Center in Kennesaw. These people are dishonest on many levels, and they obviously do not fully inspect their used vehicles before trying to palm them off on customers. This vehicle was NOT SAFE to drive.
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