Carmax A strikingly low appraisal..... Kennesaw Georgia
To begin with, it's with distaste that I have to speak badly of Carmax, as I have often thought of them to be a fairly reputable auto chain. I particularly like that you can search all their locations, to find exactly the vehicle you were looking for.
However, yesterday was a different story.
I own a 2000 Pontiac Firebird, V6, automatic. Clean history, 81,000 miles, and while not immaculate, it has been very well kept. Power windows, locks, traction control, and rear spoiler (factory). Perfectly stock. A nick here or two in the paint, a 1 inch long crack in the dash; but no other flaws. Always maintained to the best of my ability. I hesitate to list it as excellent, but based on KBB for a good condition model such as mine, can command a trade in value of just under $6,000. Which is excellent, as I owe $5,200 on my loan. Auto Consumer Guide, and Nada, give similar values.
I also did some research, and found that Carmax had one listed, with similar miles to mine, automatic also, same year, options; at $10,500. I certainly didn't expect to see that much, but somewhere roughly between the two values, would be nice.
Spent an hour or so, going over every bit of the car, cleaning it, checking the tires, etc; to make sure I had a well prepped car.
It was without shock, then, that the appraisal also came back, with comments that it was in excellent condition, tires were good, etc, and nothing seemed to be anything less than consistent with its miles and good maintenance. Plus a comment that Carmax would absolutely love to purchase your vehicle. Maybe this is a standard statement, but still a nice gesture.
Offered buying price? $3,000.
I barely knew how to respond, quite frankly. The associate, of course, was quite friendly, and I don't fault her in the slightest. Her service was flawless and there's no complaint to be found there. But when she asked what I thought of her appraisal price, I had to tell her that I found it rather insulting, and listed the values I had seen in various car guides, as well as what they listed a very comparable car within their own listings for.
Her response was that none of those books matter, their appraisal is based on a completely different system, and since they wouldn't be able to sell my car on the front lot, that it would have to be sold by wholesale auction. Thus, though the entire report says my car is excellent, it is in fact, practically worthless.
Her follow-up question was if I wanted some time to think about it, and as I hadn't disclosed my loan amount to her; she suggested that I pay the negative difference in my loan, and sell it to them anyway. I told her politely, that I'm selling the car because I can't afford the loan payments as it stands now, and as her offering price is just over 50% of what my loan is....there's certainly no way I can buy out of it.
I guess I'm wondering; am I completely wrong about the system of car values; or did I just get seriously low-balled? They have my number, and I'm certain I'll receive a phone call near the end of the 7 day period; to see if I've had time to consider selling my vehicle. Not sure what I'll say. I've owned and sold a number of vehicles, to the point where I'm fairly familiar with the market, and if I can sell a 1993 Honda Prelude, Salvage title, with missing front bumper, and some body damage, for $3200; I shouldn't accept an offer like this for a far superior vehicle. Unless the intent was simply to create a nearly $7,000 profit margin.....
Sorry Carmax, but this was definitely an insulting encounter that I won't soon forget.