Thursday, January 7, 2010

stereotype fulfilled...

I got ripped off at Christmas.

Well, not me exactly. But my friend did. And I feel somewhat responsible.

You see, I'm a trusting soul. I'd never scam anyone. I do 'what is right' all the time. So I figure everyone else to do the same.

Naive, I guess. But I'd like to think that the world is the way that I view it, not the way it actually is.

So this is what happened.

You know the stereotype that Used Car Salesmen have.

Shady. Underhanded. Untrustworthy. Sleazy.
All of those wonderful adjectives. And more.

I now think of Used Car Salesmen with other more eloquent descriptors in front of the adjectives.

For example: F**king Shady. F**king Underhanded. F**king Untrustworthy. F**king Sleazy.

You get the point.

My friend wanted to buy a new car. New to him, at least. I suggested a car that I'd owned in the past which I loved and wished I hadn't gotten rid of. A Land Rover Discovery. It would be perfect for him. And now since they no longer make that body style, they are more affordable than they were when I plunked down 45 grand.

I did some searching for them, and found some for sale on eBay.

Now I've sold and bought many things on eBay. Cars included, so I didn't have the bad experience stories that some have. This car seemed perfect. And it was offered just 10 miles away, so I could go take a 'look see' in person.

Clean. Very low mileage. Black on black. It seemed an unbelievable deal.

Key in the ignition it started right up. Beautiful. The Discovery may not leave the best of carbon footprints on the environment, but there is something to be said for the feeling you get with all that horsepower at your command. I took it out for a spin. Nice. Very nice. It brought back all those fond memories of driving my own years ago.

I urged my friend to buy it.

He placed a deposit on it so no one could swoop it out from under us online while he squared away financing. One day later, he was signing papers and the car was his.

It's exciting buying a new car...or a used car. It's the nicest car he'd ever owned thus far and was pleased with the purchase. We were 'high five-ing' ourselves in finding the perfect car. And at at good deal to boot.

That is until 12 miles down the road. Twelve whole blissful miles.

That's when the 'Check Engine Light' came on.

And the proverbial wheels fell off this stellar, seamless used car transaction.

Land Rovers, from my experience, have a few basic maintenance issues. The biggie is that the gaskets need resealing. Usually this happens around the 75,000 to 100,000 mile range. This vehicle being on the low mileage end, I wouldn't have figured this would be an issue for many, many years. And because of the engine design, some of the maintenance can be expensive due labor costs.

To have a Engine Reseal done is around $3500. At a dealer it'll run you $5000.

Guess what?

It needed to be done.

In Ohio you have to get an eCheck on your car every year. If it doesn't pass emissions, no tickie. No taggie. They won't even run your car on the machine if there is a dashboard light on.

I took it up to the local Auto Parts store to run the codes to get a preliminary idea as to what might be causing the damned light to illuminate. They found 14 codes.

A few basic ones; filters, air flow, spark plug misfires in #2, #4 and #5. But there were some that are dealer codes that only a Land Rover specialist has access to.

I called the people we bought the car from. AutosDirectOnline. Drew Lofgren, the salesman, said it was probably a maintenance issue. I agreed that that is a possibility, but pointed out that this obviously was a problem BEFORE we signed for the car...

"Give me the codes." he quickly chimed in, "I'll have my mechanic find out what's wrong."

"I'll e-mail them to you right now." Which I did.

"Let me get back to you after the weekend. We'll get this squared away." he replied.

I thought, "Okay. That's cool. He seemed sincere. I'll get this problem solved in a couple of days. He's a good guy. He's not going to screw us over. Perhaps he didn't know. He'll do the right thing..."

The long and short of it. He never did call me back. When I would follow up, he would take my calls at first, but then stopped responding to any communication. Each and every time he would say, "It's seems a maintenance issue." He said that as if I'd just put 1,000 miles on it and the oil needed to be changed. It was like his mantra. Maintenance issue. Maintenance issue. Maintenance issue.

They must teach that in sleazy used car salesmen school. Learn it. Live it. Love it. It's the catchall phrase to obliterate your responsibility to be a productive, caring human in society.

During his last conversation with me, he pointed out that my friend had signed a paper stating in small, fine print that he accepted the car in an "As Is" condition. That the dealer no longer has any responsibility for the vehicle.

Shady. Underhanded. Untrustworthy. Sleazy.

I then took the Disco to Isaias Cornejo.
He owns and runs Westend Rover +Jag. I found him through another mechanic friend whom I trust, but wouldn't work on a Land Rover.

I love this guy.
I wish I'd had known him prior to our buying the Disco.

Smart, knowledgeable, fair. He took the time to completely go over the car. He said by no uncertain terms that he knew the place we bought the car had cleared the codes. On purpose.

AutosDirectOnline cleared the codes so no one would know that they were selling a car with problems.

To trusting, unsuspecting people like myself.
Taking advantage of my 'Golden Rule' philosophy.

F**king Shady. F**king Untrustworthy. F**king Underhanded. F**king Sleazy.

Never, ever buy a vehicle from AutosDirectOnline.
I don't care how nice the vehicle is. Or looks. Just don't do it.

What I thought was a clean, easy transaction changing my initial perception of the 'Used Car Salesmen' directly back to all that I now know to really expect. And more.

Now, I'm sure that there ARE good sales people out there with integrity that sell cars. I'm not talking about you. You keep doing what you are doing to change the image. I commend you. I only wish I had been dealing with you and not them...

I'm currently spearheading a campaign against this company. I've called the local news stations that love to investigate these types of 'crimes'.

I absolutely hate that I got ripped off. And tricked. I thought I was smarter than that.
But it is still a nice car. Beautiful really.

And just think, it'll be even nicer once we can actually drive it.


FOOTNOTE: If YOU have had a bad experience with Autos Direct Online, please contact me directly. I'd love to add your story to ours to help keep others from being ripped off by this company.


  1. A-Hole Used Car Salesman.....i too can be too trusting at times, especially when its online...i guess we live and we learn...

  2. My lack of faith in humanity as a general rule has been confirmed. The vast majority would never do something like that to you, but the small percentage who are willing to completely screw you over make if difficult to trust anyone. It's times like this when being a dog looks so much more appealing. Just think, you could lay around the house and lick yourself all day. 1. because it feels good, amd 2. simply because you can. Long naps in the back yard and someone always there to give you food. It seems so much nice than worrying about having to buy a piece of crap car because of dishonesty and greed. Sleazy!

  3. Does your state have a lemon law? I would also contact Ebay. Good luck.
    Sunny :)

  4. Man that really sucks. I hate buying cars just for this reason.... Slimy sales dudes.

    If you can prove they cleared the codes on purpose you can file charges based on "intent to defraud". But then you get to deal with equally slimy lawyers.

  5. @John - I agree with you on a dogs life! At least my dogs. I wouldn't want to be Vick's dogs! :-)

    @Sunny - Ohio DOES have a lemon law, but it only is for new cars, not used ones. And since we bought it directly and not through ebay I can't even leave negative feedback. It's seems as if that's their handle, they get people calling and buying the cars outside of the actual site. Thus controling any damaging press. So far...

  6. Don't blame yourself, the best of us get tricked over more obvious things. I am sorry about your friend having to buy a car and THEN fix it up but such is life. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise (probably unlikely by this point but still possible).

  7. It's great that you're following up on the bad experience, though! Bad press is extremely powerful. I don't think I would have even thought of calling any local news stations and I admire the 'fight-back' approach. :o)

  8. Hit up every place you can, the newspaper, the local news, the better business bureau. I'm serious. Let this blog just be the beginning. You were not ripped off in vain. Kharma is a bitch, muthaf*ckas. I hate those people.

    Sorry you were scammed, but use your voice. It will feel good - and who knows, maybe something good can come of it.

  9. Oh, you really got to watch those pesky used car salesmen! I've had similar shady, underhandedness tried to be sent my way. I'm so sorry you got taken on this one!

    Good news is...and this is "most of the time" anyway....if the car has SOME problems and you STILL managed to get a good deal, perhaps the problems can get fixed..and then your friend will have a vehicle that's set for awhile with no maintenance issues for quite some time.

    *crosses fingers for you and your friend*


  10. :-( That really stinks, Nancy! I'm so sorry!

  11. That is awful and I am so glad you are highlighting this horrible company with as many people as you can. Also file a complaint with the BBB. I know that Karma is hard to wait for sometimes but be patient, they will get theirs!

  12. good luck with the investigation!

  13. Massachusetts has a Lemon Law and they have to take it back and refund your money OR pay all the repairs within 30 days.

  14. A-Holes!
    I agree. Sorry salesmen who aren't f*cking sleazy greazy...sleazeballs but go jump in a lake!

  15. That's horrible! Go to Judge Judy! :)

  16. First of all, thanks so much for spotlighting my website! You are too kind. Secondly, you must go over to The Constant Complainer if you haven't already. His site is in Ohio I believe and he would love to spotlight this post. I think it is just
    So sorry about this mess.

  17. So sorry to hear about the slimeball used car salesman. Our state governor reminds me of one. I'm so glad he's not able to be re-elected. He is the epitomy of slimeball.

    Sorry ... got off track there ...

    When I was trying to purchase my first new vehicle, my husband and I went in, told them what I wanted, got a quote, and ordered the vehicle since it wasn't on their lot. When the salesman called a month or two (or three) later to tell us it was there and ready to go, the price escalated by about $4,000! My husband fought with him about it but he wouldn't budge because we didn't have the quote in writing. (Doug trusted the guy since his dad and grandfather had been buying cars there for years). Lesson learned. Needless to say, we didn't buy the vehicle. And I told everyone I knew NOT to go to that dealership. It was the least I could do. :)

  18. That really sucks. I test drove a car that died four miles away from the dealership as I was attempting to turn around. Yeah...that was fun


  19. That totally sucks. I am the trusting one as where my hubby is not. Whenever we've gotten our boys used cars, he's always paid about $125 to have a full maintenance check before purchase which has saved us form a few lemons. However, son thought he could buy a car of his dreams without listening to dad and bought one from a friend of his whose dad was a dealer and had bought it at auction/ lesson being that we ended up sheeling out $3500 for a new engines a few months down the road! Yeah, it sucked but hopefully, lesson learned.

  20. Hey Nancy! It sounds like my own summation of "lying, cheating bastards" still holds water. Sad to hear it! Indigo

  21. Totally sucks! can you sue them? seems like fraud to me.

  22. WEll, a couple thousand people now know what a jerk he is, right/

  23. I love that you're making a cause out of this. Get 'em.

  24. That's a terrible story! And very timely as my husband is going out test driving something new (for him) this VERY weekend. Certainly something to put in the back of the mind when asking the hard questions....

  25. Oh man, that sucks!
    Glad you are getting the word out on this charlatan.
    And good to have you back!!

  26. I hope it picks up for you....I'm a lot like you, naturally trusting. Its an awful habit when it comes to things like this.

  27. I am so glad you are taking this to the media!! You are right they will love this!! Good luck!!

  28. To put it bluntly... that sucks!
    Even in "As Is" condition, you have no footing given that the car broke down within moments of buying it? There's got to be something you can do to make them PAY.
    Here's hoping it all works out.

  29. I sincerely hope you do not blame yourself in any way, shape or form. You are a great person and friend first of all for taking time, interest, and effort in helping your friend find just the right car at a good price. When the deal turned sour, you proved yourself an even better person and friend for first trying to fix the problem, and when that didn't work, for getting the word out about the evildoers to help your friend's piece of mind and ensure that no one else suffers the same injustice.

    When I began to think of the bad that's out there while reading this post, it was overpowered by the good that you did! You are wonderful and your "pass it forward" WILL be coming to you soon--what goes around ALWAYS comes around. Sometimes it just takes some time. How's your patience level?

  30. I don't think there's anything wrong with assuming someone is telling you the truth. The alternative is to be suspicious of everyone, and who wants that? That being said, I hope you nail their collective balls to the wall.

  31. @when Pigs Fly - A fellow complainer? In Ohio? How wonderful for me! Thanks for the lead. And as far as your spotlight? It's WELL deserved.

    @Joshua - sorry for your past situationas well...however, I'm glad to know I wasn't the ONLY one that's been scammed!

    @Suzicate - I had this nagging feeling that said, "have it checked out." but I dismissed it. I should KNOW better than to set aside my instincts. Some day I actually might LEARN that lesson!

    @Jen - That is such a thoughful comment, one I really don't deserve, but makes me feel a little good about this whole mess! Thank YOU!

    And an update...I've sent links to this post and e-mails to ALL the local channels. I even sent one to eBay's Meg Whitman. Oh yeah. I've got a cause now.

    Thanks to ALL for your comments and support!

  32. Say now........I actually live for this kind of stuff and love to take these kind of jackasses on!

    In my state, you have to file a WRITTEN complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office. I encourage you to do this with a copy to the dealer. Car dealers are the No. 1 consumer complaint with our AG; they even have a Dealer Investigator subsection. Secondly, call the AG's office and remind him you are a voter. The AG is an elected official and if they are up for election in '10, this may motivate them a little more to do something. Politicians love publicity. What better publicity than to show how they are protecting the voter by taking on a shady auto dealer? Then, I would give old "Drew Boy" a call and tell him that you think 2010 might be a little worse sales-wise than 2009 and wish him the best of luck. (God, I wish I were closer to help you!)

    Lastly, I will gladly appoint this firm as next weeks Idiot Sponsor of my website. (Notice I didn't say adopt; you have no say when you are appointed). I can't take all of the credit, but do wish to point out that once I adopted American Airlnes 2 weeks ago as an Idiot Sponsor, the FAA suddenly announced they were going to "heighten scrutiny" of AA. I'm sure it was our affiliation.

  33. Well at least you didn't sold a stolen car. I bought a car from a used car place that had it's own shop. My other car needed repairs. While it was in the shop, my new car got wrecked and found out it was stolen. They claimed it was a repo. My other car (the one in the shop) was to be ready in a few days. I went to go get it and it was gone. They claimed the macanic stole it!

    I bad mouthed them all over town! They eventually closed up shop.

    Spread the word of their scrupulous behavior as far and wide as you can!

  34. UGH!!!!! It's people like that that make you wanna hire some gang member to go down there and stick a shotgun in that sorry excuse for a human being's face and MAKE HIM GIVE YOU ALL YOUR MONEY BACK! If I was wealthy, I'd take a full page ad out in the newspaper and trash that horrible business. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

  35. That's just the pits! And you probably feel so responsible because you were helping, I said, HELPING a friend! Man-- it's like they say, no good deed goes unpunished. But how do people like that look at themselves in the mirror??? Grrrrrr...

  36. I think you're missing the big picture here. You used words like spark plugs and gaskets like you knew what you were talking about!!! And your guy friend came to you for help. I am so impressed. Your cool factor is thru the roof. I once bought a car ($27,000...) because I liked the sound it made when the door was open. It wasn't your typical ding ding ding. It was more of a ping ping ping. Well, the door thing AND it had cup holders placed in the most convenient place ever. Lets just say that when I was in an accident that totalled the car, it was a little gift from heaven.
    Anyways, I am so proud of you! And watch out, Mr. Slimy Used Car Salesman...karma's a b****.

  37. Hi Nancy, I've just slid an award your way from my blog. Come check it out in the CAPTAINS'S BLOG: SUPPLEMENTAL at the end of yesterday's blog entry ( Thanks for an ace blog, Indigo

  38. this kinda thing makes my blood boil. Good luck with your efforts.

  39. I have worked at car dealers & even though reputable, there are always little things they don't tell you so they can make xtra money.
    My car recently broke down & I'm looking into getting another used car. It's very hard to find something reliable & not over-priced. I bought my now broken-down car from friends & haven't even had it a year. They didn't have problems with it but the minute I bought it, all downhill from there. I need something newer than a '96 this

  40. Nice naming and shaming job.

    Next time I'm in Ohio, I'll make a point of not buying a car from those guys.

    Especially a black Disco

  41. I'm sure someone's already mentioned this (waaay to many comments to weed through, doll) but make sure you report them to the BBB. I'd also look for any other governing forces for used auto makers.

    If you're REALLY feeling the burn, why don't you (inexpensively) copy some flyers and put 'em on the windshields of the front cars in their lots...with BIG BOLD LETTERS THAT SAY "THIS CAR IS A LEMON!! DO NOT BUY!!


  42. I hope you get them for this. Some people, boo.

    (Oh, and I have to say that the photo on this post made me laugh! Totally stereotypical but totally accurate!).

  43. Good for you, Nancy!!

    Glad to hear you're spearheading a campaign against this company.

    I once had a very bad experience with a used car and complained and bitched until they replaced it with another one. At one point, I actually started yelling in the financers office until he got so nervous that he gave me what I wanted just to get me the hell out of his office - HA!

    Good luck.

    You GO, girl!

  44. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Good versus Evil. We were raised to be honest and upfront while other were raised to be false and devious. The true strength resides in those that remain unchanged (although smarter), from transgressions against them. I often find myself wanting to inflict the same harm done unto me; but then I think "...I'd be crossing over to the other side..."

    This is the daily challenge...

  45. Auch!Sorry about that Nancy. I support your quest to bring the effing company Autowhatever down!

  46. I think you should email them the link to this blog post. I know I won't ever buy from them.

  47. Oh I know the pain so well. I thought I was safe buying a used Toyota from an authorized Toyota dealer. Ha! Ha ha ha! And what's more, ha!

    Toyota head office flat out told me that they didn't give a damn if their authorized dealers told lies, as long as they didn't put them in writing. Yup, that kind of world.

    Your words of warning about AutosDirectOnline have been taken to heart and will be repeated any and every time I hear of anybody considering buying a car from them. I know I have in the past, so I'm sure I will again in the future.

  48. Shame on them for pulling this stunt - which sounds totally illegal, by the way. But I guess you can't prove it. But they totally blew it because they lost a customer in you, and all the people you've relayed this story to! Suckers!

  49. I'd be pissed as hell. I'm a firm believer in "what goes around comes around," though. Someone is gonna stick it to them one of these days.

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  52. @Annonymous - Thanks for adding YOUR story as well! I've now been contacted by several people that have had the same experience as we have!

    I've sent information to the Better Business Bureau and they are investigating. With more people coming forward, perhaps we can keep others from making the same trusting mistake that we did.

    I'm also adding your story to the local news. I've sent our information into an investigative team. They are doing some research. I'll keep you posted on the outcome!

    Thanks for sharing YOUR story with me!

  53. I was scammed by these guys last year. My story is similiar to many of the stories I have seen about these guys. The worst thing about it all is the feeling you can't do anything about it and they will go right on scamming others. Here is a simple idea though that everyone can do to try to hurt these bastards where they will hurt most. I have looked them up and found that besides EBAY they drum up a lot of business on the Craigslist site in Cleveland Ohio.So all you have to do is log on to craigslist Cleveland and click on cars for sale then do a search not on title only but for the entire listing for "autos direct online". When I did it 170 listings popped up. Then you systematically click on every one of their ads and flag the ad for "spam/overpost". If enough people do this craigslist will delete the ad.


Do it. Do it NOW!