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.
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.