My experience of being scammed and mislead in buying a used car from reputable dealership


I am recent member on Waypoint, so please be easy on me. :-). So I just want to vent my frustration with buying my first ever car. I always used public transportation since I was a kid, or sometimes rode with my parents. I never really thought about buying a car until recently. The main motivation is that I want to travel, and see what the rest of the US has to offer. Travelling using a plane or public transportation IMO would limit the enjoyment. So I had a decent amount of saving and thought about getting a recent used car so that I won’t have to deal with the BS of an old car. Visited several dealerships in my home town, and probably spent about 3 weeks looking. I found a pretty nice car in a very reputable local dealership. I test drove it and loved it, and it was low mileage car. It was only 31k miles, and it was a 2014 so not old by any means. I liked the price, and it seemed to my eyes the car was in meant condition. So I bought it.

It’s been an awesome 3 weeks with the car, and I really so many road trips with it. Clocked in my first 1k miles in about 2 weeks of driving :-). That’s from someone who did zero miles before. So decided to take the car to a detail shop since winter is coming and I wanted to protect the car. Acting like a responsible owner and all that.

Then here is the thing that pretty much messed up my experience with the car. So when I went back to pick the car and I spoke to the person who detailed the car, he then asked me what happened to the car in the past just out of the blue. I said I just bought it a few weeks ago. His face definitely turned into a different color. He then told me that the whole left side of the car was painted. He said a car of this age was probably involved in a pretty serious crash for it to be painted like this. My heart sank. Not only that then he showed the inside the door sills and how bad of a job the auto body shop did to repaint the car. I was just shocked. He said the paint will start peeling off in about a year or even less depending on where I park it. That it’s probably a couple of grands to get proper paintjob. My main concern now is the safety of the car itself. The weird part is that I pulled a carfax, and several other VIN services and not a single accident was reported. The car has a clean title as well and I have the title since I paid fully for it.

I still haven’t contacted the dealership since I found out after their business hours. I will give them a call tomorrow and see what they will say. Not optimistic in term of them helping me out though since I didn’t buy any warranty from them. What surprised me is that I thought that big reputable dealerships were more trustworthy, that they would avoid to scamming buyers since they have a reputation to uphold.

What I learned from my experience:

1- Carfax and any other VIN service are not accurate and easily could be misleading.
2- The dealership reputation doesn’t matter when it comes to transparency especially used cars.
3- an independent inspection should be done regardless of the condition of the car.

I was wondering if anyone on here have experienced something similar, and what did you do?

my current roommate had purchased a $3,000 used car from craigslist (i know) and had it die on like the third day of owning it. a quick visit to the shop revealed that it was completely jacked on the inside and that it was a miracle the thing ran as long as it did. needless to say, the seller had flipped a junker and screwed my roommate out of a good chunk of his tuition money. honestly, seeing everyone’s car experiences has done enough to scare me from buying a car ever, because it sounds super risky if your not super well-established. i think i’ll stick to my bike.

Sounds awful. I was a noob when I bought the car. Should have have paid more attention. At least the car runs fine.

That sounds terrible, not much you could have done it sounds like you did a lot more due diligence than the last time I bought the car.
If the car was sold to the dealership by someone who maybe had it repaired under the table then it wouldn’t have been reported to CarFax, which sucks!
Check into lemon laws in your area. I’m not sure if they would apply or not but worth a check

Damn, that sucks. As they say, research if you can sue, but if the car is fine otherwise and the legal cost is higher than the cost of just repainting the thing… Just paint it and move on.
Everyone gets a lemon every once in a while, and sometimes one just has to deal with it.
Good luck.

Last time I was in the market for a used car, I brought my buddy who used to be a mechanic. He was the one who test-drove it and asked the questions. I’m just lucky enough to have a great resource like that.

Sorry to hear about this, though. I am always so afraid of something like this happening to me. Did you get a price quote for a proper paint job? It might come in handy when talking to the dealership.

Also; do you remember what you and the dealership talked about during the original purchase? Did you specifically go over the past history of the car and they led you to believe it was in pristine condition? I would start writing down everything you remember from the sale in case (god forbid) you have to take legal action.

Honestly, if there aren’t a bunch of visible dents and such, I’m guessing the car got sideswiped and the owner replaced the panels and the door. Then just cheaped out on painting it. Take it to a mechanic and have them give it a once over, I bet it’s mechanically just fine and safe.

Sucks about the painting though, I’d just chill on getting it all repainted until it starts to peel, but save up money for that eventuality.

Well, the engine is in almost new condition since it was only 31k miles on it and it runs great. It’s just the exterior is the issue. The point where it pealing it feels like a 20 years old car. That’s how bad it is. I called the dealer and salesman transferred me to the sales manager. I left a voicemail explaining the issue. I am not expecting much from them, but I am usually the type who likes to keep expectations in check. Wish me luck guys!

The dealer claimed the car was never in an accident and used the carfax as proof. My own theory of what happened is that the previous owner somehow scratched or dented the front and rear fender in a side sweep or someone running a red light. There are no airbag lights which indicate that the car didn’t experience a very strong impact from the side. Just enough to require a repaint. What puzzles me is that most people buy cars though financing or leasing. It’s one owner vehicle so the person who had must had full coverage from insurance. Why didn’t she or he make an insurance claim? To save the value of the car and avoid insurance rate increase? That’s the only thing that makes sense. Also even a mechanic would have not noticed the paint problem since they usually focus on the engine. This car is mechanically sound from what I can tell. I don’t need a quote to know how expensive it will be. The rear fender plus the upper portion of the door sills will need to be painted, and that super expensive. I highly doubt it will be lower than 2k. Hopefully the sales manager calls back.

It’s really the downside of buying used vehicle. There are things that no matter how thorough you are you will not notice.

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“Full coverage” sure, but your insurance gets cheaper the higher your deductible is. They might have been covered but also had a $500 deductible they couldn’t pay.

One of the best advice i ever received was to never buy used cars. I had a friend who nearly died because her car’s engine gave out in an incline just after a month. Turns out, the used car that she bought for cheap came from a flooded, hurricane area meaning there was still mud and grit inside the engine despite the dealers best efforts to clean them (or conceal them).