Palafox Motors - Pensacola, FL Complaint - A Truly Miserable Experience
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA -- After years of purchasing many used vehicles either privately or from dealers, I guess luck finally caught up with me when I bought a 2003 Mercedes CLK320 from Palafox Motors in Pensacola, FL. I didn't go in blind and did my research; the car had just over 60K miles and a clean CARFAX (which I've since learned is next to useless) and the salesman stated that all vehicles are gone through prior to sale. I specifically asked about fluid and filter checks, as research had revealed these cars had transmission problems early on, leakage of the trans cooler in the radiator which contaminates the trans with coolant and ruins the transmission.
I was assured their mechanic had inspected the trans fluid and filters and OKed the car. Representing themselves as a long-time dealer, Christian family values, yadda yadda, shame on me, I took them at their word, which was a tremendous mistake, and within 600 miles the car was virtually undriveable, with transmission issues. After a diagnosis at the local MB dealer whom I trust, I contacted the dealer...initially they appeared to be willing to help with the repair via a local independent, but after several weeks it was obvious they were trying to nickel and dime the repair.
After weeks of frustrating back and forth and unreturned phone calls, including a dealership who wouldn't answer the phone, I finally had enough and insisted that the car be returned to me. I was told by the angry salesman that the dealer "didn't have to do a thing to help", that they were trying to assist "from the goodness of their heart" and that I wasn't their only customer, and as such I guess didn't have the right to expect a call back on the status of their car.
I realize buying a used car involves a level of risk, and I should have taken the car to an independent dealer for a thorough going over. I get it. My issue is with the dealership's total lack of professionalism in this matter. They did indeed sell a vehicle they represented as good to go, when in fact it was obvious they never checked a thing before the sale. These guys are quick to cash your check, but if you find yourself with an issue, you're on your own.
For those military in the area who may think of doing business with these folks (Pensacola is a Navy town) think long and hard before you plunk down your hard-earned (nearly $20K in my case) cash. They are not who they represent themselves to be.