Texas Auto On Line Complaint - Not a smooth transaction
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I needed a car in California and found what I thought to be the right choice that fell within our budget. Bought unseen but based on the information I received from researching the car, the company and in speaking with the salesman from Texas Auto OnLine - it turned out to be the worst car purchase experience for me. I have owned many cars over the years and both bought and sold some over the internet long before today's popular websites appeared having no issues, nada, zilch.
To start, issue after issue dealing with the dealership in completing the necessary paperwork. Much to my surprise one day early on, the current title arrives and upon contacting the title department at the dealership, they stated that it was a mistake and would I please return it which I did gladly as I was only going to be in the state of CA for 2 weeks and needed to finalize the necessary paperwork ASAP. Now for a company that claims to 'sell many cars to the state of CA', they appeared to be clueless as to what was required of them by the state of CA. Back and forth we went and in my mind thinking that if the professional handled the paperwork that would be more efficient even if it cost me a few dollars more as time is money and we all know how short time can be. Murphy's law happens again but 'if you want something done, do it yourself',so we did and due to the delays the dealership caused, it cost me an additional $204 dollars in late fees through CA DMV. BTW - the folks at the DMV facility in CA were absolutely wonderful to work with.
After contacting the dealership via fax (which they claim they never received)to recoup the money incurred from the late fees I refaxed it again while I had the gentleman on the line and he acknowledged receipt and would get back with me.
Two weeks goes by and not a word even after I called and left multiple messages with his staff and on his cell phone - 'he never got them'. Great customer service...not at all. Now they did address most of the other issues with the car and shared some of the costs but to be honest this car has cost me much more than what was originally paid.
They make the cars look pretty on the outside and where you have access to the engine bay but mechanically - when you ask for records and they can not produce them, walk away. The car had issues! Needed motor mounts, needed trans mount, motor needed a set of gaskets as they were saturated. Some exterior bulbs were missing even after I had checked with the salesman to make sure everything was in working order. In addition, the stop/hinge broke on the drivers door and you could not lower the window. The speaker grill on the drivers door was busted - never disclosed. On the 2nd day after I took the car for the CA emissions test (which it passed) the infamous 'Check Engine' light comes on...Murphy's Law. Luckily it was the gas cap and a vacuum line that was diagnosed thru having a 'smoke test' performed...not an inexpensive test.
One thing the dealership did disclose by law was that on the title it stated that the car came from a 'flood zone' area and added that it 'had never been in a flood as they would not buy cars like that at auction as it would tarnish their reputation'. Now this may be true but difficult to confirm. The local MB dealership in CA just replaced the 'harness' under the drivers seat that controls the SRS system...faulty harness means NO AirBags. NO AirBags and an accident really don't go together too well. The local MB dealer felt that it got wet. As for Texas Auto their final reply today was that 'we've done enough on this transaction'. With that, I am out an additional $584. Don't get me wrong, after all the issues were fixed I can say that it is a nice car but I can only attribute that to the manufacturer (MB) and the local MB dealership that brought the car back to where it should have been in the first place.
I would like to add that above I mentioned I received the current title in error and it was either on that title or with the accompanying paperwork at that time it stated that the car was 'repossessed'. One thing I recall the salesman saying to me at pre-sale time was that 'the car came from an affluent area in Texas' - well why was it repossessed? And why didn't the salesman ever disclose that bit of information. Either he had not done his homework in knowing his product well enough or simply chose not to. And to add, this is how I think the speaker grill and door stop/hinge broke, repo man doing his job.
They are probably not the only used car dealership that is at fault like this but if you can't take or make the time to go and check out a car, hire someone reputable, third party unbiased to be your eyes and ears.
Lesson learned, hope this is helpful to others.