America's Choice Cars & Credit Inc / bad business, customer is always wrong
My husband and I bought a 98 white Chevy Lumina from America's Choice in December 2007. On Feb 13, 2008, I was hit head-on in an accident. America's Choice (AC) people put us into a new vehicle, a 98 maroon Lumina. I was barely out of the hospital after reconstructive surgery on my leg and ankle. AC allowed my husband to forge my name onto the documents without my knowledge, consent, or power of attorney.
The maroon Lumina was in disrepair from the start. The driver's side power window only worked when it felt like it and the gas gauge NEVER worked, from the moment it was driven off the lot. On the day of the sale finalizing, my husband told AC's then-manager Connie that the gas gauge wasn't working. We were told within a few weeks that fixing it would "cost too much" at $425, so they weren't going to fix it. It also had overeating issues intermittently.
At the end of May 2008, the car was mysteriously not turning on, occasionally and without reason. It had an antifreeze leak, and an oil drip, and the air conditioner never worked. We returned AGAIN to America's Choice for some help in fixing this piece of junk. They took the car for 5 days, said it was fixed, and we picked it up on June 7. On June 8th, we were driving towards the Jim Thorpe area for the funeral of a family friend. Since the air conditioner still did not work, we pulled over at a gas station to get some water and cool off. When we got back in, the car wouldn't start!! I immediately took the cell phone and left a scathing voicemail for the new manager, Autumn, who took over when Connie was fired (allegedly for stealing).
We eventually got it running, got to the funeral LATE, and then made it home. My husband realized that although they had kept the car for 5 days, nothing was done to it and it still had all the same problems. We fixed the antifreeze leak ourselves, but then the driver's side window stopped going back up (real fun in the rain). We were told that any repairs they did would be added to the balance of the loan, even though we were also suckered into paying $35 a month for the Penn Warranty plan, which was supposed to cover repairs.
Throughout this whole mess, we've been timely with almost every payment, but that doesn't stop AC from calling us late on Friday afternoons, and again Saturday morning, if we haven't gotten there yet. They're very on top of things when it comes to getting payments, but nowhere to be found when their clunkers need fixing.
Last week, (July 5, 2009), with $2500 still left on the balance, I called Autumn and told her she can repo the car - we don't want it anymore. I was told that we are still under contract and still responsible for payments. I said, "I don't think so, I never signed anything."
Autumn didn't want to go there, so she said they would just come get the car, and then she hung up on me.
She called back within a few moments, but I didn't answer. She called back again, and I spoke to her. She gave some lip service about us being good customers and offered to let us trade the car in for something new. She also said they would wipe the balance clean, no down payment, and would try to reduce our weekly payments to $70.
We went to the lot on Friday, picked out a 99 Buick Century, and filled out a new application, which we dropped off on Monday. On Tuesday, we were informed that the "loan company" (which from what I understand is a subsidiary of America's Choice itself!) decided that our payments would be INCREASED to $85/week, supposedly under the premise that lower payments would take us too far over the "two year limit" which would incur more interest, implying they were trying to save us money. HA! Then she added that they would also be adding $800 onto the new loan balance for minor damage to the driver's side hood (a little dent that could be fixed in minutes), for a grand total of $9400 - for a car worth $3500 (the Buick).
We didn't bite. My husband and I decided to just keep the car we have and finish paying it off. Last week we obtained a printout of all of our payments, so I started running the numbers. The total payments we've made of $7020, is different than the total they show of $6820. I added up the payments on the printout THEY gave me, but got a different total! In addition, even though the interest is compiled annually at a straight 9.9%, the few times we postponed a payment, more interest was tacked onto our balance. So that means we paid interest for those weeks TWICE, and there's a $200 difference between the amount we've actually paid and the amount they say we paid, from their OWN documentation. Apparently, their computers cannot add.
When speaking with Autumn last week, she said she was a customer of America's Choice before she worked there. She relayed a story about her own car she bought there that had lots of issues, that she had brought it in for several days, but it was never fixed. She told us that they don't use the same garage anymore, and that when she started working there, she looked up her own name in the computer to find out that her car was never sent out. (Sounds familiar.)
Since we bought another car outright this past spring in a private sale, we've now decided that America's Choice can come get their junk car, and we'll be making no more payments. I'm also in the process of filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and will be discussing with my attorney any further options we may have.
I will never, ever, ever purchase another vehicle from these schmoozy liars.