Autos Direct Online — Autos Direct Online is unscrupulous
I bought a 2005 MINI Cooper S from Autos Direct Online on November 28, 2012. The cost was about $10K, minus what I was given for my trade-in. We test drove the car, and it seemed to perform well. It had about 68, 000 miles and a clean CarFax. However, as soon as I drove the car home to Michigan, it started to act up. The Service Engine warning light came on, and the car suddenly went into "limp mode, " meaning that it operated at reduced power and would not go faster than 20 MPH. Restarting the car would temporarily solve the issue, but the problem continued to recur intermittently, making it hazardous to drive. I took the car to a MINI dealership in Michigan, and, after several trips and $400 worth of diagnostic testing, the mechanics eventually determined that car needed two major electronic modules replaced - at a cost of nearly $3500.
Interestingly, the mechanics found that the car had been repainted after some body work was done on it. Of course, this was not in the Carfax, since whoever performed the work did not enter the information into the vehicle reporting system. The mechanics told me that a car having a clean Carfax is no guarantee that the car has not suffered serious problems.
Shortly after I first experienced problems with the car, I informed my salesperson at Autos Direct Online - named Juan Rosario. He told me: "If there is a major problem with the car, we will take care of you." I interpreted his statement to mean that Autos Direct Online would take the car back and either refund my money or offer the option to select another vehicle they had in stock. I continued to keep Juan Rosario informed about the car - through calls and emails. When the MINI mechanics finally pinpointed the major electronic problems, Juan Rosario requested documentation of the problems and cost. I immediately sent him the documentation.See Top 10 Worst Companies in Brook Park, OHJuan Rosario said he needed to talk to the owners, but assured me that I would get an answer soon and that something would be done to correct the situation.
Juan Rosario never did get back to me with an answer. I called regularly to see what the owners said. When I did get Juan Rosario on the phone, he would say that owners have not had the chance to review my case yet. I suspected that Juan Rosario was stringing me along, but still hoped we could resolve this situation amicably.
Two weeks after I sent Juan Rosario documentation of the major problems, he ceased communicating with me entirely. He would not pick up my calls, or reply to voicemails, texts or emails. I copied the owner of Autos Direct Online, Vince Hugo, and the Sales Manager, Sean Nightingale. They, too, were unresponsive.
I am not sure how I am going to proceed now about the car and whether I will pursue other options to get Autos Direct Online to do the right thing. The options in Ohio for a used car bought "As is" seem limited.
But one thing I am certain of: Autos Direct Online is not a trustworthy company and I regret ever having dealt with them. I am not one to write reviews, but I feel that it is important to inform others who might be considering buying from Autos Direct Online. The car that Autos Direct Online sold me was not only defective, but actually turned out to be dangerous - jeopardizing my (and my passenger's) safety when it suddenly acted up. I don't know if Autos Direct Online knew about the defect when they sold me the car. If they did, then their business practices are utterly unconscionable. If they did not, their failure to correct the situation and honor their word makes them unscrupulous.
I may have thought that I was getting a good deal on a used car at Autos Direct Online. However, the cost of now repairing the car makes it a very bad deal, by all standards.
If you are considering a car at Autos Direct Online, I would strongly advise against it. For your own safety and the sake of your pocketbook, avoid the mistake I made.
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