This is my first post so please bear with me if I make a gaffo. Also remember this is merely a reporting of my experiences at Carmax, your's may be different (my attorney made me say that... [yes I really have an attorney - this event is not over])
I bought a 2004 Chevy Corvette (C-5) in June of 2007 form the Carmax in Orlando, FL.
The salesman said all the right things (e.g. we're different, we'll fix anything within 30 days etc.) Now bear in mind I'm not a *** person, I hate buying a new car but my SUV was coughing up blood and I had no choice.
I had my own financing - no prob. They added the warranty, but after the low-key pitch it sound like a good deal (beside my last Vette was one mechanical disaster after another - when it was in shape it was a joy, but that was infrequent - sort of a love-hate relationship)
They offered me $150.00 for my SUV and I was happy. Bluebook was $450 but I was fine with it, one less hassle.
The Vette ran great, a few noises here and there, some pulsation with the brakes - but the overall styling had changed so much since my last Vette (13 years ago) I just figured things had changed.
My wife stared telling me about the brakes pulsating and we both noticed clunking and grinding from the rear with high-angle low speed turns.
Before the 30 day "all inclusive warranty" was up I took it in to be looked at by the Carmax "mechanics" in Orlando. I had five (5) problem areas I wanted them to check:
1. Cosmetic defect in the driver's seat fitting into the seat pan (actually identified by the salesman when I bought it who had said "bring it in and we'll fix it - no problem!"
2. Pulsating brakes that pull to left or right - worse with rapid deceleration.
3. Problem with center console opening
4. Problem with "clunking" noise and "grinding" noise with turns
5. Tire pressure sensors inaccurate need re-calibrating.
When I picked it back up later that day I was told nothing was wrong, everything was “within normal limits” and they had lubricated the center console hinge.
Went home – the read end noise got worse.
Finally, on 27 August, I took it to Courtesy Chevrolet across the street from Carmax, also in Orlando. Turns out t he rear noise was a problem Chevy knew about, a service bulletin HAD been issues, the car was still under Chevy warranty (by one day no less) and they fixed it – FREE.
Went home happy.
Pulsating brakes started getting worse and the rear end noise came back. Took it back to Courtesy Chevrolet. – Then the bad part started.
Rear end – under warranty from previous repair – taken care of.
Brakes – disc rotors AND calipers shot x 4 – uneven wear. So bad it would have been clearly visible during the “under warranty” inspection at Carmax earlier when they had written “…checked front brakes for uneven wear – ok… checked front brake pistons and caliper slides for binding – none. No repair required at this time.(sic)”
The icing on the cake was rotors, calipers etc. are not covered by the Carmax warranty.
Contacted the local Carmax head of maintenance department (whose name I cannot mention but if you were to call Carmax Orlando and ask for the direct of maintenance, it would be him. To do him justice, he DID call back and proceeded to try to ream ME for everything being MY fault. I took his verbal harassment and humiliation as I figured it would be a small price to pay for them to pay for the repairs UNTIL I told him I was concerned about my wife driving a unsafe care for two months that should have been fixed when I first brought it in to Carmax. This “gentleman” began to laugh, yes LAUGHED at my concern for my wife’s safety.
I that point I lost my “turn the other cheek” attitude and told him basically to shove Carmax up an opening in his lower body.
Two days later I went to pick up my car (Chevy had to get certain parts mailed in).
The Chevy repair person, God bless his naiveté,, had still been talking with this director of maintenance at Carmax and gleefully informed me Carmax WAS going to pay the bill. The bill was $1053.19 plus the cost of a rent a car for two days. He said he wasn’t sure if Carmax was going to send Courtesy Chevrolet the check or have me pay and then refund me.
The next day, the Chevy repair person, called to say Carmax would be sending me a check and Chevy would charge my credit card.
That was fine. I was happy. I was even reconsidering my evaluation of Carmax – i.e. maybe I had been wrong and they were stepping up to the bat to “do the right thing.”
Today, Saturday, it has been thirteen (13) days since I took my car in for the repairs. Still no check (there never will be) still no apologies, in fact no communication except from the Carmax salesman who apparently naively believes Carmax will “do the right thing”.
Again my experiences may be different from yours, (as my attorney reminded me to write) you might get treated right. The message is BE CAREFUL! Carmax is still just another used car dealership; packed differently, owned by Circuit City (really – look it up) but it’s still the scorpion and frog story.
My suggestion, if you didn’t read the above and still choose to buy a car at Carmax. Choose the car, skip the extended warranty, and – no matter how hard it might be to do this – when you drive the car off the Carmax lot drive it directly to your prearranged service checkup with a local dealership. It may cost a dollar or two but you will know right away what’s wrong and be able to return the car to Carmax within 5 days and get your money back or at least force them to fix your car.
Be careful, don’t make my mistakes. Personally speaking, based solely on my experiences (my attorney talking again) I would/will NEVER buy a car from Carmax again, in fact I would not buy a $10 bill from them if they only wanted $5.
Courtesy Chevrolet Orlando = A+
Carmax Orlando = ***
Of course your experiences my be different from mine . . .
So what are your experiences?