Online car buying has seen a dramatic increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But sister station WGAL found a Pennsylvania woman – and thousands of other consumers – are telling a cautionary tale of car buying online.
For Sandy Harriott, of Liverpool, Pennsylvania, it was all about convenience.
“Well, you see all the advertisements. Easy, can return it in seven days,” she said.
Harriott was attracted to the online car retailer Carvana because she doesn’t like going into dealerships.
“You get online. You look through a bunch of cars. You can look through pictures. They show you the interior, the exteriors,” she said.
After picking out a vehicle in April, it was delivered in about a week.
“First time I drove it, I went from here to Harrisburg, so 30 miles. The check engine light comes on, and it wouldn’t go over 40 miles an hour,” Harriott said.
She said she battled with Carvana for six months over mechanical and registration issues, returning two vehicles before receiving the vehicle she has now.
“I am happy with this car, but this has been since April to get this done,” she said.
Carvana’s big selling point is that it helps consumers get around everything they hate about buying used cars. On the other hand, it seems the company is introducing consumers to other problems, which have resulted in multiple consumer complaints and legal actions in several states.
In August, Carvana was suspended for six months from selling cars at its Raleigh, North Carolina, dealership because it broke licensing laws.
Carvana paid out $850,000 to four counties in California in a civil lawsuit for dealing cars without proper licensing.
The company was fined $10,000 in Texas and is on probation in Michigan for issues related to titles and registration.
On the Better Business Bureau website, customers give the company two out of five stars. But the bureau gives the company a rating of A- minus based on how it interacts with customers.
More than 2,500 complaints are listed on the site. More than 60% of those complaints have been closed.
Carvana’s revenue was up nearly 200% in the second quarter of this year, compared to a year ago, as the company delivered more than 100,000 vehicles for the first time.
WGAL reached out to Carvana for comment. At this point, the company has not responded. https://www.wesh.com/article/perry-county-woman-tells-cautionary-tale-about-buying-a-car-online/38287179#