I don't really ever write reviews either good or bad but my experience at Larsen's Motors was so horrible I thought maybe I could help someone else out, as it's already too late for me. I purchased a 2005 Cadillac Escalade 2 days ago (Monday December 14th 2009). I took it on a test drive around the dealership, checked all the knobs etc...(e.g. windshield wipers front and back, heated seats and so forth). The heated seats in the back did not work and there were a few other "quirks" but the price was right and there didn't appear to be any major defects, so I went ahead and bought it.
Boy was that a mistake. On the way home (I live in Tualatin about 30 minutes away), the rear windshield wiper quit working (actually, it fell off and was hanging down by my bumper all the way home...). Then the front axle started making a high pitched whining noise at speeds above 50 mph (on my test drive there was no freeway access so I didn't get it above 35 mph). I've driven a car before that made the same noise and it ended up being axle bearings that needed replacing (believe me, not a cheap repair). During the test drive, there were no noises and the wiper worked fine so it's not like I bought the car expecting axle problems and for things to fall off the car....
So I got home and immediately called the dealership wanting to give the car back and get my money back. Keep in mind, this had only been about an hour later so it's not like I bought it, drove it for 2 months and then changed my mind because I wanted a different car. This was me buying a car (and not a cheap one) in good faith that there were no mechanical problems or any other issues (aside from the heated seat thing I mentioned above). I think if, within the first hour things start falling off the car and you start noticing noises that weren't present during the test drive, you'd have an opportunity to just say "hey, no harm no foul - the car obviously has some issues that were not readily apparent an hour ago when I drove it, let me give it back to you, you give me back my money and you can tell the next person about the issues or fix them and re-sell it".
Well, the response I got to that was "hey, we didn't do anything wrong - you should've bought a warranty". Now, I'm not an idiot, I know that legally when you purchase a used car you're kind of rolling the dice but I would expect that when you buy for a dealership (especially one that purports to being around since 1940) that they would at least do some minimal mechanical checking before selling it, and if they "miss" something as noticeable as a whining axle they'd say "hey, our bad, we missed it, we'll take it back and do the right thing."
Now, I understand they are a business and are not in it necessarily to "do the right thing" but to make money. However, is the $20k+ really worth leaving the customer with a horrible buying experience? I mean, if I even tell 100 or 200 friends and acquaintances about my experience and 5-10 of them ever considered buying from Larsen's, then they've already lost upwards of $100k dollars. And it's not like they'd be taking a loss taking it back - I put only about 20 miles on it so they would just have to put it back in their inventory, fix the issue and sell it again.
As I mentioned, "legally" they are under no obligation to do this (at least I'm assuming - I'm no lawyer), but morally, and from a future business standpoint I would think they would at least consider the option. In any case, that is my experience with "Western Oregon's Most Reputable Auto Dealer" (ironically proudly displayed right on their website).
Oh yeah, lastly I woke up the next morning and pulled out of the parking lot and there was a new dashboard rattle which just started up. It feels like they put this car together with duct tape just hoping it would last long enough for some sucker (yay me!) to take the headache off their hands.
In any case, I'm still a bit hot about all of this and I don't want people to think "oh yeah, there's just one picky customer with a bad experience - our experience won't necessarily be like that!" Obviously if Larsen's has a car you really want for a cheap price, you will consider it. I just hope that this review will make you think twice and at least consider alternate dealers or at the very least, get something in writing saying that "within 24 hours if the car starts falling apart will you agree to take it back?" Just be careful and cover yourselves. I sincerely hope this helps someone. Good luck and happy car hunting!
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