In August 2009 I bought a used "luxury" car from Automax, on recommendation from trusted sources who had dealt with them previously. Though the sales process was very smooth, the post-sale service has been... nothing but problematic.
Summary of the 5 big problems:
1. Soon after buying the car I had an issue that needed fixing. 2. Automax couldn’t/wouldn’t find the problem the first 4 times I took the car in. 3. Once they “found” the problem (tie rods), they refused to fix it. 4. Chances are, the problem they “found” isn’t even the real problem...from online forums and a reliable mechanic's inspection/diagnosis, looks like it could be a serious (and costly) issue with the torque converter/transmission. 5. Automax is being sneaky by deleting records, altering records, and making it look like there was never a problem in the first place. Why? My warranty ends in 1200 miles.
Details for those who want them:
Within a month of buying the car, I noticed a substantial noise occurring frequently between 25 mph and 40 mph. Now, 10 months later, after taking the car back to Automax 4 times to get the noise checked with no resolution, they told me they finally found the cause of the noise...tie rods worn out. The service manager very calmly said they would fix it but charge me for it. When I complained that this was unacceptable, he simply said there were "policies in place" and I've had the car for 10 months now so they wouldn't take care of the problem. When I then asked if they would have fixed it (for free) had they actually found the problem the first time, he calmly responded "yes".
Needless to say, I was baffled by this. They should have found and fixed the problem 10 months ago, but didn't. Now they finally "find" the problem but won't fix it because 10 months have passed. On top of that, I called a trusted mechanic who I've been going to for many years and explained what was going on. He quickly pointed out that the problem is unlikely the tie rods on this particular vehicle, and even if the tie rods were bad, that would not create the noise I experience. He spent the day with the car yesterday and said the tie rods are fine, but the problem unfortunately lies in the torque converter/transmission so advised me to go to an authorized dealer to get it checked out and hopefully repaired under warranty.
But here's the very worst part! Once I resigned that Automax was simply not going to make good on this situation, I went there to get my vehicle. I asked for printouts of all records relating to every service visit since I bought the car, and waited while they printed them out. I noticed that several were blank and said "record voided" so I then went to my car and compared them to the printouts they actually gave me on the days I had previously visited (which I kept in my glove compartment). It then became shockingly clear that not only had they deleted several key records in their system, but they had actually deleted entire key sections of other records. According to these 6/25 printouts, it looked like I had never been into the service department to complain about a noise problem whatsoever!
Lesson learned. They clearly have something big to hide (like a costly fix that they don't want to do while the car's under warranty), and will go to any length to do so.
DO NOT buy a car from Automax unless you first take it to a trusted mechanic to have it thoroughly examined, and then DO NOT use Automax for any car service/maintenance. Oh, and by the way...I've yet to hear from the owner, and the manager refuses to return my calls. Shocker.