"This was my wife and I’s first time buying a nice, gently..."
This was my wife and I’s first time buying a nice, gently used car. We took care of an old ’05 Focus for a long time (from 92k to 191k miles) and saved plenty of cash so we could easily afford a newer car in good shape with modern features. We ended up taking home a base-trim 2019 Jetta in immaculate shape with plenty of warranty. We honestly feel that we lucked out on this purchase though, because the sales staff at Axelrod put in minimal effort to make sure we were taken care of.
We primarily worked with salesman Tom Shaffer. He was friendly enough, but he couldn’t produce a record of the service that the dealership did on the vehicle and dismissed the subject every time we raised it. On the test drive, we noticed some noise coming from the wheel well, but we trusted that the service record would quell any concerns that we had. We loved the car and even though it had a glaring set of scratches on the back bumper, Tom assured us that the car had been discounted to factor that in and that we could easily touch it up ourselves if we so desired. We were buying out of necessity and didn’t want to go home without a car. This car seemed like a safe bet, so we didn’t fuss and paid asking price. Trading in our beater got us basically junk cost of $300 which we couldn’t complain too much about even though we’re sure we could’ve gotten more than the bare minimum for it.
We finalized the sale and bought some up-sell services from Susie, who was wonderful. Then on our way out the door, Tom stopped us to ask when we could bring the car back for some service that hadn’t yet been done. We also needed a protective coating applied to the surface of the vehicle (an up-sell we paid a little extra for). We figured it was a good thing if Axelrod wanted to make sure that the car was in great shape for us.
When I brought the car back a couple days later, I asked Tom what service needed done. He said he didn’t know and changed the subject (this was pretty much his response for any question he didn’t want to answer). I asked if he would provide me with a report afterwards listing what service had been done, and he said he would (spoiler alert: he didn’t). He then loaned me a dirty truck even though he’d only seen me in clean sedans and I just bought an almost new one. I let it slide though since I figured I was getting courtesy service done on my car. As the day got closer to an end I called to check in on the vehicle and Tom said that the service department was overloaded with work and hadn’t yet got to my car. He said he’d call me back in less than 20 minutes with a time to pick it up. He called an hour later to say that my car was ready. Seemed unlikely that my car went from not looked at yet to ready and coated in about an hour.
When I picked up the car and asked what had been done, Tom said the car didn’t need any work after all and they just did an oil change. I never got a record of any service done by Axelrod, which indicates to me that little to no service was ever done despite a weak effort to convince me that it had. The noise in the wheel well remained, so I made an appointment with my local VW dealership to have them inspect the vehicle and give me some peace of mind.
The VW dealership (Ganley Westside Imports) provided me with a complimentary inspection because my car was still under warranty Sure enough, the dealer noticed the sound, too, and upon inspection found that the car itself was in “immaculate” condition and didn’t need any work. However, the tires hadn’t been properly rotated and balanced, which left them worn unevenly (“chopped and feathered” was the term they used on the report). Between this situation and the Carfax report I’ve determined that the first and only owner of this Jetta drove it a lot and didn’t pay too much attention to its service schedule, including tire rotations. Regardless, the car is practically new and in great shape. All it needed was some new tires. The Ganley service manager didn’t even try to sell me the tires, but told me that since I just bought the car from Axelrod, that I should go back to Axelrod to have them make it right.
When I relayed this issue to Tom, he said that Axelrod had done a full inspection on the car and there was nothing wrong with it, but that Ganley was just trying to up-sell me. This doesn’t make sense since Ganley literally sent me back to Axelrod without selling me anything, but Tom couldn’t think of a better excuse for not handling the issue. When I told Tom this wasn’t good enough, he told me this was “above his pay grade” and that I’d have to take it up with the Used Sales Manger, Jayme Yates. He gave me Jayme’s email address and asked that I send over my paperwork from Ganley. I asked Ganley to email me their paperwork and within a few hours I got the report and forwarded it to Jayme.
To clarify the tire problem: driving on these unbalanced tires not only made an unpleasant noise, but also gave me less traction on the road and put undue strain on other suspension components that would lead them to fail far sooner than normal. These tires were not okay to drive on and I absolutely needed to replace them.
I didn’t hear back from Jayme at Axelrod that day, so the next morning I called and left a voicemail to make sure that he had my number and received my report. A few hours later, just before noon I get a text message from Jayme saying that he received my messages and would be calling me “shortly”. After some hours passed I had seen the writing on the wall and went ahead and scheduled a tire installation for top-grade all-season tires through a professional tire shop for a deep discount and good rebate. All-in I was only out about $400. I’m writing this five days after having the new tires installed and the car handles better with absolutely no tire noise! I feel much better driving it and am 100% certain that I made the right call.
I wouldn’t hear from Jayme until the end of the business day (literally 5pm on a Friday). As expected, Jayme assured me that the car was thoroughly inspected and generously discounted. He repeated the deflective claim that Ganley was probably just trying to up-sell me. He asked me to explain the issue even though I’d already sent him the actual report from Ganley which details what the problem is and why its important. This indicated to me that Jayme never even opened that report. Once again I saw that Axelrod had put only a minor performative effort into taking care of me as their customer. Jayme pretended to do me a favor by entertaining my concerns and having me bring the car in for service again to have them look at it to see if maybe they could meet me halfway if they thought I legitimately needed new tires.
At this point I had seen enough to know how this was going to play out. No one at Axelrod was seriously inspecting at this car. This was not important business to them and I was annoying them by having a problem with their subpar service. With my nagging, they might finally have a service tech glance at the tires that they never bothered to look at before and decide whether they were bad enough to “meet me halfway” on their mistake or just decide to lie to me and send me home after wasting another few hours of my time and energy.
Why would I spend another day dropping off and picking up the car, arguing with these clowns just so that they string me along and best-case scenario save me a couple hundred dollars? My time (and frankly my business) is worth more than that, so I told Jayme that this was not good enough. I had already done my due diligence. I knew they were in the wrong and that they needed to fully cover my tire installation. At this point Jayme started acting much less professional. He amped up the gaslighting by telling me that he “was going to help” me, but not anymore because I was being too difficult. He literally said “I don’t owe you anything”. After this I knew I made the right choice in just eating the cost, handling the repair myself and leaving them the review they deserve. It was never about the money, it was about the honesty, respect, and professionalism that Axelrod so utterly failed to provide.
I didn’t buy a $50k brand new Yukon, but I did buy some extra service packages and end up giving them over $19k in business. I’m sure they got a decent discount on that scratched car, never serviced it, and easily made a few grand on this sale. To gaslight me and dismiss my legitimate concerns over a few hundred dollars in tires was far beneath the level of service Axelrod purports to provide. I cannot in good faith recommend this business to a friend and I certainly will not be returning.