Consumers Speak: Carmax Leaves Car Buyer Chapped

‘Random’ writes to tell us of his experiences with Carmax, the used car super lot (and not the lip gunk maker, despite our headline [but aren’t we smart?]). Inside he explains how Carmax helped him turn a $5 used car into a $2,000 towing bill!

completed a transaction with Carmax recently, where I both purchased a car from them and sold them my old car.
The purchasing side went smoothly and I was happy enough with the price and the process in general.
The selling did not go so smoothly.

I had a 1989 Mazda 626 with 160,000 miles on it, not in great shape, but still running.
I figured I would at least get a
hundred or a couple hundred dollars for it, so I had them appraise it.
When the appraisal was completed and I was offered a whopping $5 (yes, five dollars) for the car, I decided it would be worth it to investigate other options for selling this car.

I had already decided to purchase a car from them though, and the salesman was eager for me to drive it home that night, enough so that he offered to keep my old car on their lot for a few days if I drove the new car home that night, which I decided to do.
It was at some point on the drive home that I realized that the appraiser had never returned to me the keys to the old car, which were the only copy in my possession.
I figured they had some kind of system to deal with such things so I would just call them tomorrow.

After the jump, something happens—something scummy.

Well for whatever reason I did not remember to call them about it, but I did return to the lot in a few days to pick up my old car.
I sought out the salesman and explained the key situation to him, and he went in the back to look for it but shortly returned with nothing.
We found the appraiser but he said he had returned the keys to me because “that’s what he always does”.
They both went to the back and looked again but did not find them.
I eventually spoke with a manager-type person, who assured me that the appraisers always return the keys posthaste and blah blah blah, basically implying that I must have
had the keys in my possession and then lost them.
But even though the $5 offer on my car had expired, he would be glad to still purchase the car from me, without a key, for $5.
Disgusted and wanting this ugly affair to end, I went ahead and proceeded with the ridiculous processing necessary to collect my $5 and be on my way, free of any more responsibility for the old clunker (so I thought).

Several months later, I received in the mail a certified letter from a township I had never been to, stating that I owed $35 for leaving my car parked for too long in the same area in a derelict condition.
Confused, I inquired further and found out the old
mazda had been stripped and abandoned in some town near the Carmax, and I was the last registered owner on file with the Secretary of State.
I told them I had sold the car well before this incident, and they said if I could provide proof then they would pursue the matter with the new owner.
I faxed them the bill of sale and did not hear from them again, though more recently I received a bill from what looks to be a collection agency for towing and storage
fees in excess of $2000 for…you guessed it, a 1989 Mazda 626.
I sent them the bill of sale as well and haven’t heard from them since, either.
I guess the moral of this story is DON’T SELL YOUR CAR TO CARMAX.

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