American Auto Mall, LLC

American Auto Mall, LLC

American Auto Mall, LLC Used Car Dealer Scam in Fredericksburg Virginia!!. American Auto Mall, a small used car dealership in Fredericksburg VA sold me a 2002 Volvo V70 XC with a known transmission problem. Even though I test drove the car, I could not tell that it had a transmission problem because, as I would later find out, the problem requires that the car be warmed up before it clearly manifests. Additionally, the car had worn out snow tires on it, which produced a great deal of vibration while driving– which hid any minor transmission issues that would have surfaced during the test drive. The ad for the car (of which I have a screen capture) stated that it was mechanically sound, both engine and transmission and that it “has no problem shifting”. This was repeated to me by the salesperson Atiq, who demonstrated himself to be mechanically savvy by telling me about all of the upgrades and work he had done on his own cars. I’m not mechanically savvy and I’m only really familiar with Hondas, so I relied on his expertise. On my way home (I bought the car in Fredericksburg then drove it home to Richmond), I noticed there was a delay in shifting. It was saturday evening though so I’d have to wait til monday morning to get it looked at. On monday, I took it to three different mechanics, each confirmed that the transmission needed replaced. The last mechanic, a 25yr Volvo Master Technician, showed me that the transmission fluid was BLACK– meaning that the fluid had gone so long without being changed that it was “likely full of metal shavings and most definitely needed replaced”. All mechanics pointed out that the transmission problem was common to this make and model and that it was sometimes fixable by doing any number of (costly) repairs– but that those repairs wouldn’t be worthwhile due to the neglect of the transmission which had compounded the problem beyond repair. When I told the mechanic that I didn’t really detet anything wrong with it and that there was no check engine light or error messages on in the car he broke out his code reader and checked. He said there weren’t any error codes, but there definitely should be, which means that someone wiped the original codes so that the error/ alert messages wouldn’t show. That signifies to me that someone was aware there was a problem and knowingly covered it up. I contacted American Auto Mall and told them what I found and what the mechanics had said. Atiq told me he drove the car more than 100 mi and that he hadn’t noticed a thing, which seemed suspicious since, after driving it every day, the car would jerk very hard following a long delay (4-6 seconds) when shifting from park to drive. Atiq, the car salesman who sold me this used car, told me he’d try to get it covered under a warranty– even though I had bought the car As Is (a very risky proposition when buying a used car, but the state of VA is pretty lax on consumer protections). I was somewhat relieved. I thought we’d get it sorted out and be fine. Unfortunately, days would go by where I was not having my calls, texts or emails returned. I’d get one update every 3-5 days. After two weeks I felt like he was just stalling. The last communication I recieved was a text telling me to call his mechanic who would fix it for $1650– but when I inquired as to details regarding the type of part to be used, warranty on the work, or the possibility of using a mechanic in Richmond instead of Fredericksburg, he did not return any of my messages. It’s been a month since I bought the car. While I recognize that the car was sold “As is”, everyone still has to put a certain degree of trust in their car dealer. A simple, “It sometimes doesn’t shift well” or “The transmission needs to be looked at” would have been sufficient. But I don’t have any reason to doubt someone who seems to know basic car mechanics when he says a used car is “mechanically sound”. It’s even written in the ad. In short, don’t waste your time with American Auto Mall. There are better places to buy used cars in Fredericksburg and more trustworthy dealers to buy from.

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