JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Christy Smith felt trapped after buying a Ford Escape. Car buyer warns others to ‘stay away’ after buying used car from Vroom.
Vroom is an online car retailer where you can buy, sell or trade in your car with the swipe of a finger.
Smith paid $22,999 for his 2017 Escape last December plus taxes and fees. After taking possession of it, she discovered that Vroom had no clear title for the car and that the car had a prior lien on it.
This meant that Smith could not register the car. She’s not the only one stuck in the park.
In an Action News Jax investigation, Ben Becker found that 119 customers had filed complaints with the State of Florida against Vroom since March 2021. These are car buyers who had issues transferring their title after buying a car from the company.
In a settlement agreement, Vroom agreed to pay an $87,000 fine in July 2022.
But the problems with Vroom don’t stop at the status line. There are cases all over the country.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Vroom has an F rating with 6,108 complaints over the past three years.
Vroom admitted in a 2021 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he had issues, “…including arrears in title and vehicle registration…” blaming the shutdowns during the pandemic.
“We represent over 250 clients with cases against Vroom,” said Georgian lawyer Cyclone Covey, who is suing Vroom.
Covey tries to help people across the country get their titles through arbitration.
“I think in general refereeing is not bad, not fast, but can be faster than going to court. So instead of waiting 2-3 years, you could get resolution in 12-15 months,” Covey said.
Smith didn’t wait that long. She held out her hand to [email protected] to help.
“I heard you can do really good things with companies that do things like that,” Smith said.
She said Vroom offered to buy out her Escape instead of giving her an equal trade. But it wasn’t a start for Smith as car prices have soared over the past year. Becker went to Vroom’s website and found a 2017 Escape with similar miles but fewer features now costs $23,999, which is $1,000 more than Smith’s Escape.
The only comparable vehicle Becker found available on Vroom was a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, but the cost was $26,499, a difference of about $3,500. Vroom was spending a lot more for Smith to rent a car. So far they’ve spent around $5,300.
After Becker brought the difference to their attention, they gave Smith the go-ahead to get the Santa Fe Sport.
Vroom statement: “We have worked with the customer to trade vehicles for him rather than doing a buyout. She will now receive a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.”
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A few weeks later, Vroom picks up the Escape and drops off the Santa Fe.
“I’m very relieved and very happy that Vroom decided to do the right thing and do it right in the end,” Smith said in a video message. “I’m also happy with what Ben has done behind the scenes to resolve this case.”
Smith said Vroom threw in a $100 voucher for a car wash and details.