On Your Side: Vehicle Damage

Their family car - fresh off the lot.  But just two weeks later, almost totaled at the dealership.

The service department said, "sorry, call your insurance".

The consumer? Got FOX 4 on her side.

"I don't think that can be fixed."  Peppered with pockmarks and not safe to drive, Mellissa McElhinny says her car purchase at CarMax started out great.
 
"They were wonderful to work with as far as sales were concerned," Mellissa said. "It was a quick and easy process. We found this one right away and fell in love."
 
But she says that love faded fast.  As part of the terms of her purchase, the dealership agreed to replace some weather stripping and perform an alignment. So when the part was in, she returned here to CarMax in Plano.
 
The fix? Was to take less than a day.
 
Mellissa says, "We got a phone call a few hours later saying they were so sorry but the weather stripping was incorrect and they needed to keep the car until Monday."
 
But for this busy mom of three, this wasn't ideal. With car seats installed and supplies inside, she asked to come pick it up. CarMax confirms she was told no.
 
"They said sorry the car is off site," Mellissa said.
 
That night: a hailstorm. Her car was left outside for repair. The damage was devastating. 
 
"There's not really an inch of the car that doesn't have golf ball dents in it," Mellissa said.
 
She got a call from the service department telling her to contact her insurance company and file a claim.  But she didn't think she'd be liable.
 
"The car shouldn't have been there," Mellissa said.
 
She asked for help.
 
"I spoke with the service manager who pretty much only would say, 'We are not willing to do anything to help you,'" she recalled.
 
But got nowhere.
 
Mellissa said, "He kept assuring me that they are not liable.. and then told me to leave."
 
So she took one more step and called the CarMax corporate office.
 
Mellissa said, "While I felt she was sympathetic she said she talked to the powers that be and they said they were unwilling to help us."
 
And the folks at CarMax don't deny it.  So Mellissa Steve Noviello.
 
Now let's be clear, many dealerships make you sign a waiver when you bring your car in for service which specifically releases them from liability for damage due to "Acts of God" or things "beyond their control".  You probably never noticed it in the fine print.
 
But CarMax ordered the wrong part and then didn't let Mellissa pick up her car.  We think those were both within their control and deserved a closer look. So the next call to CarMax was from Steve.
 
A CarMax location General Manager said, "At CarMax, we are a company of integrity and transparency and we had to reevaluate the situation and once I spoke with her and listened to her concerns we felt the right thing to do was to purchase back her vehicle."
 
The company did a 180. They're buying back the damaged car, refunding the down payment and have even struck a deal for a new car.
 
A CarMax location General Manager said, "We do feel we have gone above and beyond and of course we evaluate this on a case by case basis."
 
Mellissa said, "We want to say thank you to Steve Noviello and the FOX4 News Team because without you this would not have happened."
 
Now, the family of five can get back to enjoying the ride.
 
Mellissa said "Thank you FOX4! Thank you!"
 
Turns out Mellissa wasn't alone. Seven other vehicles bought within the last 30 days suffered hail damage on the lot at CarMax during that same storm.  The company tells me they're buying back all of those cars too and those customers will be making a new purchase at CarMax.

 

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