CBS4 Problem Solvers looks into used car woes after grandmother’s emotional case

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases many of us make, and it can also be the most frustrating, especially in one Indianapolis grandmother's case.

CBS4 Problem Solvers has noticed a high volume of calls to our hotline regarding used cars. Myrinah Turner recently called us because was hoping to get help with her 2004 Ford Expedition, which mechanics told her needs a major engine repair.

"When it starts up, you can hear it around the whole neighborhood," Turner said.

Turner bought the car at Carsmart, a used car lot on Madison Ave. She said that after the car started making a loud noise, she made a deal with a salesman to take it to a dealer for a quote, then she was supposed to work with the lot to arrange payment. After she got the quote, though, Turner said the salesman disappeared.

"It's like it's a ghost place," Turner said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers wanted to help Turner get in touch with the company, but that proved difficult. After leaving several messages, we visited the business twice. The first time, a woman inside took a business card and said someone would call back. The second time, the business was closed in the middle of the day with a sign on the door that said, "Coming soon: A-Z Towing & Storage" on it.

"I don't want (any) trouble and I just, I thought we had a relationship, and we don't have anything," Turner said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers found documents through the Indiana Secretary of State's Office, which show Carsmart voluntarily closed in January, before Turner's issue. A month after closing, the company filed paperwork under a new registered agent.

Instead of a call back, CBS4 Problem Solvers received text messages from someone from Carsmart, who identified himself only by his first name. He claimed Turner and a family member threatened employees, so Carsmart cut off communication. Turner denied that claim.

The person pointed out that Turner bought the car "as is," which is true. Turner signed a contract more than a year ago, which lists the car "as is" with no warranty. A handwritten note on the document lists only a three month, or 3,000 mile, plan for coverage.

"Those words, 'as is,' are very, very important," said Central Indiana Better Business Bureau CEO Tim Maniscalo.

Maniscalo said before you buy a used car, you need to see if you're buying it "as is," because that means you are responsible for all repairs.

"Understand that you are basically assuming the condition of that car and if something goes wrong with that car, the dealer is really not liable for it at that point," Maniscalo said.

Turner said that while she understood, she thought the company was willing to work with her to get some extra help.

"He could be honest and say, 'No, I’m not going to do anything.' That would make me feel better," Turner said.

If you have a problem with a used car, you can file a complaint with the Secretary of State, or look into a dealer's status, by going to the link here.

CBS4 Problem Solvers can be reached at (317) 677-1544 or ProblemSolvers@cbs4indy.com.

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