I am coming to you today, totally disgusted. I have a client whose car was totaled, in a car wreck. The car was towed to a wrecker lot because it was not drivable. As required by law, a representative from the wrecker lot contacted the lien holder. What happened next was just unbelievable.
A. Client's credit damaged by actions of Car in a Box lien holder.
Instead of contacting my client, their customer, the car in a box lien holder picked up the vehicle, directly from the wrecker lot, put my client's account in repossession status (even though my client had payments automatically deducted from his bank account) and then, as icing on the cake, since the car was totaled and the liability carrier paid less than what was owed (Texas only requires payment of fair market value on a totaled vehicle), they put the account in charge back status.
Thankfully, my client made the incredibly wise choice of purchasing GAP coverage, when he bought the car, and we are working to get the "gap" covered, and at that point, if the entire note is paid off, the lien holder will then remove the "charge off" status on the account, from my client's credit. Now, because of this lien holder, my client's credit has taken not one, but two hits.
B. Background on Car Purchase
Now, for a little background, my client bought his car from a car in a box business. I thought this was a great idea because it forgoes the entire "in person" car buying experience and that is one process I would avoid, if I could. I like getting a new car, but I do not like all of the gyrations that are required to get one, at the dealership, in a live, person to person transaction. After the experience my client had and apparently, many other car in a box customers had, I think the in person dealership gyrations might be the best route.
C. Car in a Box Insane Contractual Clauses
When I contacted the Car in a Box lien holder, to find out why they took my client's car, without contacting him, the Car in a Box representative told me there was a clause in the contract that required my client to contact the lien holder if the car was not in his possession. That clause also said, if the customer (my client) did not contact the lien holder, regarding the "new location" of the car, my client was in default of the contract. I asked the Car in a Box representative what they were doing to help my client, their customer, in this situation. She said taking the car was in the customer's best interest, to avoid the car being sold at an auction. I asked her how it was in the customer's best interest to take their car, as opposed to contacting the customer to find out what was going on and why the car was a wrecker lot. She had no answer for that. Every response that the Car in a Box lien holder representative gave me was to the benefit of the lien holder and detriment of the customer (my client).
D. Other Car in a Box Horror Stories
After a search on reddit.com, I found the following horror stories. One Car in a Box customer stated " (Car in Box company) changed my contract!!! AFTER I SIGNED IT!! Thankfully, I have a signed copy of the pdf on my desk which I saved the day I made the purchase."
Another Car in a Box customer noted, regarding his contract, "Mine changed seven times before delivery. I saved the pdf file each time."
Another Car in a Box customer, regarding his experience with the Car in a Box company, "Still waiting on a title for a vehicle I bought 6 months ago. Filed a BBB complaint and now they’re saying 6-10 weeks."
One customer, who just wanted to get his car, noted, "This is exactly what happened to me except after the third time of delay we called to make sure it was getting delivered and they said they didn’t have the car anymore because they sold it to a different customer."
This Car in a Box customer, explained his less than satisfactory experience, "It took 8-9 weeks for mine to pop up finally. Horrible experience trying to buy over all. It just showed up with unexpected damage to the steering column I now have to take time out of my schedule to get repaired. Disgusted."
One last horror story, reported on consumeraffairs.com…"Never in my life have I encountered a worse experience dealing with customer service issues…I have tried to call them on the phone during regular business hours during the week and been on hold for over three hours before I lost connection. Every time I reach out to them on web chat the bot responds and says they are finding a human associate. It takes anywhere from 45 minutes or more for such a human to show up. By which time I am away from my computer or working on something else and I miss the few minute window where they say "sorry we haven't heard anything from you so are dropping from the chat".
Every time they say they are bogged down and will respond via text it is literally 45 minutes to HOURS between my text requests and any response. This is in between each exchange of them asking me something and me responding. The last time I tried this they said they would have someone get back to me and days later still nothing. What's more annoying is that I would happily take email customer support given the horrifically slow response times. But this is never offered so support issues get dropped and left unresolved rather than slowly continuing."
E. Car in a Box Employees…what do they have to say?
One previous Car in a Box employee stated that "a large reason why I resigned from the position was because…they hired 30 people, a week, and NO ONE received adequate training. Lack of communication was rampant, leading to field advocates coming unprepared, sometimes, not even knowing that along with dropping off a vehicle, they are supposed to pick one up as well. Customers have negative experiences because Car in a Box employees are rushed through training and improperly equipped to take care of the customers."
As I started this article…Buyer Beware. There were MANY MORE complaints and horror stories, on-line, but I just noted some of the worse. One of the Car in a Box companies has 1,477 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. Buying a car is a HUGE investment and also something you do to protect and provide for your family. The next time you need a new car, make sure to think before you act. Read reviews of the business where you are going to buy the car, especially, when it comes to how things were handled AFTER the purchase. Stay safe (even from dangerous contracts and poor customer service)!