Well, this sucks.
Even if you’re not a particularly huge gearhead, odds are you have that one dream car you’d like to own. One car you might be saving up for, or maybe you’re at that point and you want to drop a fat stack of cash on what is your dream car. Even just buying ordinary cars, though, we’ve all suffered through the pain that is slogging over to the dealership and spending hours upon hours on paperwork. Sites like Vroom.com claim to alleviate that experience. You get a free Carfax history report so you know if the car’s had a clean history. A “no haggle, no hassles” approach negates that dreaded experience dealing with salesman, and their team arranges to deliver the car right to your door. Sounds easy, right? Or, at least it’s supposed to be.
Earlier this month, we happened upon a sweet-looking 2015 BMW i8 with just 7,800 miles on the clock. At just under $63,000 (before the inevitable fees), Vroom.com had this car listed for a relatively good price against some of this i8’s contemporaries. Everything looked good, so Roman pulled the trigger and secured the car with a $500 deposit, followed by a large $63,000-and-change check FedEx’ed to their accounts receivable department in Houston, Texas. From there, as he and Tommy lay out in the video below, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong…
What happened? Here’s the story so far
In short (in case you don’t have time to watch the video below), here’s what happened. Roman signed the paperwork for the company to buy the BMW i8, the check arrived at Vroom’s office, then someone on their team proceeded to lose the check. After a frustrating runaround in which their accounting department and customer service “escalation” team said they had the money, then they didn’t have the check, then they had the check but somehow still didn’t cash it and receive the funds, we’re currently stuck in limbo.
Instead of handling the purchase through a direct wire transfer (where the money would be gone forever), we instead opted to mail a cashier’s check in the event we needed to stop payment on it, for whatever reason. Mind you, the check arrived at their office on February 10, before the recent winter storms that have plagued Texas, and Houston in particular. They’ve confirmed they have the check (somewhere), but haven’t processed the funds. And obviously, the car is not currently en route to our office until the situation gets resolved.
You can find out more details in the video below, but at time of writing (February 18) Vroom.com has failed to address the issue. So, take this as a cautionary tale if you were car-shopping on the platform, as you do lose some security in taking the transaction completely online, bypassing a physical dealer-customer transaction.
We aren’t the only ones who hit problems…
After we published the video earlier today, several of you either commented or sent us an email outlining your own issues. Here’s one of the latest we received:
Another person reached out a bit earlier to outline their experience working at Vroom rival Carvana:
Losing a check is an understandable human error. Goodness knows we all make plenty of mistakes. However, so far we haven’t seen much in the way of accountability. By that, I mean both apologizing (which certain people have done, to be fair) and aggressively trying to sort the problem while constantly keeping us in the loop. Hopefully those of you who have bought cars online have had better experiences — let us know whether you’ve had positive or negative purchases in the comments below.