Imagine you purchased a used car and later found out the mileage is short by nearly 30,000 miles. What would you do?
A Puyallup couple, Marisa and Mike Maack, purchased a 2002 Volvo, which they thought would be the perfect car for their daughter.
“It’s safe. It’s reliable. It’s got low mileage. It’s a nice car,” said Mike.
The car cost the couple $4,000 and had a low mileage of 96,000 miles.
After driving the car home, the couple says they found an invoice from an auction.
“I opened up the compartment between the driver and passenger seat, found the invoice from the auction that they purchased it for $400, and what stood out the most, was the mileage,” said Mike.
On the auction document, the mileage for the 2002 Volvo was listed, as 122,000 miles instead of 96,000 miles.
“Oh, I was totally upset. I felt like I had just gotten ripped off, you know,” said Marissa.
Mike went back to the dealer at Emerald Motors in Puyallup and demanded a refund from the owner, Tim Hansen.
Instead of offering the couple a refund, Hanson offered them a deal, according Mike.
“He’s offering to sell the car for me, and if I put the car on his lot he’ll sell it for me and get my money back that way,” said Mike.
After several conversations with the dealership and no refund in sight, Marissa called me.
I then contacted Brad Benfield from the Department of Licensing. He said vehicles 10 years or older are exempt from mileage reporting requirements and people should use vehicle history reports before buying.
“There are several. CarFax is the big one. That’s kind of the easiest way to look into a vehicle’s history, and verify the mileage,” said Benfield.
Washington state and Carfax say the last known mileage of the car was 121,000 miles in 2015. I also called the auction house and the owner told me the mileage on the receipt read 121,000 when the car first came in.
I then decided to visit Emerald Motors in Puyallup, and Hansen told me the car had been purchased without his consent at the auction. He was selling the Volvo on a consignment and had no mileage on the disclosure statement. Hanson says he didn’t run a Carfax report because he doesn’t believe in the company and has followed the law and done nothing wrong.
“I just want my money back. That’s it. Just take the car, I’ll sell it to him for $4,000. Then we’ll be good. I want cash. No check,” said Mike.
The day after I left the car dealership, Hanson called the Maacks and they received the full $4,000 refund.
“Four thousand dollars, and as soon as he started counting it out, I said, It’s painful isn’t it?’” said Mike.
We’re still trying to find out how the car got to 96, 000 miles from 122,000 miles. The Department of Licensing is doing its own investigation into this case.
It’s important to do your research on a car before buying by collecting the auto history report and have a mechanic inspect any car before you buy it.