Popular car buying website agrees to refund Peoria man, take back vehicle

PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Steve Smith can sit in his car and listen to music. Or he can rev up the engine. But unfortunately, Smith is unable to drive the car that he recently purchased legally. “Yeah, vroom vroom!” Smith joked as he was revving the engine. “I just can’t go anywhere.”

Smith purchased the 2019 Toyota from a car buying website called Vroom. You’ve probably seen their commercials. He bought his vehicle from the car-buying website Vroom way back in October of last year. But six months later, he’s still stuck with expired paper plates on the back of the car.

“Why does your car have paper plates?” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I’ve just been waiting. I never got anything back from them (Vroom). I’ve been waiting on the paperwork from them showing the sale of the car.”

According to Smith, Vroom never sent him any documentation to register his car with Arizona’s MVD. And since he can’t register the car, he can’t get insurance for it either. So, his Toyota sits in front of his home, unable to be legally driven. “Man, I’m confused, I’m lost, I’m scared. I’m stressed out, man. I’m so stressed,” he said.

To make matters worse, Smith has made every monthly payment on a car he can’t legally drive. Smith says when he contacts Vroom, they don’t even know he has the car.

“The first thing the guy said was, ‘You have that car?’” Smith remembers the Vroom representative saying. “Like you weren’t supposed to have it?” Harper asked. “Yeah, right, exactly,” Smith said. He said, ‘Well, we thought this car was on the lot. I said I’ve been making payments on this car. Who have I been making payments to? Now I’m worried about my money.”

So, 3 On Your Side got involved. Considering the circumstances, we asked if Vroom would consider taking back the Toyota, returning Smith’s down payment, and refunding him for all the car payments he’s made — and they did. A Vroom spokesman emailed me saying, “We regret any customer not having the positive experience Vroom strives to deliver.”

The email says the vehicle can be returned and that a refund for his down payment and all car payments that were made will resolve the issue.

Smith says that’s great news because making payments on a car he can’t drive isn’t right. “It’s just sad. I have never been through this before. I’ve bought cars all my life and never had something like this happen.”

Vroom was very responsive to 3 On Your Side, and the speedy resolution is appreciated. When the car is picked up, and Smith receives his refund check, 3 On Your Side will let you know in a follow-up report.