Terron Cook said he fell in love with his new vehicle when he first saw it on the lot at the Carmax store in Kearny Mesa.
“I probably searched for the [Toyota] Venza for eight months,” he said.
The 2011 Toyota Venza was a used vehicle with little over 60,000 miles on the odometer.
“The price was decent and the test drive went well,” Terron said.
He bought the Venza for around $16,000 but shortly after the purchase, Terron said he noticed a problem.
“There was an issue with the tires, something didn’t seem stable with the axle,” he said.
Terron took his vehicle to Carmax. The store kept it in their repair shop for almost two weeks but when they couldn’t fix the vehicle, they told Terron to take it to a local Toyota dealership that had previously serviced it.
That’s where Terron said he had an eye-opening conversation with the technician.
“He says the mileage is extremely inconsistent,” Terron said.
Terron said the technician gave him a repair history report and the odometer readings taken every time the Toyota dealership worked on the car.
“It showed the odometer reading 101,872 miles in August of 2016...when I bought it, it showed 60,819 miles,” Terron said. A difference of nearly 40,000 miles.
To see a page from the service history report, click here.
After learning this Terron turned to NBC 7 Responds for help.
After NBC 7 Responds spoke with Carmax and Terron, the Venza was taken to a third-party auto shop to check the vehicle’s computer system. NBC 7 Responds was there when it was checked but the auto shop couldn’t confirm the odometer was rolled back. Experts told NBC 7 Responds clues of an odometer rollback are nearly impossible to discover by checking a vehicle’s engine codes.
So, NBC 7 Responds dug a little deeper and obtained a CarFax report on the vehicle. The report showed three owners of the vehicle, including Terron. From 2014 to 2016, the CarFax report showed the car drove 7,000 miles. Toyota’s service history report contradicts this information, showing the car drove 50,000 miles in that two-year time period.
“Given the fact that I don’t know what type of vehicle I’m really driving, I would like for them to take the vehicle back and just reimburse me,” Terron said.
NBC 7 Responds went back to Carmax and the company agreed to buy back the Venza they sold Terron and refund his deposit and car payments he had made up to that point, a total of more than $1,900.
“While I was extremely frustrated, I’m glad that I was at least made whole,” Terron said.
NBC 7 Responds cannot confirm the odometer was rolled back. Terron said he is thankful Carmax bought his car back but said if it wasn’t for the Toyota dealership technician being honest with him, he would have never known what was really going on under the hood of his new car.
Jennifer Bartusiak, a spokesperson for Carmax told NBC 7 Responds, “Customer satisfaction is CarMax’s top priority. At CarMax, honesty, integrity, and fairness are fundamental in the way we treat our customers. Although we were unable to verify Mr. Cook’s odometer discrepancy claim, in line with CarMax’s goal to deliver outstanding customer service, we have purchased the vehicle back and reimbursed Mr. Cook for all associated costs. We have paid off the lien, returned Mr. Cook’s down payment, and reimbursed him for any payments made to date and any documented out-of-pocket repair expenses.”
Terron reported the odometer discrepancy to the San Diego City Attorney’s office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA asks all motorists to report to them any cases of odometer discrepancies, even if you just suspect it.
To learn how to report discrepancies or more about your rights as a motorist facing a possible odometer discrepancy, click here.