Carvana issues apology, compensation to Maine woman over broken car

Online retailer Carvana has issued an apology to a customer in Maine after selling her a car that broke down. The company also mailed the buyer a check to compensate her for the ordeal, which sent her 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan to an impound lot after a mechanical issue.

Lauryn Smith, a 43-year-old resident of Portland, Maine, purchased the crossover from Carvana in July 2022, according to the Boston Globe. She asked to cancel the sale after discovering unspecified problems. Carvana allows buyers to return their car within a seven-day period, so the company granted Smith's request, and it also let her continue to drive the Tiguan until a replacement Golf arrived.

The situation took a turn for the worse when the Tiguan died at a gas station while Smith was running errands. Carvana asked her to leave it there and explained that it would send someone to pick it up. She followed instructions, but no one came for the Tiguan and the gas station's owner eventually had it towed away. It ended up in an impound lot and Smith was later told that getting it out would cost $1,700.

Smith argued that Carvana should pay the fees because it didn't pick up the Tiguan; Carvana replied it would pay up to $500 and that Smith needed to pay the rest, and it reportedly warned that her credit could be "severely damaged" if she didn't because the Tiguan might be repossessed. Smith paid but didn't drop the matter, and her story gained national attention when it appeared in the Boston Globe.

Carvana ultimately apologized to Smith and sent her a $2,000 check; $1,700 of that amount corresponds to the cost of getting the car out of the impound lot while $300 is compensation for the "headaches" that the situation caused her, the Boston Globe reports.

"I'm happy Carvana has stepped up to take responsibility. But the reason I shared this with the Globe wasn't only about me. I worry that other people get treated badly all the time and I wanted to show them there's a way to fight back," Smith explained.

The publication adds that Smith is now looking to lease a car from a Portland-area dealership.

"We care deeply about the experiences of every one of our customers, and we worked closely with Ms. Smith to resolve this issue as we are committed to ensuring that in the rare cases where we don't initially live up to our brand promise, we work to make it right," Carvana wrote.

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