On April 14th, 2007 I attended an auto auction at City Auto Auction of Chicago, Inc. Upon arrival, I asked several people in the first building that I came to where I could register for the auction, and where I could view cars for auction. No body had any idea what I was talking about and ushered me into a second building. This where cars were being driven through for auction. I observed a Pontiac Gran Prix come through the auction. I attempted to look inside as it was being auctioned, but was ushered some distance back, so that I could not get a close look at the vehicle. It should also be noted that the car was hosed down with water, and I was not able to get a good look at the paint. I asked one of the ushers if this car would make it back to Wisconsin, and he said in broken english, “…yes, a good car. Will take you anywhere.” Bidding began at $3000, with no bids. The auctioneer then began lowering the opening bid. He reached $1800, and I placed a bid and won the car. The car was then driven through an over head door, and was not to be seen until later. I asked to look at the car, but was told that I can not do that, and that I had to pay a deposit of $600 US dollars. I told the second gentleman that I wanted to look at the car before paying and was told that I could not do this. I was ushered into another room, located behind the selling arena. I then met with another gentleman who took my money. He then told me that I did not have a buyers paper, and that I would have to go back into the first building to register. I asked to have my $600 returned to me until I registered and looked at the car and was told that this would not happen. I asked why and he said “that’s just the way it’s done.” I returned to the main building and registered. I was given a “buyers paddel” with a serial number of 46375. I then went back into the “office room” in the selling arena and gave the paddle to the gentleman taking the deposit. After writing down several numbers, he then returned the paddle and ushered me into the selling arena. Upon my exit, I again asked to see the car, and was told that I could not see the car until I picked it up. Not being satisfied with this response and feeling that something was not right, I went back into the first building and asked to speak with some one in charge. Another gentleman approached me, identified himself as an off duty police officer and asked what he could do to help. I then explained all that had happened. He said that this is how things were done here, and that I would have to wait until after the auction ended. It should be noted that the speakers for the auctioneer were very loud and drowned out the sound of the vehicle’s engine. One could not tell if exhaust was loud, or an engine may have had knocking issues. After the last vehicle had left the building, the auction staff asked that everyone get into a single file line with the paperwork that had been given to them. As people passed one of the staff members (a tall gentleman with a thick, heavy Russian type accent)they were told of how long it would be for them to get their car. I was at what I surmised to be the middle of the line and was told that I would get my car in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Approximately 1 1/2 hours later, I was called back into the main building and was asked to pay for the car. It was at that point that I was told that I would have to pay more for the car than the bid. I was told that I would have to pay and additional $432 usd for a buyer premium, an additional $99 usd for an auction fee, and an additional $55 as a DOC fee. This translates to an additional 32.5% more for the car than the $1800 bid. A car that is bid $1800 actually costs the bidders $2401. This is unacceptable. After paying for the car and signing more paperwork so that I could take possession of the vehicle, I was told that the title would be mailed to me in seven days. I asked what the mileage of the vehicle was, and he said that he did not know, and that I would have to wait to get the car to find that out. I was then told to go all the way to the front gate so that I could pick up my car. What happened next was a total shock and let down. I was finally able to see the car. The car had over 191,000 miles on it, a torn headliner, switches for the power windows that did not work, a switch for the sun roof that did not work, a switch for the power mirror that did not work, and a yellow towel that was stuffed between the sunroof and headliner. Further, there was no radio face plate to operate the aftermarket radio, a broken hood cable (I was not able to get into the engine area), a low fluid light for the wiper fluid, and a low engine coolant light. The vehicle also had an exhaust leak that was now noticeable. the tan interior was work, and the tires were mismatched in size and variety. I did find a tire and OEM rim in the trunk. Upon taking the vehicle onto the road way, there was a VERY loud clunk sound that came from the right front tire area that sounded of metal on metal as if a strut had been collapsed or a suspension spring was broke. The steering pulled to the right. At about 1/4 mile from Dixie Highway, (about 3 miles from the auto auction) every light came on from the dash, and the car began to run VERY rough. I decided to pull into a gas station at the intersection of Dixie Highway and 147th street. Upon exiting the vehicle, I found there to be a very strong stench of coolant coming from the vehicle. I was not able to get the hood open as the cable was broken. At that moment, I decided to take the vehicle back to City Auto Auction. Upon arrival, I again was met by the man who identified himself as a police officer. He refused to give his name, or what department he worked for. I informed him of the problem that I had and said that there was no way that this vehicle would make it back to Wisconsin, and that it barely made four miles. The officer then summoned the Russian accented gentleman. This man said that (in short terms) that this was my problem, that I bought the vehicle as is, and that if I wanted anything that I would have to call a gentleman whom he identified as the manager on Monday after 8 am at tel. 708-596-2277. I then informed him that I needed a vehicle and that if he had another more reliable vehicle, I would be happy to be on my way. He said that he did not, and could not authorize this. I then said that I wanted my money back in full, less the DOC fee, as a good wil gesture. He said that he could not do this either. I then asked him that if he had the authority to sell the cars, then why did he not have the authority to fix a problem? He walked away from me, and I said that I was not through asking him questions, and that I was going to leave the car on the premises as I was not going to be able to leave it there. He returned and said that I would have to leave it in the Metra lot across the street, as anything that was left in the lot was going to be towed. I then asked him to take charge of the keys and leave the car inside the fenced in area. He said that he could not do this, and the car was my responsibility. I then told him that his car was not safe for the road, let alone the Metra lot. I was then ushered out of the office area. Through my time in the office, I maintained a cool and collected attititude without raising my voice to high levels. Before leaving the building, I picked up my cell phone, asked for information, and then contacted the Harvey Police Department and asked for an officer so that I could file a complaint. I had done this while in the office area, and the Russian gentleman said that I could forget about any kind of refund on Monday if this is how I was going to be. I continued my phone call. After about a four minute wait, a uniformed Harvey police officer arrived and listened to my story. Officer J. Rizzi had indicated that the issue was a civil matter, and that if I wanted any kind of response that I was to contact the State Of Illinois Secretary of State’s Police, as well as file a lawsuit. I asked him if he would accompany me back to the office area and he agreed. The officer was kind and sincere during our interaction. Upon coming near the pedestrian gate area of the Action Company, we were met by the man who identified himself as a police officer. I asked if he was a sworn officer, and he indicated that he was. He did state that he was not going to tell me were he was an officer with, or his name. But that if the uniformed officer wanted to pursue his ID, that he could. Officer Rizzi did not pursue this. He further stated that I would have to wait until Monday, but that I could park the car in the front area along the gate as long as I did not block the fence. I agreed that I would do this. Officer Rizzi then went with me back to the area of his patrol car. Officer Rizzi (HPD) had indicated that no city officer was to work during off time at this company, and that he thought that he recognized the other man as a county officer/deputy. I then parked the car along the fence, put the keys into the center console, and locked the doors. It should be also noted that I came to this auction with my girlfriend, but that she did not hear any of the conversation as she was not allowed to be in any of the rooms that I was in as it was the policy of City Auto Auction not to have more than one person there. (ie buyer and friend) I then left with my girlfriend and headed back to Wisconsin. Here is what I lost: As far as economic losses, I have lost a days wages, (appox $250) tolls (approx $12 usd), fuel (approx $60), and the cost of the car. That cost of the car being a total of $2401 usd. The total appoximate losses that I have incurred is about $2723 US Dollars. I would be most happy to see this returned to me, and to NEVER have ANY dealings with City Auto Auction of Chicago again! Peter Milton, WisconsinU.S.A.
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