Saturday, June 06, 2009

Do not buy from Southern California Auto Sales of Fullerton

Since it's Saturday I'm going to break my self-imposed rule. I try hard to make this about only movies or teaching, and I really really try to stay on movies and screenwriting with minimal posts about teaching. But today, I must stray from my mission because when something like this happens you can't ignore the fact that you've got a public forum in which to express your grievances.

In February the Beefcake decided to buy a new car because at the time he drove a piece of shit sedan he had beaten into the ground over years of doing a job that involved driving all over LA and its surrounding areas, a job he has replaced with one close to home. Since he teaches a free workout class in a park every Saturday morning he wanted and SUV in which to load all his workout gadgets, and since we're both fans of the Earth and its accouterments, he decided to buy a hybrid SUV.

Don't give me any lectures about the batteries. I researched. They recycle them now.

There are 4 hybrid SUVs on the market, the most affordable and easy to find being the hybrid Ford Escape. I did some research. I found one with 50,000 miles on it at Southern California Auto Sales, which is based in Santa Ana but has a location in Fullerton on Euclid Street.

Allow me to repeat, in case anyone is interested in buying a car at Southern California Auto Sales in Fullerton, that's where it is. On Euclid Street.

The Beefcake bought the car and we drove away, happy as Larry. He loved it. Leg room, space for his weight lifting gadgets, a quiet little engine. He donated his old car to Goodwill, which was able to get over $2 grand for it. So in one fell swoop he helped out some poor people and got an Earth friendly vehicle.

And he payed the price.

Last week the engine began making a knocking sound. At first we didn't know if anything was wrong because it has a hybrid engine, and does anyone really know what that sounds like when things go bad? So finally Saturday the knocking got worse so he took it to the Ford dealership. Because it's a Ford and there are still no hybrid mechanics in town.

So kids, if you're looking for an up and coming job, we are in need of hybrid mechanics. Every mechanic I talked to was sorry they couldn't help an appalled that the dealer wouldn't.

The Ford mechanic said The Beefcake needs a new engine. A brand new $5,000 engine. For his four-year-old car with 50,000 miles on it that he just bought in February.

Southern California Auto Sales in Fullerton told him he was "110 percent responsible" for the engine and that he should have gotten the extended warranty. They said they changed the oil, but how were they supposed to know it had an engine problem?

He called Ford. They agreed that it's a shitty situation, but they can do nothing.

He's calling the attorney general's office and writing to Ford and doing a few other things, including considering small claims court because a close family member is a corporate attorney, but in the end he may have to fork out $5 grand for a new engine for his three-month old Ford Escape Hybrid.

We were going to buy a house this year. We've been saving and saving and I've been pulling myself out of debt so we could buy a house in time to beat the cutoff for the tax credit. This was enough of a dent in our savings that it has seriously affected our housing search.

Southern California Auto Sales of Fullerton nearly cost me a house.

So if by any chance you ever consider buying your car there, don't. They have no problem selling you a lemon and then telling you to fuck off when you ask them to pay for the damaged goods.


  1. shitty. I don't live in So-Cal, but I would boycott them if I did.

  2. I searched Southern California Auto Sales of Fullerton and yours was the 10th link - still on the first Google group.

    Good to know the blogs have a bit of power. We'll see when these brick and mortars start to realize it.

  3. Well that is good to know. Maybe I'll do some good here today.

  4. thanks for the info, was just researching a car there, and caught your blog. Won't even head down that way. BTW- do you know if the same owner also opened Fullerton Auto?

    Good luck, and thnks for the updates!

  5. Glad I could help!

    I don't know for sure if it's owned by the same guy, but it is a pretty small lot and they are affiliated with Southern California Auto of Santa Ana, so it's probably not the same people.

    I hope you get a nice car.

  6. Anonymous2:08 AM

    Thanks for the interesting blog post.

    I live in San Diego, and this dealer has a car that I really want at a great price. I was contemplating making the trip north.

    You just saved me a trip, and now I'll just wait until one comes around down here.

    Their cheapness on Beefcake's engine issues just cost them a $20,000 sale.

  7. Thanks for telling me!

    We have yet to get anything out of them so this make it sting a little less.

  8. I am a little bummed, I was about to head out of the house to look at a car that they have (and one that I want). But, your crappy situation has convinced me otherwise.

  9. Sorry. You're probably better off in the long run. We're still dealing with them months later, to no satisfaction.

  10. Anonymous10:54 PM

    I was actually researching there website and was a bit taken by their lower than average prices compared to other dealerships. The carfax reporting seemed to qualm some fears but I am now a bit skeptical since I pictured a situation like yours arising from these too good to be true deals. I am seriously going to take into consideration your experience. thanks for the post.

  11. Anonymous12:57 PM

    I bought a 2007 350z from them July 5 2009, and as I was driving home my check engine went on, my TPMS sensor went on, my passenger airbag light turned on saying the the passenger side airbag is inoperable, and today at a dealership I was just told that my side door had bondo inside of my left side door meaning that it was in a crash with at least side impact damage. I noticed this because my paint was already starting to bubble up (on a 2007!!! that is garaged and only driven on weekends!!). The first things I was able to tolerate.. but now this?! Before I purchased the car I had asked if it had been in any accidents, and they said no and pulled a carfax report that said that the car was clean. I am going to pursue legal action to see what can happen. I hear that they must offer to repair if not give a full refund. BS, we will see about that.

    Matt S.

  12. Wow. So it's not just us, then. I'm not surprised, but it just sucks that they are allowed to continue doing business.

    Make sure to complain with the better business bureau. Maybe if they get enough complaints someone will notice.

  13. I forgot to mention that I might have a decent case against them. Before I bought my Z I went in all the way from san diego to look at it. Online it was advertised as a Grand Touring (about 2,000-5,000 more than the base model) and went I went their I noticed that my seats weren't leather, I had no cruise control, and I had nothing that came on the grand touring. I then researched the VIN further, and noticed that It was just a base model! I didn't really care too much because I was still in love with the car, and I bought it anyway. This should have been a red flag, but impulses cause people not to think straight. Another funny thing is that they asked me to go home and have my father sign the lease documents because I didn't qualify for the financing the car. No one from that dealership witnessed my dad sign the finance/car buying documents. If I decide to pursue a claim against them from that angle, me and my father might get in trouble though, but I'm pretty sure that would do some pretty critial damage to their business.


  14. Good luck. Let me know if you accomplish anything.

  15. Anonymous8:12 AM

    i bought a 2007 nissan altima 2.5 S on May 1st, 2009 and the very same night i drove it home i had breaking noise problems. I went back the next day and told them about it and their own shitty mechanic who doesnt really know shit said the car needs new brakes! They had me goin back and forth so they could put new ones it took about two weeks so they could put new breaks. Then when i picked up my car it was still making that loud ass breaking noise, so i had to *** go back so they could find the problem. Their shity mechanic couldnt find the problem so i took it to nissan on my own and they told me the car needed new calipers!! (over $1000 to repair )and that the car had been in an accident!! I was so mad cuz i specifically asked the sales person if the car was clean or if had been in any accidents and he said no all the three times i asked him and i have three witnesses that were there with me!!! I took it back to auto sales of fullerton and they took it to buena park nissan cuz they have a hook up buddy over there and the manager at auto sales told me they paid the total repair cost of over $1000 which was bull*** cus then i found out there hook up buddy made nissan pay for it somehow!! Well all this took about 1 1/2 months to resolve! Then right after that i got off the freeway one day and the car was spilling transmission oil like crazy!! One of the transmission to radiator hoses bursted due to rubbing against something in the engine because those hoses were improperly installed!!!!!! So my car's transmission was dead and gone and it costs $4,400 for a new one!( and nissan said it needs a new one)!! So pretty much i purchased a car from southern california auto sales on may 1st,2009 and two months later the transmission died around july 22,2009!theres alot more to this story but ima get some rest now, got me tired jus thinking about all this!! Im sueing them on small claim and court date is on December 7th,2009!
    wish everybody that got screwed by this peace of ** delearship came to court with me!!

  16. That's ridiculous. It's amazing that they're still doing business.

  17. I finally saved 14K to purchase a car cash. I live in Arizona and was planning on traveling to this dealership to buy a car this weekend. I even ordered cashier's checks from my bank. (thank god I did not order them in the dealerships name) I really don't think I will be doing business with them. At first when I read your post I thought ok, she had a bad expirence but then all the others who shared similar stories?? And I was looking at a 2007 Altima too! Thanks for posting this, I know you did not have much to gain but u sure did save me from a big headache down the road Angela

  18. I wish I'd researched this place before we went there, so you were smarter than me. I hope you find a great car.

  19. Anonymous3:30 PM

    As i'm reading all these awful comments about SC Auto Sales in Fullerton i can't help but think how wonderful they were at the Stanton Location. They were all so helpfull and went out of there way to please me. I bought a 2008 Altima coupe and i havent stopped smiling since i purchased the vehicle. I flew in from Maine and drove the vehicle back with my 3 year old daughter. everyone from the managers to the salesman to the service people were dandy. Overall my experience at Southern California Auto Sales in Stanton was OVERALL AMAZING!! There all a bunch of cool guys and made me feel comfortable with no pressure to purchase the vehicle even though i needed to or i was walking back to maine. I'm sorry for all of your problems guys, but keep in mind they are USED vehicles and they do come with some problems.good luck ladies and gentlemen.

  20. That's great that your location was good. Clearly it's just this particular location in Fullerton that is so poorly run. These are used cars indeed - that doesn't mean they should break down as soon as they drive off the lot.

  21. Anonymous5:53 AM

    THANKS SO MUCHHH!!! I think it's really unfortunate and i feel really bad for your crappy ordeal with this ripoff dealership but I think you've really helped to save a lot of people from getting ripped off as well! I just read all the comments you and everyone else had on SC autos and it's really appalling that they are still in business. I too was coaxed in by a "too good to be true" deal, but after all the poor reviews I've read I'm definitely taking my business elsewhere. Also I hope the worst comes to them for being such poor business people. Thanks again so much and good luck with everything!

  22. Anonymous10:38 PM

    BE AWARE of anonymous from maine who went to the stanton location with his daughter!!!sounds fishy that some one would spend a thousand dollars in plane tickets and gas to come get a ten thousand dollar car. sounds like a person who works there and needs some business. thats just my thoughts.

  23. I am their newest victim. I purchased a 2007 Jeep Liberty this weekend. I was dumb so I will admit that before I tell you anymore. I took the car for a ride with some kid who was playing with his cell phone the whole drive. The wind started coming into the car on the freeway. I asked him about it and he rolled down the window. This should have been my first clue. Then my husband drove it and we said if they could if the window then we would take it. We signed the contract and paid 1/2 the money. They told us to pick up the car in three days. I should have told them I needed to take it to an Auto Club mechanic to do a car overview before I bought it. Well, I went back today with my two little kids and paid the rest of the money then took it to get inspected. They basically told me I purchased a car that was in a wreck and had a bad patch job, which is why the wind was coming in. So I went back and asked for my money back. They said I was over the two day return and that I had to pay 750 dollars to restock the stupid car that I had for an hour and a half. They offered to repair it after heated words were exchanged by me. At first I was going to take the offer but then decided to eat the money and file a complaint with the BBB and small claims court. I feel so cheated and stupid. Now I am out the money and we can't get a car until we save up again. Never be in a hurry.

  24. I'm so sorry that happened to you. Those guys are scam artists. Good luck getting something out of them.

  25. Cynthiaaaa2:09 PM

    wow.. the FULLERTON office sounds really bad period even with the few reviews it got on YELP. I can totally vouch for the STANTON office. I just bought my car 3 weeks ago. I brought the car back two days later, with winding noise, comign to find out that the car was known to have problems from the manufactureer itself. I brought it to their attn because my fiance is a master mechanic. durign the test drive, we were listening ot the radio and taling at the smae time didn't catch the winding noise. the winding noise cannot be made overnight by the way. SC Auto Sales in Stanton agreed to replace it at first thru their mechanic, but then it was a big job and i used my fiance's shop account at Nissan in Huntiongton Beach to get the discount for them. They took it and I got my car fixed at Nissan. so we'll see how it holds up! but overall, the STANTON officeis much different from the FUllerton location as described! talk to MAHDI!

  26. Thanks for the post. Even after a year, it's making an impact. Due to being hit in a vehicle collision last week, I'm now in the market for a car. Their (SC Auto) listings were coming up all over and had the cheapest prices. I went over to their website, which looks very professional. DAMN their prices were low. Too low for me to think that they're just a bunch of swell guys who like giving cars away. SOMETHING must be wrong. After a quick search, reading and some other reviews, including yours, I've decided to avoid them at all costs, or at the VERY LEAST tell them that I'm taking it to have a thorough inspection by a third party mechanic before I sign anything.

    Anybody know of any decent dealerships in the area? I'm having a hard time keeping in budget. haha. Thanks again, Emily.

    Hesperia, CA

  27. Anonymous1:03 AM

    I bought a 2008 honda accord in aug from the stanton location. I noticed all these comments after buying the car so i took my car for a inspection yesterday to make sure i didnt get scamed. The inspection went good except for two tires that were worn on the inside. I called them today and they offered to replace them at no charge. The honda service manager mentioned that used cars that are not certified by the dealers are a gamble because they have no warranty and the dealership may not even know if the car will have issues. And that Carfax reports are not always accurate because some owners dont report accidents to their insurance or the police. I got lucky that my car was fine and sympathize with all of you. Call the stanton manager and he might be able to help you, ask for madi. I recommend the stanton socal auto sales but everyone should inspect any used car thats not certified.

  28. Vickey7:59 PM

    Thanks, this is really very interesting blog.
    I live in San Diego, and looking for SUV this dealer has that at a attractive price. I was planning for the trip and just called this you believe the guy talking on phone don't even understand ENGLISH. That is the reason i just Google about the 'Southern California Auto Sales 1' and finally end-up seeing this blog.
    They do not deserve my 25K business, thanks to all of you, special thanks to Emily Black… wish you all good luck in you hunt. Be safe from crook like ‘'Southern California Auto Sales 1'’

  29. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Just bought my car from Southern California Auto Sales in Fullerton and it has been one of the worst experiences of my life. They promise things then they don't deliver. Then mistreat you after you have purchased the car when its making knocking sounds. Horrible experience. DONT EVER BUY YOUR CAR FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AUTO SALES!!

  30. First off I have to say all these bad experiences must suck! That's too bad.
    But, keep in mind that they are used cars. As far as the hybrid escape, ford is ultimately responsible if not the previous owner... Engine knocks can develop without any warning, no 100 pt. inspection can foresee that. If the vehicle you bought from them had been in a previous wreck how were they to know when Carfax didn't? Always be wary when buying a used vehicle no matter who you buy it from. I doubt there is a dealer in the country that would honor any of these bad situations, barring braking or safety related items within a few days of purchase. Buyer beware! Good luck car shopping

  31. I do not accept that because they sell used cars we should just accept that they will be junk. I think it's wiser not to buy from a company with such a horrible track record.

    I just hope others will learn from these experiences and avoid that place.

  32. Anonymous7:45 AM

    Thanx, I was goin 2 go check out the trail blazer ss n after I read yo post I'm takin yo word for it! Im not even takin that trip down there cuz I stay n la n the deal seemed waaay good to be true!

  33. hey! just came across your post about these assholes, wish i'd seen it before i bought my car.

    first off the dimwits on Jersey Shore could run a more professional business. the guys were dressed like they were headed out to a club. they were prank calling people, playing football(and dinging cars on the lot), just clowning around like frat boys. but still i purchased a Jetta 2.5 from them and have had nothing but problems. little things at first... the radio not working, the trunk latch not catching the first 5x i'd shut it. a leaky sunroof. shaking like a beast when idle... this was all within the first 6weeks. a little further down the road i noticed my gas mileage getting worse and worse. then it was having trouble accelerating. i finally brought it to my mechanic at Legit Auto in Hollywood(i HIGHLY reccomend them, very honest) when it started backfiring followed by the engine seizing up and then only puttering along at 15mph top speed. when they replaced the ignition coils they were so eroded and in such bad shape that they also had to replace the melted connectors and my spark plugs. i was researching VW thinking this was all there fault when 2 weeks back on the road the car started acting even worse. now it needs a new transmission and possibly a new engine. ridiculous.

    i should have known they were sketchy by how quickly they promised they'd get me financed. i only live in CA part of the year so i refuse to become a resident, i also own my company so i was having an impossible time getting financed anywhere. but Andy and Johnny assured me they'd have nooo problem. and they didn't; because they lied to bank about how much i was making per month. they told me exactly what to say when the bank called me and how to basically fake my address because when i'm in LA i stay at my stepdads place and have no bills here in my name.

    they also didn't disclose a discrepancy with the mileage on the Carfax report... overall shady shady dudes. has anyone had luck in small claims court with them!?

  34. i wish i read this post before i bought from them they are horrible horrible people both the fullerton and stanton locations this place needs to be closed

  35. As bad as this situation is for you, Emily, I can't say the dealer did anything wrong. Most places such as them sell used cars at discounted prices, as is. It's a gamble consumers must be willing to take. Their prices are low, for a reason. No warranty, and no guarantee the product will hold up. I'm sure they'd be willing to replace the occasional engine that fries on a customer, if they raised their prices about 20%, in which case such dealers wouldn't exist!

  36. Then they should post that message on their wall. They should say to customers "Hey, this car is discounted so low because it's probably a piece of crap." Instead they imply they have inspected the vehicle and it is in working order. It's dishonest.

    Just look at all the people in this thread who've had negative experiences, and that's only a fraction of the people who have, I'm sure. This post is here as a warning to those who would do business with this company, so they know that what they get at SoCal Auto Sales is not worth having.

    I bought my own car recently from Santa Monica Motor Sports and they not only gave me a fair price, but a car in perfect working condition. There was nothing shady about it. So I don't think we should EVER accept that this is just the way it is.

  37. I knew something was wrong when the description of a car that I was looking for said, "NO DENTS!" and I saw a dent right on the picture.

    Thanks for the information. I'll make sure to avoid that place now!

  38. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Anonymous said...

    Dang, I just saw your blog and just bought a tsx from there...Right, now everything seems to be okay but I wished I had saw your blog before I bought the car. I figure that place was messed up when we had to approach the seller instead of them approaching us. But I really do wish you the best and pray that everything goes well with my TSX.

  39. Hello all, I know this post is really old but I came across it because of my issues and I know it can be useful to others out there. Anyhow, I bought a Infiniti G35 from the Stanton location in April 2011 and everything people are saying about these dealers is true. I first went to fullerton and didn't like the treatment, service was terrible, unprofessional etc. They wouldn't even try to negotiate prices with me, thought to my untrained eye the 2 cars i was looking at there looked perfect. So i got online again and found a G35 at the Stanton place. I got the car for a price that I thought was good, normally i get diagnostics done on used cars prior to buying them but this time i didn't since the car was still under warranty for another year. They told me the car had a minor fender bender and it showed on the carfax that the bumper had been repaired. I didn't like the crappy paint job so they repainted the bumpers (took forever) and was supposed to detail the car since it was really dirty and smelled of cig smoke. (They didn't) Car still smells. Well since i got it i have taking it to the dealership to get maintenance done some normal some not. The TPMS (tires) light won't go off, I need 4 new tires, the paint on the bumpers is bubbling, the whole car has obviously been painted (poorly), the weather stripping on both doors is loose so i hear wind in the car, the psgr side window doesnt like to come up when you roll all the way down sometimes i have to pull it, the dealer told me the car has been in a major accident and showed me that the psgr door doesn't line up properly which is why the window is like that the weather stripping on the doors and under the hood is loose, he said the car wasn't put back together properly. I'm really upset about this and hate to see other go throught the same thing. I called about getting my front license plate and "christine" told me whatever she could to get me off of the phone and i haven't gotten it. I will never again buy a used car without the diagnostic. Best $200-300 you could spend. Also i have purchased 2 used cars from private sellers before and gotten the check prior to buying and drove both for almost 7 years each. I traded in a 2001 MBZ that had some problems and in 3 days they had it on their site with lies. And when i picked up my car i could see they hadn't even fixed the side mirror they only washed the outside. Scammers.


  40. I have had a bad experience dealing with these oompa loompas.

    Called them 5 times about a car, each time getting the same response: "The car is currently undergoing inspection". They kept saying that it will be ready in a day or two until I call them up this morning, and they tell me the inspection was finished 2 days ago and that the car was already sold.

    I will never buy from these guys again no matter how good of a deal they provide.

  41. I was looking at Infiniti M35, found their ads. '08 low mile fully loaded but title/description inconsistent about the ext color. I shot an email there the sales said that car was sold. Yet I see the same ad all over the web. That was 10 days ago, ad's still on. And they claimed all cars are clean, but I bought Carfax myself and most of their cars are SALVAGE TITLES. So I researched on the company, found Yelp, 17 5-star reviews all sounding overly positive, fishy. As I went on, saw your blog. It proved my theory that this company is a fraud. CA DMV has actually put together a team of auto fraud investigators to seize falsely advertised cars that are actually dangerous. Those of you bought cars from them, perhaps you can contact DMV? I hope all of you get justice soon and put the nightmares behind..

  42. Bobby9:23 PM

    bobby. hi well i was looking all over online for a 2003/2004 mustang cobra. these cars are had to find and especially for a cheap price. i saw that sc auto sales had a few forsale really cheap. yeah they had over 50k miles, but ive been looking for one of those for a while. its true they guys do look unprofessional dressed like their going to a club. they did treated me in a good way they helped me get the payments i wanted. they did show me the carfax im the second owner i hope no accidents. i left it there because they where going to fix a noise which they did, but as im driving home the check engine light comes on. it turns out its bank 3 which is my #3 cylinder. thats not the prob cus i can fix it my self. the issue im so pissed off about is that i signed the contract and all docs and fees license and registration i paid for well i thought. 2 months after i get a call from them saying i owe them 1300 dollars. they said it was for the license and registration. apparently it turned out the car i purchased from them the registration hasnt been paid since 2008. im pissed off because they didnt tell me that in the first place. i was so pissed that they reduced it to half and me driving without a registration thinking it was going to come in the mail since in the contract says i paid all fees. they are really shaidy people i live paycheck to paycheck and dont have 600 bucks to give to them for their mess up very dishonest people i wish i can do something about it and get my registration without paying those 600. DONT BUY FROM THEM!!! They seem nice but at the end dont give a crap about you.

  43. Anonymous10:53 AM

    Hi all-

    we are currently producing a reality TV show on car dealerships, and are doing an entire episode on SC Auto in Fullerton. I would LOVE to speak to you about your experience at their dealership, and am also interested in hearing your story ON CAMERA so we can confront the dealership with their customer service issues. We will filming be at the dealership until this Saturday (12/3). If you really want to get your story heard- please email me at ASAP.

    Thanks- hope to hear from you!

  44. I forwarded this comment to my boyfriend. He'll be in touch.

  45. That's odd. I went all over O.C. (Cal Worthington, Costa Mesa, Tustin Auto Center, etc.) and I absolutely am so happy that I went to the lot based in Stanton, not Santa Ana. I found the best deal on an 08 Altima (only 11k in miles, one ownwer, car fax, manufacutured warranty) and they saved me the most money with the best terms on financing. Maybe the extended warranty should have been an option to take when its an older car; especially when any vehicle has 50K miles on it. Sorry to hear about your problem. But I completeley disagree and will buy from them and do my homework first and understand the timeframe of a warranty. Best experience I ever had, including Tuttle Click, whom was pretty good a long time ago. Kimson

  46. Hopefully you don't have problems, but be aware that our problem didn't start right away. We thought we got a good deal too.

  47. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  48. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.