Watching your kid get behind the wheel of a car can be nerve-racking for most parents. But putting them in a safe car could give you a little peace of mind. A Texas couple was looking for a Jeep for their college student. But their hasty decision ended up costing them big time.
Caleb Hough needed some new wheels to get back to college.
He had an internship waiting on him, so his parents needed to find a vehicle fast.
They went online and started looking at used cars and trucks.
"One in particular was 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee," said Samford Hough.
They thought the Jeep had decent mileage for its age, just over 143,000 miles.
Their son went to local shop in Fort Worth to check it out, and he liked it so they bought the car for about $3,800.
"He calls me the very next day," his dad said. "It died on the way home several times, oil pressure light dropped to zero at one point in time and a couple of little check engine warnings."
They brought the Jeep back to the shop that weekend.
They say mechanics worked on the car and eventually told them it was good to go, but mom wasn't taking any chances.
She wanted to test drive it herself.
"A few miles south of Dallas and the engine light comes on, so I pull over," she said. "It's overheated and it locks up on me, the transmission completely locks up."
They took the car in to an auto shop and were told they had a bad transmission; it needed to be completely rebuilt.
"At this point, I was panicked there was more problems than I didn't know about," Rebecca Hough said.
That's when they decided to do some research on the vehicle, starting with the Car Fax and they were stunned.
"It was the mileage that was the first thing that popped out to me was the mileage," said Rebecca.
According to the ad and their contract, the Jeep had a little over 143,000 miles, but according to the Carfax, the last odometer reading in 2014 was 190,000 miles.
The couple said they brought this information to the owner and were told all sales were final.
As for the odometer, they say the owner reminded them that car was more than 10 years old, so the odometer was exempt.
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, vehicles over 10 years of age are exempt, meaning the seller is not required to list the odometer reading on documentation.
However, the seller isn't allowed to make up any number.
The DMV says "a person advertising motor vehicles shall not use false, deceptive, unfair, or misleading advertising…" and falsifying odometer information would constitute a misrepresentation to the consumer purchasing the vehicle.
Another problem: the couple says they didn't get the title at the time of purchase and had to wait weeks before it arrived in the mail.
"I felt even more betrayed and foolish, honestly, for not doing my homework," said Rebecca. "But I was in a hurry to get my son a car for that internship so he could get that offer and we just rushed a decision."
The couple said the shop only offered them $200 to settle the dispute.
They declined and vow to never let something like this happen again.
That couple ended up giving their son their car to ensure his safety and they bought a new transmission for the used Jeep, which cost them another $1,800.
They're chalking this up as a loss and want others to learn from their mistakes.
Before you buy a used vehicle, here are Samantha Chatman's Solutions:
-Google the name of the shop.
-Get a free vehicle inspection report from the Texas Department of Public Safety's website.
-You can also get a vehicle history report with Carfax, Autocheck and Vinaudit.com. The DMV says keep in mind, the information is only as good as what is reported to the system.
-If someone is trying to sell you a car, don't leave without the title.