One of the largest online used car dealers in the country just closed, and this one is in our backyard. Houston-based Vroom, that took over Texas Direct Auto in 2015, is no longer selling cars. But, it’s not a clean closure. Customers still have a lot of questions. Investigator Amy Davis is getting answers.
Some people were in the middle of buying cars when Vroom announced last week it was ‘winding down operations.’ Other customers want to know about outstanding paperwork and warranties. Even when they were open our investigations have shown customer service was not great. If you need to reach someone for an outstanding issue, you better move quickly.
Store closed signs up at Vroom in Stafford
The signs at Vroom, formerly Texas Direct Auto in Stafford, say the store is closed. But we found their lot full of vehicles.
A manager told us out of hundreds of employees in Houston only five are left to wind down operations. He also said almost all of these cars have been purchased by customers or other dealers. Nationwide this was the only physical car lot Vroom owned. All other business was online.
Kerra Wade in Indiana and Lynn Ruggieri in Connecticut were right in the middle of buying cars when Vroom abruptly announced it was closing.
“I’m unable to get on the app, to check the status of my delivery,” said Wade. “I just feel very, overwhelmed. Distressed. Well, I’m a single mother with. I don’t just have cash to just be purchasing cars and things like that.”
“I’m worried that I’m going to lose my money and. And not have a car. And I don’t have a car right now,” said Ruggieri. “I can’t get a hold of them. I don’t have a car, and i don’t have my money.”
Both have already made down payments and spent hours on hold with customer service agents.
In 2021 we showed you thousands of Vroom customers complaining and commiserating on Facebook.
Back then the Houston Better Business Bureau was juggling some 1,900 customer complaints, from delayed deliveries to customers who couldn’t get the titles to their vehicles.
“They need to be the squeaky wheel in a big way. Let’s say you’re most of these things unfortunately are cash or their money or if anything was tied to a credit card. Get that reversed. Get it done right away. Document your stuff,” said Parsons.
Just last month the Texas Attorney General settled a Deceptive Trade Practice Act lawsuit with Vroom that left the company with a $3-million judgment it owes the state.
Vroom’s CEO said in this statement the company had planned to raise more money to keep the used car sales side of the business going but quote “‘despite significant efforts to do so, we ultimately were unable to raise the necessary capital in the current market.”
Vroom told us they are working to close all deals that were in progress.
There’s a section on the Vroom website to help answer common customer questions and some toll-free numbers customers can call.
In total some 800 Vroom employees are losing their jobs.
Vroom isn’t going away completely. They just won’t sell used cars anymore. They have other subsidiaries called CarStory, a search engine to help you find used vehicles for sale across the country.