This is from Econo Auto Sales’ ‘About’ page. https://www.econoautosale.com/about-us/
“Used car dealers come and go, but Econo Auto Sales has been serving the Denver metro area for over two decades, and counting. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, due to our exceptional customer service track record and because we’re a low pressure buy here pay here dealership.”
Let’s take a look at what the Better Business Bureau’s website actually says about Econo Auto Sales. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that they have a D rating, not A+. https://www.bbb.org/us/co/denver/profile/used-car-dealers/econo-auto-sales-inc-1296-24125
“CURRENT ALERTS FOR THIS BUSINESS
Pattern of Complaint:
BBB files indicate a pattern of consumer complaints filed against this business. Consumers primarily report concerns around sales, product, and customer service issues. Regarding sales issues, consumers allege the business provides incorrect or misleading information on the vehicles they are selling to make the sale. Consumers also allege that the purchased vehicles often break down shortly after purchase or do not pass required emissions tests. Lastly, consumers allege that the business acts aggressively and is unwilling to work with consumers to resolve issues. (emphasis mine)
On September 12, 2019, BBB submitted a written request to the company encouraging them to address the pattern of complaints. As of October 16, 2019, BBB has had no response.”
ALL THIS HAPPENED TO ME IN 2022. I have yet to submit a BBB complaint as I wanted this blog up to reference. Let’s address it line by line as the BBB has posted.
“Regarding sales issues, consumers allege the business provides incorrect or misleading information on the vehicles they are selling to make the sale.”
On August 20th, 2022, I visited Econo Auto Sales after having seen a 2007 Dodge Caliber listed for $2998. Upon arrival around midday, I spoke to Kip, an associate, about the vehicle. He asked another associate about the keys and we took a look at another car that was $4,000. I declined considering it in favor of the initial vehicle. When the associate/attendant returned with the key, he confirmed the price to be $2998. Unfortunately, I did not get his name.
After test driving, I sat down with Kip about purchasing it outright. He started the paperwork, but referred me to Saeid Ghaemi, owner of the business. I swapped desks and discussed the vehicle. By then, they claimed that the vehicle was really $3488 and they’d sell it to me for that instead of the $4,000 that they’d sell to someone else. Saeid also suggested that the vehicle would definitely be sold that day because of the price. I did feel pressured to get the vehicle then rather than continue looking. The style seemed like it would work better for my family because two of us are in wheelchairs. At the time, I didn’t have reason to be suspicious and I tragically opened the door to be taken advantage of. I agreed to the price.
After taxes and his dealer fee, he told me the final price would be $4096.34. I had only wanted to spend around $3,000 plus taxes. I didn’t want to lose the vehicle so I agreed to the total and paid it with my debit card. Signed the receipt, signed the papers that he said were ‘just standard’ for purchasing a vehicle and drove away. Initially happy about having a vehicle again.
After filing my complaint this month, I tried finding the ads for my vehicle and can only show that such ads existed. I shared the preview in my complaint, but without the actual ads, I couldn’t definitively prove fraud; remember this for later. I also signed a document saying that he’d gone over all disclosures with me and he hadn’t. He also had me sign a document saying I’d received the title and I hadn’t; I thought the ‘application for title’ was the correct document to get the title. It’s actually one of many documents needed, including the actual real title.
“Consumers also allege that the purchased vehicles often break down shortly after purchase or do not pass required emissions tests.”
My vehicle passed emissions, thankfully and probably surprisingly. I had done city driving up until the beginning of September. I took a trip to Colorado Springs, less than two hours from Denver, and the car overheated when doing highway speeds, over 55mph. The check engine light came on, has been on since, and the car struggles to change gears when accelerating. Per numerous reviews on numerous websites (Google, Yelp, DealerRater, etc.), vehicles breaking down soon after purchasing from Econo Auto Sales doesn’t seem too uncommon. I’m fairly certain the issue is the transmission and I can only pray that it lasts long enough for me to have funds to replace it. When you see the business’s replies to people complaining about their vehicles breaking down in those reviews, it’s usually, ‘we do 33-point inspections and you should have had your own mechanic look at it’. Hashtag as-is.
“Lastly, consumers allege that the business acts aggressively and is unwilling to work with consumers to resolve issues.”
About a month later near the end of September, Saeid called me out of the blue. I was grocery shopping. Our conversation started out something like this.
Saeid: When are you making the rest of your payments? You still owe me $1,000.
Right off the bat, I was taken aback by his attitude and accusatory approach. This was not the same person who sold me my car. There was zero professionalism here, no greeting, no information as to why he would demand another $1,000 out of me, just hostility out of the gate. I asked for clarification and he grew more and more agitated throughout our conversation. He kept hanging up on me when I wouldn’t agree to give him another $1,000. He finally said he was coming to take the vehicle and hung up.
At this point, I was utterly confused and, quite frankly, scared because I was right but what if he really did just steal my vehicle under false pretense? I checked my financial statement online and found the payment for the full amount. Tried calling Saeid back and he hung up on me. I finally managed to get out that I would be at his business the following day.
The next day, I contacted my financial institution about the payment and they confirmed that I paid the amount that I said. I called the attorney general’s office about the situation and was given information on how to file a dealer complaint. When I called Saeid, he was combative, accused me of defrauding his business and how he was taking my car. And I got hung up on a few times.
I had tried talking to Kip and a woman who answered the phone, but they had informed me that only Saeid could handle the situation and he kept hanging up on me. You can watch his pathetic excuse of an apology on this lovely YouTube video. He blames me for not helping when he called and demanded and threatened me. This is not an actual apology. This is avoiding accountability where everyone is somehow wrong except Saied.
Prefacing the video. I got a printout of my financial statement and headed to Econo Auto Sales, very upset about the situation. Upon arrival, I was confronted by Kip who said he’d left me a voicemail and how they’d ‘found’ my payment. In the video, I inform Saeid that he’s already messed up the paperwork and gave him the paperwork he’d given me. I asked if I’d be able to register the vehicle and he claimed that the paperwork was, and I quote, “perfect”.
Narrator: It was not, in fact, ‘perfect’.
The temp tag was until October 18th. I went in on October 17th (remember this date for later) and discovered that I don’t have a title and that ‘application for title’ is just that, not the title itself. When I called Econo Auto Sales, this started a new round of hanging up on me and refusing to address the situation. So I headed back to the dealership to get the title. Upon arrival, I had to wait for Saeid. Once he arrived at his desk, he told me that I had to wait for an appointment without telling me when that would possibly be, and then he demanded my son leave the building. I asked why and his response was, “Because we don’t like being taped”. I told him if he was honest, it wouldn’t be a problem. But he did call the police against my son as a ‘suspicious person’. So we left. I had the interactions recorded for safety.
Here’s a lovely YouTube video of that too.
Do you know how often people call police on Black and brown people as intimidation? I believe many of us remember protests and education around police being given false information against someone and at times that has caused harm or death to innocent parties. The ACLU has a good article on this here: https://www.aclu.org/news/racial-justice/how-police-can-stop-being-weaponized-bias-motivated.
I’ll get into reviews of the business in general, but at this point, it’s worth it to visit Google reviews specifically for Econo Auto Sales and click on the ‘racist’ keyword. Check out those reviews when you get a chance. Back to our tale.
I believe that Saeid is incapable of professional conduct and any iota of customer service, save when he takes your money. I believe that he would not be bothered if he caused the death of someone someday with the tactic of calling police against people he doesn’t want to deal with. He’s getting some kind of enjoyment out of torturing people that he’s wronged, in my opinion. I believe that his comfort in continuously weaponizing police is likely due to this being a common practice for him. I believe that Saeid weaponizes police to avoid accountability and force people to leave his business without addressing issues that he’s created or allowed.
I talked to the Denver police department as his business is in their jurisdiction. I asked if it’s okay for a business to weaponize police to intimidate consumers. The officer advised that if a business owner says that you have to leave and you stay, it’s trespassing. So it was probably good that we left. Though he also advised that if it happens again, to wait for the officer.
On October 17th, Saeid informed me that he could have the title by that Friday, October 21st. Then he changed his mind and said he’d give me an appointment in two months. I advised him that the DMV said that he could authorize another temporary tag and he refused. That gave me until November 18th to register the vehicle. Remember October 17th and his claim to have to apply for a duplicate. I also recorded this interaction, but it’s half an hour long so the rest is not uploaded anywhere. Yet.
The next day, the DMV issued me a 30 day tag to get the situation squared away and advised it was the only temp tag they’d issue without the dealer’s request. October 21st came and went and I never heard from Saeid. So on November 3rd, I filed a complaint through the Colorado dealer board. If you’ve been victimized by Econo Auto Sales, you can start here: https://sbg.colorado.gov/filing-a-complaint-auto-industry-division. Take your time to ensure your complaint includes everything you need addressed. Please note that as aggravating as Saeid’s unprofessional and unethical behavior is, it won’t be investigated per this disclaimer: “The Auto Industry Division cannot dictate good business practices or ethical behavior. Complaints concerning these issues cannot be investigated.” This would be best in a review to as many websites as you can manage. Google, Yelp, and places like DealerRater.com. I’ll share places to review at the end so stay tuned.
On November 5th, I received a voicemail from a woman at Econo Auto Sales who said that my title had been returned in the mail and that I needed to come pick it up. I did not know if it was safe for me to do so. On November 8th, I received an email from an investigator about my complaint. We went over a few things and he visited the business the following day. Saeid had an unopened certified letter to my old address that was sent on October 5th and returned on October 15th that he showed the investigator and opened it to verify the title and paperwork.
Remember my visit on October 17th? Saied readily gave the investigator this important document upon request in November, but when I was there on October 17th, he told me that he had to apply for a new title and it would take a long time. If he had given me my title then, we wouldn’t need to be in each other’s lives.
November 9th, the investigator advised that I could pick up the title and that Saeid would be ‘professional and not give you grief’. I had strong trepidation, but I went down on November 11th to get the title. We arrived around 10:15 am. Once inside, the two employees at the front desk and the one near the rear door informed me that Saeid usually arrived after 11am. I said that I was only there for the title and Nicole couldn’t find it in her paperwork. She called Saeid and informed me that he’d arrive in about half an hour and that I should have called first.
Saeid arrived just before 11am and once through the front door, loomed over my son and told him to leave and he would call the police. My son had said or done nothing to that point and did not speak. In any interaction, my son has not spoken with, nor engaged with, Saeid whatsoever. My son is also autistic.
Saeid never addressed me, never spoke about why I was there. He immediately went around his desk and called 911. Not the non-emergency line. In the video, it seems to be 911. And told dispatch that there were people in his office that he said couldn’t come back and they wouldn’t leave. This was not professional and it was the opposite of NOT giving me grief. So we left.
So now I am scheduled to visit the dealership on November 16th to finally get the title to the vehicle I paid for months ago and should have been able to register from day one. After back and forth with the investigator, I was told that I could now deal with the “title clerk” Nicole and that Saeid wouldn’t be at the meeting. Really? He had someone specific for that, yet spent the last few months forcing negative interactions and calling police on me for trying to collect what was owed to me. I’m beginning to believe that he is indeed racist and not just a shitty businessman.
Speaking of the title. Per Colorado state law, a title must be provided at the time of purchase, or delivered within 20 days. When the title was mailed out on October 5th, that was already at 49 days. It is now 88 days. (Code of Colorado Regulations (state.co.us)). On November 11th, Nicole informed me that delays in titles usually come from Saeid selling cars that he doesn’t have a title to and getting those titles can sometimes be difficult or take a long time. I told her that if he’s selling cars without the title and hoping to get a title before someone gets into my situation, that’s on him. She said she discourages him from the practice. Interestingly, when I arrived and sat at the main desk in the office, the younger man was on the phone with someone about a title and registration problem and he’d informed them that he would pass the information onto Saeid. So it seems that I’m not the only one with title issues from this business. I’m working on publishing that first brief video of that initial call so stay tuned.
While we wait for an update on how getting the title goes, if you’re here from one of my reviews, here are some resources to help you find where to leave one of your own to spread awareness of your experiences. Of course not every transaction is going to be negative and every car isn’t going to have issues. If you did have a positive experience and can prove you’re a real person, I’d love to know the circumstances.
This business does not deserve every cent my family had at the time though, but we’re out of luck.
If you were victimized as well, we already took one for the team/fellow consumers. Now let’s let the team know what this business and business owner is like to spare one person from disaster.
Places to read and leave reviews for Econo Auto Sales at 4404 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colorado, 80204.
https://www.dealerrater.com/dealer/Econo-Auto-Sales-review-18672/ DealerRater.com seems to be the one I’ve seen auto-populated in various websites, if not the standard, so this is a great start.
I can’t seem to link directly to the business’s Google Reviews page, so I will suggest you Google “Econo Auto Sales”, verify it’s on 4404 W. Colfax, and read some reviews. This one star review deserves a spotlight from just yesterday, November 14th.
“Don’t waste your time here, they’re very dishonest and crooks. They are rude with you unless you have the down payment then saied turn into a sweetheart. Josh is no better he lied to me saying I had a 10-day warranty, he kept saying he wanted to help me but it was apparent he wanted to close the deal. The check engine like came on FOUR days after driving off the lot and they wouldnt honor me a refund due “as is” policy. Also they dont give you all the paper work you fill out so take pictures of each one . I filled a paper that said I had 10 days to bring this car back but did not get that . Hope i can save anyone from a horrible experience , save them some money” (https://g.co/kgs/Md5zbf).
I, too, hope my tale will help just one person avoid being taken advantage of by Econo Auto Sales.
An interesting phenomenon occurs if you do an in depth review of the Google reviews alone. While so many other sites are 1.9-2.2 star ratings for Econo Auto Sales, Google reviews are at 4.0. I wonder why that is. Scroll through the reviews and you’ll see quite a few 5 star reviews from people with only one review and they’re responded to with thanks from the business.
https://earthweb.com/buy-google-reviews/ This is just one of many sites where you can find places to buy 5 star Google reviews. I’m not saying that’s what’s happened, but something feels fishy, at least to me. Maybe it’s staff with free time trying to counter the deluge of negative reviews. If you read the 5 star reviews, especially for the 5 star reviews with more than one review, the review reads like it was written by the business and generic af. A couple have seemed generic, but upon visiting the profile, you get the feel for a human and maybe they luckily did have a positive buying experience. I reported as many of the reviews that seemed fake as fake; feel free to whittle away some free time. Per Google policy, they don’t like fake reviews so it doesn’t matter how the fake reviews got there, it’s going to take people to report them.
https://www.cars.com/dealers/107177/econo-auto-sales-inc/#dealer-reviews-section This would be a good option, although it auto-populates from DealerRater.com, so if you want to hit both sites, scroll up to the DealerRater.com link for Econo Auto Sales.
https://www.facebook.com/EconoAutoSalesBHPHDenver/ Definitely leave a review on their home turf. They also have a barely used Twitter that may not be worth the effort: https://twitter.com/UsedCarsDenver1. And an empty Instagram: https://instagram.com/econoautosales1/.
Now for a positive. Check out this article on car buying. I found it covered most or all of the bases for what I went through. https://www.realcartips.com/cardealers/360-dealership-ratings-reviews.shtml
A couple of notable quotes.
“Keep in mind that reviewing a dealer’s reputation through ratings and reviews doesn’t guarantee you won’t have any problems.”
Google reviews for this business being a good point on this above!
“A dealer may have a good reputation overall, but they may also have a couple of bad employees that you could get stuck dealing with.”
In my experience, it was the owner who was the bad employee and the two staff I interacted with most recently seemed like decent people. Although, if you visit the business, pay attention to how staff act around Saeid. There was a review (I’ll link when I find it again) that mentioned how the staff seemed scared of Saeid. He is easily hostile and aggressive to me and plenty of other customers per the reviews, and that staff has to deal with him every day. It reminds me of abused children. Blink twice if you need us, staff. Although, if you’re complicit in shady and/or illegal practices, that may come to bite your behind if/when the business is finally exposed and your licenses are on the line. Do you really think that owner is going to go to be there for you then?
If you have only recently purchased a vehicle from Econo Auto Sales, archive the sales pages from as many websites as you can here: http://web.archive.org/, including their own website. This is the Wayback Machine and it archives websites and web pages. The places that I found my vehicle listed are not indexed there and I missed my opportunity to prove pricing. If it’s not too late for you to get peace of mind, I highly recommend.
Updates will follow here.