If you’re looking to buy a car from—or sell your car to— a trusted brand name, CarMax is certainly worth being one of the first options you try. The company’s first location opened in 1993 as an experiment suggested by executives at the Circuit City electronics corporation. The project, nicknamed “Honest Rick’s Used Cars”, was meant to expand Circuit City’s enterprise into other arenas. What became known as CarMax fulfilled that goal, growing rapidly across the United States through various acquisitions of car manufacturing real estate.

Currently headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, the company currently operates 195 used car stores in 94 markets. CarMax.com strives to offer superior quality used and certified pre-owned vehicles, as well as friendly service to its customers. The CarMax company has consistently been named as one of FORTUNE® 500’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 10 straight years. It has been serving customers for over 59 years, holding themselves to a high standard of integrity with their services and products.

Read on for CarMax pros and cons, plus CarMax reviews from users.  

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The Good

  • Focus on Customer Experience
  • Quality Inspection & Guarantees
  • Transfer Used Cars to a Location Near You
  • Great Used Car Resources & Tools
  • Sell or Trade-In Options

Focus on Customer Experience

CarMax is the largest used car retailer on and off the internet, allowing customers to shop for vehicles the same way they shop for products at what they call "big-box" retailers—sort of like a Costco or Sam's Club for the car shopping and buying experience. This refers to promising car shoppers an affordable purchase price with a no-haggle price model, a broad selection of CarMax Quality Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, and superior customer service.

CarMax's car buying process is based on the results of a notable consumer survey the company conducted back in 1991. The survey asked everyday consumers about their preferences when it comes to the process of buying a car. The answers below are what define today's CarMax's shopping experience. What this means for you the customer:

  • Customers said they don't like playing games, so CarMax lets you know the price right away, not after hours of haggling and mind games. 
  • Customers said they don't like their time being wasted, so CarMax lets you have one salesperson work with you from start to finish who won't make you drive all over town to find the right car.
  • Customers said they want security, so the company inspects and reconditions all cars and backs them with a CarMax 30 day warranty so you don't have to worry what will happen when you drive off the lot. They also come with a free AutoCheck vehicle history report. 
  • Customers wanted more fun and less pressure from car salespeople, so CarMax employees are trained to offer assistance without being pushy.

Quality Inspection & Guarantees

CarMax has a sizeable listing of used cars (new cars as well) that support its promise to offer security to customers. Each used vehicle has to be CarMax Quality Certified, meaning every used car must pass a Certified Quality Inspection.

Each used car sold also comes with a 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee, as well as a 30-Day Limited Warranty (and a 60-Day Warranty in Connecticut, Minnesota and Rhode Island and 90 Days in Massachusetts and New York).

Additionally, each used car buyer has the option of purchasing a MaxCare Extended Service plan covering the following: 

  • Climate control
  • Cooling system
  • Drivetrain
  • Electrical systems
  • Electronics
  • Engine
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Transmission

Transfer Used Cars to a Location Near You

CarMax can transfer any used car you are considering to one of its local dealerships nearest you, so you can test drive it at your convenience. Transfer fees may be applicable, but oftentimes this service is free.

Consumers are encouraged to ask a CarMax sales representative about this nationwide transfer service and any possible fees ahead of time.

There is no obligation to buy the car once it is transferred.

Great Used Car Resources & Tools

There are plenty of resources at CarMax.com to help you find a vehicle. Read thousands of research articles, ratings, and reviews on the website.

For used car shoppers, this car retailer has a nice array of tools like a payment calculator to calculate and compare monthly payments and overall affordability.

What's unique, however, is their Tax, Title, Tags, and Fees Calculator and their MPG Savings Calculator. The Tax, Title, Tags, and Fees Calculator helps you figure out what sales tax, title, and tags fees you will need to pay, according to what state you reside in. All you have to do is select your state and vehicle price range and hit the Calculate button. If you're unsure about what fee rules and regulations apply to your next auto purchase, this is a perfect car shopper’s tool.

The MPG (Miles Per Gallon) Savings calculator allows you to see how a vehicle's fuel economy will affect your bottom line. It actually allows you to compare two cars at once to see how they stack up against each other. This is a great tool to determine long-term maintenance costs for car ownership. To find out how much you'll save (or lose), locate the desired car's gas mileage on the vehicle profiles you selected, then fill in the average MPG of two cars you'd like to compare and hit "Calculate Savings."

Sell or Trade-In Options

CarMax.com will also buy or trade-in your current vehicle no matter what condition it is in.  An owner can get a free written offer that is good for 7 days at any CarMax dealership location. If you choose to sell your car to CarMax, you will receive a bank draft on the spot that may be deposited in your bank right away.

Another unique component for consumers is being able to sell their car to CarMax. Although CarMax is not the only car buying service site doing this, it is the only one that offers a unique appraisal process to see what your car is worth. The appraisal process looks like this:

  • Fast and free—your appraisal can take as little as 30 minutes and you're welcome to watch while you wait.
  • No obligation—CarMax will buy your car even if you don't buy theirs.
  • No appointment needed—bring your car in for an appraisal any time they're open.
  • CarMax appraisers—specially trained to evaluate the cars they buy.
  • The written offer—it's good for seven days at any CarMax location.
  • Fast payment—upon selling CarMax your car, you'll receive a bank draft on the spot!

The appraisal process is Step two in a streamlined, no-hassle, three-step selling process—the result of the code of conduct based on consumer's preferences previously mentioned. 

  • Step One is to bring in your car to one of CarMax's dealer locations. Making an appointment is optional, but you'd probably be better off making one—especially if you have a busy schedule. 
  • Step Two is to get a written offer. This comes after the appraisal process and is good for seven days. 
  • Step Three is the final step where you have the option to complete the sale transaction, trade it, or think it over. CarMax will buy your car regardless of make, miles, or condition.

The Bad

  • Issues with MPG Savings Calculator
  • Spread Out Locations

Issues with MPG Savings Calculator

CarMax has a lot to offer used car buyers and sellers with only a few inconveniences. For example, the MPG Savings calculator is a great tool—it would be even greater if you could just find out the miles per gallon savings on one car instead of having to compare two. When searching the site, if you're only interested in one vehicle, you can't use the tool.

Spread Out Locations

Another inconvenience is that if you are not living near one of CarMax's locations, taking advantage of ‘sell to CarMax’ or trade-in process may not be viable. As store locations are so spread out and possibly in a state other than your own, you may need to make travel arrangements or you may be unable to afford the trip either time-wise or money-wise. (This is where the Tax, title, tags, and fees calculator comes in handy).

The Bottom Line

CarMax offers lots of tools to help people with buying and selling cars, trucks, and SUVs. What makes CarMax so massive is that, unlike many online auto companies, they are not just an internet business. The company has brick-and-mortar car dealerships around the country—although very spread out.

Getting to one of their locations may be an issue, but since CarMax will buy your car regardless of make, miles, or condition, if you plan on selling your car or are looking to buy one yourself, their website is one worth exploring.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

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133 Reviews

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Matthew Wadley

April 2nd, 2020 San Diego, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We purchased our 2008 Honda Pilot from them. Everything was straight forward and they had a lot of options for us to choose from. There was no pressure to buy, they pretty much said here is the breakdown and do you want to buy. There was no getting a manager to try to convince us or strong-arm us. I was actually a little upset that I couldn't haggle with them to save a couple of hundred dollars

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Shellie Smith

March 26th, 2020 Kuna, ID DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Although we wouldn't trade another car in, we would buy feom Car Max in a heartbeat. The max care plan is awesome and we've been well taken care of. We have purchased two vehicles from them and we've been very pleased.

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Not so naive

March 18th, 2020 Sandy, UT

CarMax offered to buy my car even if I didn't buy one from them. I found that taking them up on the offer was more trouble than it was worth. My situation was the following: 1) I am the trustee of my deceased parent's trust 2) I have all of the trust documents, probate court decree, death certificates, EIN number, that are legally required for me to sell my parent's car (owned by their trust) 3) I took the car to be appraised by CarMax 6 days before taking it to sell it to them (appraisal was valid 7 days) 4) The trust did not specifically list the car (by VIN number) as a trust asset. CarMax claims that the VIN number must be in the trust document (I can't find an attorney who agrees). If you are trying to liquidate the assets of someone else's trust, I recommend you steer clear of CarMax. After expending two hours of time, I still hadn't been able to meet their demands for documentation (including notarized proof of survivorship). They had taken copies of part of the trust document, death certificates, and took my driver's license. I finally decided to sell the car privately. The car is in great condition (luxury car with 5,700 miles). No accidents and no damage. I'll get more money selling it myself and will likely spend less time than I wasted on CarMax. If you've read this review, you have been warned. My conscience is clear. Good luck selling your car another way! You will be glad you did.

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Barbara Matthews

March 17th, 2020 West Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We love buying our cars from CarMax. They have great customer service and I trust the quality of the cars they sell. We’ve never had a problem!

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Karen Torino

March 16th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Car max will have almost any car you are looking for. They also have pretty good prices and are willing to offer you any information on the car you may need. What I liked most is that the options to choose from were not limited, and there were all sorts of cars available.

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Chaveli

March 11th, 2020 Lakeland, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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My first car was bought from Carmax and got a great deal!

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Jacobrobot321

March 11th, 2020 Leesville, LA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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CarMax always has helped me with reviewing cars I’m interested in purchasing and seeing if they are worth it or not. My current car was found on CarMax and I can say that they are true to advertisement with true facts

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Brayden Ibert

March 11th, 2020 Covington, LA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Carmax is a great site to use to find vehicles. It's easy to use and is reliable.

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Erin Glendening

March 10th, 2020 Livingston, LA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I like Carmax because you can trade in your car and put credit on a new car. The cars are used but they aren’t to beat up and they give you all the information on them.

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Alexa Pitre

March 10th, 2020 Zachary, LA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great prices on cars. Reliable cars at that. Love using them. 10/10 would recommend.

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Brandy

March 10th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL

Great cars, a little on the pricey side though but the cars are usually in great condition.

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Jalan Mccloud

March 10th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL

Willing to work with you on financing a car but prices are sometimes high for the quality of the car.

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Precious P

March 9th, 2020 Lakeland, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I currently have a 2018 Toyota car meet that I’ve received from CarMax. The process to get the car was fast and easy

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OwenE.

March 9th, 2020 Norcross, GA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I could not find cars in my price range that suited my needs. Not many details are offered.

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Jakob barre

March 9th, 2020 Norcross, GA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Carmax gave me a great deal on a great car I love my new Ford expedition it’s the best thing I could’ve asked for from them I can’t believe that they even looked to inspect my air vents while they took in my car as a trade-in they really cover all their bases.

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Jadon Barre

March 9th, 2020 Marietta, GA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Carmax is an easy way to find everything I need in a vehicle and stay within my price range. It’s organized and the customer service is helpful and friendly.

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Jackson Barousse

March 9th, 2020 Kenner, LA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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CarMax has some of the best customer services of any business I have ever visited. Their attention to detail and care for the customer's well-being is unmatched.

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Eric Gagnard

March 9th, 2020 Dallas, TX

A good selection process. Easy to really find the car you are looking into purchasing.

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Cole Bailey

March 9th, 2020 Houston, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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CarMax has a wide variety of cars in my area and I got a good price on my Nissan 350z

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cb

March 6th, 2020 Thibodaux, LA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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CarMax is a great website when looking for a car! Every car on their website is well kept and mainly has not very many miles on them. They supply pictures and as many details as they can about each car.

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Azrienne

March 6th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL

Carmax helped me find my new car by giving me the best deals and giving background information on each vehicle

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russbayles

March 5th, 2020 West Valley City, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Can’t beat the ability to get a price on your trade in and not feel the pressure of having to decide right then. They give you days to decide. It’s great!!!

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Rocio Diaz

March 4th, 2020 Jacksonville, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Have sold a few cars to them in the past and honestly their appraisals are spot on and they are a quick easy way to get rid of a car in one day.

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Natalia Correa MDTribe

March 4th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL

I worked with Carmax in the past when my boyfriend was trying to get a car. They are very patient and really work hard to meet your needs when looking for a car! Highly recommend checking them out!

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Bryndie

March 2nd, 2020 Managua, MN

I’ve really enjoyed my experience using CarMax to find a car. Their website is easy to use and they have very helpful information on whatever car you’re looking for.

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Maryann Renteria (Mckrae)

March 2nd, 2020 Phoenix, AZ

I really loved being able to take my car in and have it checked out and then within a short time being told what my car is actually worth! No haggling on prices! What you see is final price!

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Karina Aguilar

March 2nd, 2020 Managua, MN DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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carmax is a very trustworthy company and they treated me so well and I use it all the time

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Tiffany I

February 27th, 2020 Elkridge, MD DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Carmax is the best car search. I will never buy anywhere else. It was so easy to purchase my car - didn’t feel pressured or haggled. I brought my husband when he was ready for him new car too.

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Nick Hansen

February 27th, 2020 Eagle Mountain, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The process of selling/buying my car was super simple and efficient. It's like they've done it before a time or two. Getting me processed and a quoted didn't take very long at all. I was surprised at the huge inventory they had available - we even got carted around the lot in a golf cart for convenience. My sore feet were grateful!

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Scott C.

February 26th, 2020 Lehi, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have bought several cars from CarMax and would have no problem purchasing from there again. Particularly my last experience was pleasant with zero pressure from the sales person, and once we were wanting to move forward and needed more definitive information, we were referred to another sales person who was very helpful.

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Stephanie Love

February 25th, 2020 Herriman, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Car max was great when I bought a car from them. I love that they don’t haggle the prices with you and the price is the price and I always feel like I’m getting a great deal. The customer service was awesome too. They answered all my questions and some. They took me out test driving several vehicles without getting annoyed. I even took a few out several times and never felt any pressure or annoyance. They were great to work with.

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Melanie Johnston

February 25th, 2020 Las Vegas, NV DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I loved buying a car with CarMax. I didn't feel like I was being up-sold on every item and pushed into making a purchase THAT very day.

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Greg

February 25th, 2020 West Valley City, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We have bought three vehicles from CarMax and recommended it to our grown children and friends. We have heard nothing but good comments from them and our experience has been great. My wife surprised me with a badly needed car upgrade from CarMax. She chose between two vehicles, not sure which I would prefer. They told her she could trade it in about 15 minutes if it was within three days. After driving the one she chose, I decided I would prefer the other and the switch was totally painless.

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Damon

February 25th, 2020 Winter Park, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Unfortunately, this was an absolutely horrible experience. From the time I went to purchase this vehicle in Davie, FL (4 hours away) on 2/9/2020 until now. I have driven the car less than 2 days! I was lied about the condition of the vehicle, what would be done to fix it, and god only knows what else. When I went to purchase the vehicle, I asked how much damage was on the car. (Rock chips, scratches, dents, dings, etc) I was told by the sales lady Teri at the Sanford location that they did a walk around and stated no issues. (She later stated it was impossible for a 2014 to not be damaged) which we all know is an IGNORANT response. When I arrived in Davie, FL at the CarMax there I met with a salesman John R. who seemed rather nice (Toooo nice) and wanted to speed through the process. (Redflag 1). The car that I WAS PURCHASING was in the dark, not washed, and looks like it was done on purpose. The first thing I noticed was the headlights being foggy, then hairline scratches underneath the clear coat. I know this kind of damage can't be repaired by buffing but I bring it up to John who states he would have it all fixed (including headlights) when I arrive back in Central Florida. He assured me and over and over that it went through the 125+ point inspection and it was a GREAT CAR! I asked him again about the vehicle as I need something dependable to take my mother to cancer treatments etc.. Upon going over the car, there were a few other things and he stated the same thing. Great, as much as I'm peeved by it, I have been wanting this M235i for quite some time. After the paperwork was done, I walk outside and they drove my car through a carwash tunnel vs handwashing it and detailing it. (Talk about lazy!) I was told by John that CarMax was cheap and they got rid of the detail department as a whole. He was not lying! They had to aim headlights at my car from another vehicle so they could see it to dry it! Glass was still dirty, the interior was disgusting, it was a mess and there was no offer to get it detailed. Fast forward. The following day I am on my way home from picking my mother up at her treatment. It was at this moment I have one of the scariest moments driving a vehicle. We are cruising the speed limit when the vehicle immediately loses almost all of its power and goes into what they call limp mode. The car goes from around 65 miles an hour to 40. Scarier yet is I have a fully loaded dump truck behind me which almost slams into my mother and I in this car. Now, I would have possibly survived with severe injury by my 70-year-old mother would have been hurt critically! Scared the he** out of me! Immediately following this I reach out to my sales lady Teri in Sanford and tell her what happened and asked when service would be open? She doesn't give a da** if we are okay, how my mother is, just that the service center is open at 7 pm. So, I share some words with her and then take the vehicle in at around 7:30 am the next morning. Around 2/3 hours later the service advisor comes out and tells me the charge pipe was destroyed and it was common. I asked her if it was so common, why did they not check it as part of the 125 point inspection. She hinted that they should have but didn't put the dealership into complete liability mode. Now, as I have 7 days to return it I reached out to CarMax and it's the executive team to see if they could help locate me a car that has actually been checked. I had several people reach out and none of them would help. Enter the CARMAX EXPERIENCE. During the time that I am reaching out to them, they advise me that since they are helping me with this car that they would not help locate me another car. Then in one email, I was told they WOULD help me with finding a car then 1 paragraph later told they would not. (I can provide the email). They then agreed to fix the car properly (body work) etc... so I went to pick up my vehicle. LOW AND BEHOLD my car was damaged on the rear deck lid, front right wheel, the headlights they were supposed to repair they did a horrible job, I had scratches on the door handle and side of the car, and WAIT FOLKS - IT GETS BETTER (They had wet sanded and BURNED BY PAINT) trying to get the hairline scratches out of the paint! To bad I can't provide my YT to see the videos, its hideous what they did. I asked the sales manager to take a look and he refused to take a look at it. He was a complete ***. I immediately send the video and photos to the service manager who stated he would fix all of the issues, have this in email. The car is now at the body shop where it's been since last week. I also received a call the next day after dropping it off. They had pulled the underbelly off and oil poured out all over the place from various points on the car.

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Megan Johnston

February 21st, 2020 West Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We have purchased a few cars from them. I'm thrilled that there is no upselling!

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DeeDee G.

February 21st, 2020 Laplace, LA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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After a car wreck it was very easy to buy a new car with this company! Relly appreciated the service and help provided!

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Cim Carver

February 21st, 2020 Cheyenne, WY

CarMax is a great place to shop for cars. When we’ve bought cars they’re always one of the first places we stop and we’ve always been treated well.

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Milos Gak

February 21st, 2020 Yorkville, IL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I bought a car 3 months ago thru CarMax autofinancing. 2 weeks ago i had a accident and my insurance company has stated car as total loss. They gave me 2 option, to keep the vehicle and to pay CarMax value of car before accident - salvage value = 3221$ Or they want pay to carmax 4500$+ and they keep the vehicle. I choosed the option 1. But talking with CarMax about a option to use that check of 3221$ to repair the car, they told me that if i want to keep the vehicle i have to pay 7000$+ (remaining balance of the lease) When i asked them where is that stated in the contract, that they are allowed to request full amount in upfront if i have any damages on car, they put me on hold for 1h30min and transfered me over 2 departments in that time. At the end i was talking with "supervisor" and she "explained me" that it is stated in their internal policy which is not available on their website neither do in my contract/paperwork that i got from them. She said that i never signed and never was awared of that, and i dont need to sign something like that but i cannot get access to my car if i dont pay 7000+$ in upfront. Now i have to hire the lawyer and to go on court with this company while my car is not in my possession and im still paying monthly rate for car and for insurance. Im using my car to work for UberEATS, DoorDash , PostMate. I cannot work , and i have to pay car in one week! Again, i never was awared that they are allowed to request payment in upfront remaining balance if i have ANY damages on the car, even if that is a total loss (i have already ordered parts to make car drive able) I NEVER SIGNED SOMETHING AS THAT, I NEVER WOULD! These information are not available ANYWHERE on the date 20. February 2020. ! I dont know how that can be legal ! Im considering this as heavy fraud ! ontracts about buying a car are long, but there is NEITHER THE ONE section talking about that they have law right to do this. I dont understand why they acted as this in my situation because i would keep paying my monthly rate and after my lease is over, title of the car would be mine as the car ofc. So it is not really matter for them in what condition car would be. But i cannot accept that there is some "INTERNAL POLICY" where customer is not awared of anything what is in there and it is affecting the whole contract that i have signed with them. Why we are signing the contract anyway ?? when they can write whatever they want in their "INTERNAL POLICY"

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Jefferson Germain

February 21st, 2020 Tallahassee, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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found so many great cars here. If your're looking to buy your first car, look no further!

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Michelle Rios

February 21st, 2020 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We used CarMax to find my husbands Mercedes Benz. He was able use their website to find the exact car he was looking for. He submitted the request and several options popped up. He was then able to select the one he wanted and have it delivered to the store nearby. The process was fun and the service was great.

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JDWain

February 21st, 2020 Tallahassee, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have used Car Max a few times to buy used cars. I find that they usually have very competitive prices and great and knowledgeable salesmen to help me with my car purchase

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Lorna Johnston

February 20th, 2020 West Valley City, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We have bought three cars from CarMax and the experience was far better than any other car buying experiences we have had. The second car we got was a surprise for my husband and it was down to two cars. They told me if he decided he wanted to pick a the one I didn’t get for him, he could trade if it was within three days. He liked the one I picked but decided he would rather have the other one. The trade was quick and totally pain free. Every interaction with CarMax has been great.

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tuk7

February 20th, 2020 Sandy, UT

Used them to compare cars we were looking at and helped save us from buying a junk one at another dealership where the sales lady lied to us outright. Even gave a false car fax.

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Kaysha Love

February 20th, 2020 Las Vegas, NV DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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CarMax is a company that thrives to ensure their customers are getting the most truthful rate on their cars. Ive been pleasantly surprised to see just how much this company genuinely cares about giving people the best price along with offering great warranties.

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Syl

February 19th, 2020 North Port, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The purpose of my visit to CarMax was to sell my vehicle. The service I received was excellent. The employee was well trained and knowledgeable. I really liked the service I received. The purpose of my visit to CarMax was the band of my vehicle.

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Nicholas Genes

February 18th, 2020 Eagle Mountain, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I used Carmax to buy my Jeep. They had a large selection to choose from and they didn’t make it a hassle to look around.

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Jami Lucas

February 18th, 2020 Cheyenne, WY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We got our car appraised from carmax and we were very disappointed with the offer.

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Juliann Mecham

February 18th, 2020 Managua, MN DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I used carmax to get the carfax for a car I was purchasing and it helped show a clean history

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Kun Hong Bae

February 18th, 2020 Poolesville, MD DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Very good experience. Good selection, ease of trade in, and good customer service from start to finish.

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Joanie Jeon

February 18th, 2020 Poolesville, MD DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have sold 3 cars for last 15 years and purchased 1 car at the Carmax. It’s very fast and easy process.