Gees, I wish I knew you guys before I pulled the trigger.
I will give you my sad story. Sorry about the length but if I can help out even one other buyer it will be worth the read.
I started doing my homework and looked at over 200 cadillacs on auto trader, ebay and other on-line sites and also locally in Twin Cities area. I spent about 2 solid months several nights a week and was keeping logs of final sale prices etc. I too figured out that there is a glut of Cadillacs in Florida and prices were a bit cheaper due to glut and also I live in salt belt and figured hey, no salt. I decided on a 2000 Deville DTS. wanted the 300 horses and also new body style, figuring better engineering, regular gas, redesign N*, tighter suspension, etc.
I got a bit weary following so many cars so finally wore down a bit and bid on a dolphin automotive ebay Carscarscars deal. Called the guy up and he shut down auction early for me at $10,250 for 2000 Deville DTS, Crimson red with new chrome color after market grille ($500) and had 52,000 miles. (no sunroof and no night vision, had rest of DTS options including back up sensor.) Person on phone convinced me it was between good and excellent and when I asked if I could get it inspected after buying it he said that it couldn't leave the lot due to insurance purposes. I could get a 100 point inspection via ebay for $100 on-site but he said I would be wasting my money. (they over hype many of their cars as "dancers"). So I bit and bought. Now they tell you that if you do not like it you can say no and get a refund, etc. Once you fly to Florida (I got a $125 one-way flight) you are a bit pre-disposed to buy versus the lot down the street where you just drive home and sleep on it.
They were friendly enough, pick you up at the airport, nice looking gal behind counter, etc. Not really a car lot but an alley way with about 7-8 cadillacs laying around and a small office. I had run carfax on this car and saw two owners both from local Ft lauderdale and mileage pattern seemed okay. Carfax told me carscarscars bought at local dealer auction about a month earlier. They sell so many cadys that figured they had good eye at auction, and they back that talk up on phone.
Of course Crimson red catches your eye but car seemed to have many car wash type scratches all over plus other "keyed" scratches. Maybe they can be buffed? Front bumper blemish like 50 cent piece melted plastic, none of photos showed in any detail on ebay. Front tires had 3/32nds and rears were at wear bars. (50 photos on ebay but only front tires, no photo of backs. humm) I took for short drive with one of workers and looked for "check Engine" light, A/C seemed cold, told myself I could get new tires and decided I was over-reacting to scratches since a 2000 model. So I took it and started my drive back to Wisconsin.
On ride home tried to use defroster and vents were stuck on dash only. Later found out, when I learned to run the codes that I had a mode door actuator error code. Also tried the heated front seats and no good for either fronts, back seats did heat.
Once back to Wisconsin I took to the dealer and had inspected for heated seats and mode door etc. Repairs on those two things from dealer is about $500 for mode door and $1100 for seats. They also said I had worn to the nub front brakes, a bad wheel bearing front right and bad upper tie rod front left. Then they told me about the oil leak. Quite a nasty one. 3.5 quarts per 1000 miles or so, lots of smoke when stop etc. Could be the oil pan or half case gaskets mostly likely suspects. Repair is between $1500 and $3000. It did it not smoke down there when I looked at it but did as soon as I got home? Did they temperarily clean it off or seal it? Pan gaskets would take years to gradually fail not something sudden? I also now have a cracked boot on CV axle. Maybe result of Florida rubber meeting wisconsin freezing temps?
I immediately tried to use ebay and contact sellers but once they have your money forget it. They told me after third letter, what do you expect of a 7 year old car. Yes, I expect things to break after I own it for a while, but not to be sold to me broken and not disclose the issues, ones that must be obvious to someone who sells 300 cadys a year.
I tried to use Ebay insurance protection but they told me that it has to be a missing engine or tranny and if the car ran and moved in any fashion, it was not covered. Pretty narrow coverage. He said he would call the dealer for me, maybe that would get the compensation ball rolling. After several calls with run around he gave up.
I am now trying to contest my $2000 down payment via a credit card to make some of the repairs, will see how that goes. (They won't take credit card on balance; cashier check or money transfer, no credit cards).
Most blatant of all is the ad states "heated Seats" and they do not work in front, either side, and that is a false description of an ebay item anyway you look at it. ebay insurance guy says, "would you sue the newspaper who printed ad if seller is crook"? Which means ebay really doesn't give a rats tail either.
Yes, I was stupid, (my wife reminds me every day) but I have an engineering degree in computer science and still got conned. I am not a cady mechanic and should have not pretended to be. Plus there is no hoist so how are you going to look underneath with as low as these cars sit? How are you going to have a mechanic inspect a car and then the bidding gets above your price target. How many inspections can you pay for and end up not bidding on car. Several states away and ebay is fraught with risk. If I go to small claims court it is in Florida, I'm in Wisconsin. The sellers know that and it emboldens them.
I have spent over 100 hours on these forums as I try to figure out how to do some repairs myself. Oil leak is beyond my means, pulling engine, tranny etc. Yes, I bought at trade in value in Kelly Blue Book but if I have to put $5000 into a $10,000 car to get right, there goes my price margin right out the window. I have one expensive 2000 Deville DTS. considering I used hard earned money and drive them for at least 5 years or more I am reminded of my mistake every day. I feel like dumping it but could not sell it with a clean conscience with all the issues I found. And if I fix them the car is way overpriced, so pretty much stuck with this lemon.
I have found a great group of human beings on these forums that do help out for free. God Bless all of you. You restore my faith in humanity after a buying nightmare. I will be posted questions as I try to get this car right on a DIYer beer budget.
I apologize for the ramble. But please head my warning. If getting from Texas or Florida, go down and just look in person as this thread states. Plan on not buying and only buy if right. Make sure you get some kind of warranty, even if 30 days and make sure it covers a lot. Have it inspected by an independent mechanic. Be aware of auctions, or any long distance buy as you are pre-dispostioned to take car once you travel and have paid down payment and plane ticket already. And lastly, stay as far away from the dolphin carscars cars on ebay as you can get. Trust me on that one. Just Google them and see other horror stories on them, if you don't want to take my word for it. Also pay attention to their bad feedback. They have 98% good but you are only buying one car and if you get the other negative 2%, it might as well be 100% negative as you are only buying one car. They buy at auction, maybe real cheap due to issues, and represent eeryone of there cars as mint, look on ther ads and tell me if they ever disclose one negative fact. How can all of their auction cars be mint? Maybe when I get it fixed and new tires I will feel better, albeit throwing $5000 into the wind to get it to the level they described and represented the cars condition in the first place on the auction sure leaves you P.O.'ed. My only solice at this point is if I can get someone else to avoid my dealer or learn from my mistakes. I got suckered but please Caveot Emptor!