HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Dozens of protestors who have gathered outside of CarMax in Glen Allen over the past few days are being paid to be there.
“We have paid protestors who have come out, we’re happy to do that,” Michael Donovan, who organized the protest, said.
Donovan said he bought a car at CarMax that died after three days. He said he returned the car to the company under the five day return policy, but they had already ordered the title be made in his name.
"CarMax had power of attorney, and could have transferred the ownership based on that power of attorney, they didn’t, instead they sued me, and now they’re trying to get me to buy the lemon car back," Donovan said.
A CarMax spokesperson said that is not the case, and sent WTVR CBS 6 a statement that said they made a mistake in ordering the title too early, but they acknowledged the issue, honored their five day guarantee, bought the car back from Donovan, and asked him for the title.
CarMax said Donovan refused to return the title for three months and retained an attorney who gave the title to the court, not CarMax.
CarMax said the issue could have been resolved months ago without issue.
A post on Craigslist advertised the protest, which said people would be paid $60 to protest a “local business,” but it didn’t name the business. Donovan confirmed the post is his and responded to the question:
“If you pay somebody to be somewhere they have no investment in the cause…is it really legitimate?”
“I think you’d be surprised at how many protests are actually compensated,” Donovan said.
Most of the protestors outside the used car retailer’s headquarters said they had never “personally” had any issues with the company.
The full statement from CarMax is below:
It is absolutely unacceptable that Mr. Donovan is harassing CarMax’s customers and employees through these unnecessary and inauthentic protests. Mr. Donovan is recruiting protesters through Craigslist and appears to be paying them to participate in these protests. He is seeking to manipulate the media and the public in hopes of influencing CarMax’s decisions.
Mr. Donovan received a full refund for the vehicle he purchased. He refused for more than three months to sign the title back to CarMax.
We stand behind our vehicles and protect our customer’s investment with a 5-Day Money Back Guarantee on every used car we sell. Customers may simply bring back the car in the same condition it was purchased, and they’ll receive a full refund, with no hassles. Any assertion otherwise is inaccurate.
Below is more information on this situation:
Customer satisfaction is our top priority at CarMax. CarMax has made multiple attempts to resolve this situation amicably.
Mr. Donovan purchased a vehicle on behalf of his business, Nexus Services, from CarMax’s Harrisonburg store in October 2014. When Mr. Donovan returned his vehicle within our 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee period, CarMax provided a full refund. However, CarMax had mistakenly filed the title paperwork too soon after the purchase, thus retitling the vehicle in Nexus Services’ name. In order for CarMax to take back legal ownership of the vehicle, we requested that Mr. Donovan sign the title over to CarMax.
CarMax made arrangements several times with Mr. Donovan for him to sign over the title, including bringing it to his place of work at an agreed upon time, but he repeatedly failed to sign. As a last resort, after three months of attempting to resolve this amicably, CarMax had to pursue this legally.
On May 20, the court ordered Nexus Services and Mr. Donovan to provide the title paperwork to the CarMax Harrisonburg store by May 27. Instead of complying with the court’s order to deliver the title to the store, Mr. Donovan’s attorney delivered the title to the court. There is a hearing scheduled for June 10 in which CarMax should receive the title and all issues should be resolved. Last week, CarMax offered to dismiss the entire case if we could come to an agreement with Mr. Donovan, however he chose not to accept.