Public Motors of Orange County

Santa Ana, CA

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Consumer Complaints and Reviews

Satisfaction Rating

There were so many issues with the vehicle I purchased from this dealer (Public Motors in Santa Ana, CA)! The main issue was the fact that I had to replace the transmission less than 2 months after purchasing this vehicle from them. (Note: At the time of sale I was told by the salesperson that: a) the vehicle came with a warranty and, b) "If there was an issue with the vehicle I could take it to any mechanic/dealership to have it fixed".) After days of calling Public Motors and leaving numerous messages that were never returned, I posted a message to their Facebook page (which no longer exists). I finally got a call back and was given another number/person to call... This happened 4 or five times (I think I was given a total of 7 phone numbers... I do have a record of them all).

After several more days (going into the two week mark) I finally spoke to someone (Ricardo), and he told me that, "there was a third party I had to go through for the warranty" (which is not stated on my original Warranty paperwork) and that he would fax/email me a copy of this information. This never happened... I called him twice for it, twice he said he would "get it to me", and it never happened. To top it off... right after, their Facebook page was gone, their website was down, and every phone number I was given no longer worked. Instead of being a "Stand Up" business and holding to their word, I will now have to seek recourse through the courts. This was beyond a horrible experience. This business should be closed down (have since found numerous sites/postings where others whom have bought from them have had similar experiences).

Satisfaction Rating

I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS PLACE! It was a HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE and they DO NOT know to provide customer service. I purchased a vehicle from Public Motors less than a month ago. I had to drive 8 hours in order to get the vehicle. On my way back I noticed a noise coming from the pulleys or timing belt of my car. I called them since they offered me a limited warranty (3 months or 3k miles) that according to them, "all the cars we sell come with it". The girl who answered my call said she didn't know what I was talking about and that she was not aware of that warranty, even though they told me all of our cars come with it.

After I got frustrated, she said she was going to call their service department and that she would call me back in 15 minutes to help me out. I waited 2 hours before I called back; just to find out she had forgotten about my call! She then told me the car had to be COMPLETELY BROKEN in order for them to fix it. I called again so I could talk to someone else. A guy then gave me their warranty's company phone number so I could call them. I read them a description of the warranty and they said they didn't provide that type of warranty and that they didn't know what the Public Motors dealership had gave me.

I called back Public Motors and a woman who sounded like she was someone important there, the manager or something, told me that they could actually fix my car if I were to bring it on an 8-hour tow from my hometown to Santa Ana, at my OWN EXPENSE. I just gave up and decided to fix the car on my own. As of now I will be spending over 1,000 to fix the problem. P.S. I guess they had just sprayed something to the engine so it wouldn't make the noise when showing it to people, and after that 8-hour drive it got dry. I wish I could have read YELP reviews before dealing with these careless people. DEFINITELY DON'T BUY FROM THEM.

Satisfaction Rating

SCAMMERS!! Save yourself. We recently bought a car less 1 week ago. We told them the brakes are bad and they had us make an appointment to have them serviced. We drove off the lot at 9 pm after 6 hours that it took them to gather all the information needed in order to buy the car. The next morning we get in the car and there no visor on the driver's side. Thanks let me drive blinded by the sun! That's just the first problem. The crank shaft on the car goes on and off so the check engine light turns on! I go to my service appointment. 8 hrs of waiting for the car to be ready and guess what? They say they don't have time to fix it, even though I made an appointment!

They give me a 2010 Honda loaner car, which breaks down the next day! I call them to help me since the service center is closed on Sundays. They say "there nothing we can do today!" I told them "fine. Well let me drive to the dealership and pick up another loaner." Not surprised when they say no! This dealership is a scam. They sell you cars with all kinds of problems. The loaner cars are just cars right off their lot. More problems! I paid for the best warranty and I still find myself with no car. We will be seeking lemon law very soon if these problems are not solved. As well as BBB!

Satisfaction Rating

I financed A 2010 AUDI A4 from Public Motors on Feb 4, 2015. I returned the car for repair approx. on march 10, 2015 for repair to the starter. I made my first payment on March 6th 2015. I received the car back from repair on March 17. I drove the car off the lot. A mile later the car had engine trouble and was towed back to the Public Motors and I was told that the engine was damaged and need a new engine. I had to pay a $250 deductible. I was told by the head mechanic ** that the car would be ready in 2-3 weeks. I went to Public motors several times after the 3rd week to check on the car and all reps there gave me short answers and didn't give me any useful information on my car. My car was removed for the lot and was outsourced to another repair shop to replace my engine.

I asked if I could have the number to the shop where my car was being repaired, was told by the head mechanic ** that he couldn't tell me where my car was being held. I asked why I couldn't have the information. He just told me that they don't give that info to their customers and that my car would be ready on Tue, which was April 14th. I called him back on April 14th and he told me the car was still waiting on parts and it would be ready before the weekend. I called again on the following Friday (April 17th) and was told that the car was still waiting on parts and they should be done with it tomorrow (Saturday April 18th). I didn't call him until the following Monday April 20th and he told me he was going to all the shop and call me back. I never received a call back from him or any rep from Public Motors the entire time I was dealing with my car being repair, even though I was repeatedly told that I would receive a call back.

I called him back 3 hours later and he told me that they haven't finished repairing the car and that he would personally make sure he would go get the car in the morning. I called him the following morning and he didn't got get the car. He said he would call down there and see what the status and call me back, which he never did. At this time I am fed up with the run around that this company (Public Motors) is giving me. Short answers, not following through on ANYTHING they told me, not letting me know when my car was being located (which I'm sure is against the law), and not returning my car back to me in a reasonable enough time frame.

I called yesterday April the head mechanic said he was taking my car home from the repair shop they out sourced and bring it to Public motors. I didn't approve of him taking my car home at all. This whole company need to be shut down. I'm calling the BBB to file a complain soon as I finish this one to see if they can help with getting me a refund on my car. Public motors is a sham company and full of snakes and liars. I should have walked away when they told me to lie on my application for financing.

Satisfaction Rating

I bought a car from Public Motors in Santa Ana, I put $4000 down. The car was not ready for me to take home. It also had a missing piece which they said they were going to fix. They said it will be ready in a few days. They gave me an exact date in which the car was ready. I said okay I'll be here the next day first thing in the morning. I went in and the car was not ready. I was upset due to the fact that I live about an hour away and I didn't get a courtesy call. I left.

During the week they give me a call saying that the cat is now ready. I go in the following Sunday. Guess what?? The car was not ready no one seemed to know nothing about it and the manager on duty had no idea. I did see the car and I approached the car and it was still missing the piece they said they were going to fix. I go inside and the car wouldn't turn on. I left extremely upset, very discouraged, and disappointed.

Before I departed I told the manager on duty for who ever was in charge to call me. They never called. I left messages multiple to every manager possible and not once a call back. One day a manager answer (Chris **) he sounded nervous and hesitated once he knew it was me. He had no shame very disrespectful and hang up the phone on me. I submitted a complaint under BBB hopefully they can help me get my money back. (Public motors) in Santa Ana the worse experience of my life.

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Satisfaction Rating

I had to go to the BBB to get my complaint resolved, which it isn't completely. Basically I agree with all of these negative reviews. They are liars, they hold money needed to be refunded for not good reason (which is why I had to involve the BBB), they sweet talk you then stab you in the back. By the way, the BBB got them to give me my refund the day Public Motors received something from them, so if you are having issue, I strongly recommend you contacting the BBB to get it resolved.

I bought a car mid-April. My issue had to do with the Auto-Gap insurance which I was lied to about and told that the bank financing our car was requiring it. It was a $895 fee!!!! Which I found out later, the finance people working at the dealership make the profit from selling this Auto-Gap policy. I was told I had 30 days to cancel and the money would be refunded within 90 days. I figured out the very next day after buying the car that we did not have to have this and complained and tried to cancel it. A 109 days later and only because I contacted the BBB did I actually get my refund.

Sally, the customer service manager, curtly told me, after I found out this was an in-house problem (refunding the money) as the contact was never submitted to the company that process the contracts and I was wondering why it wasn't expedited any since they lied to me about it, that "any refund takes 90 days". This outraged me because she was wrong - the cancellation form states, "MAY TAKE UP TO 90 days", which implies it could be sooner. But it definitely doesn't say, "90 days or until our accounting department gets around to it!!" Seeing as it ended up being 109 days! And there is something wrong with signing a contract (the Auto-Gap contract) that states that a customer should receive a refund in 60 days, but then Public Motors choose to make it 90.

I was also upset that I had to pay interest on this $895 for 4 1/2 months, so BK the general manager told me (and apparently Sally had never told him I had any type of complaint until this point 4 months later) that they would refund me the $16.20 in interest and give me a free tank of gas or refund me an oil change as an apology. I closed my complaint with the BBB because Public motors had refunded the Auto-Gap and “was going to pay me” the interest I accrued on my account which I had asked for from them (and give me a tank of gas as an apology, which I didn't ask for). So therefore I was going to be satisfied.

However, when I submitted my tank of gas for a refund (which they were going to pay me for with the interest I was promised) they are telling me now that they will not pay me unless I sign something with them which says, among other things, "I, my name, purchased a vehicle from Public Motors, had a dispute and Public Motors resolved it. I am very satisfied with the way Public Motors handled the transaction. I agree not to discuss this settlement or to slander or disparage Public Motors at any time, either verbally or in writing, or by any communication on the internet."

I refuse to sign anything that say that as I am "very satisfied with the way Public Motors handled the transaction" - a matter that is only semi-resolved and only because I involved the BBB. And I do not want to remove anything I have written about this company because it's truth (not slander or disparaging) and others should know what they did by having a record of it on the BBB or other places that asks for reviews of the company. I am very sure I am not the only one who this has happened to, others just probably never questioned the extra cost or thought it was necessary as well.

As a result of signing the form they sent me I would have to agree to remove the Google review that I did on their company as well as this complaint. So the way I look at it, they told me they would pay me the $16 and offered me a tank of gas, not as an apology, but rather as a way to shut me up. When I wrote and asked Sally about it, saying that no one told me at any point that I would need to sign something like this, she told me it was a generic form they use as a settlement agreement. If that is the case, they should have told me I was going to have to sign something like that, but 2 phone calls from the general manager and several emails back and forth with the customer service manager and no one said a word. I asked her to have BK, the general manager, call me to discuss this further.

That was a week ago and no one has called me to discuss this. I can only conclude that they do not want to completely fix this situation of my husband and I being lied to by several people in their company, most directly the finance manager. That is very poor customer service on their part. Don't buy a car from here!!

Satisfaction Rating

Honda Fit was purchased on 3/4/12 with broken fog light, arm rest on driver's side, visor clip, spare tire cover. Public Motors promised to fix the fog light, visor clip & arm rest at no cost. Calls made by us to confirm if parts are available were to no avail. No one returned our phone calls for weeks, despite the numerous messages we left. The first week of April, call was received from Sally stating that parts have arrived & fog lights will be arriving next. Appointment was set for 4/17/12.

On 4/16/12, we dropped the car for fixing. The next day, Louie, the service department supervisor received the car. On 4/18/12, call was received stating car is ready for pick up. We noticed only the fog light was replaced, asked why the arm rest which is the most damaged was not replaced. Staff service department states that they cannot get the parts anymore because they don't have it. They are not going to replace it, considering the fact that they called telling us that parts have arrived. From our point of view, this is a total disappointment & act of deceiving customers. Please help us with this issue. Thank you.

Satisfaction Rating

I'm Dennis ** and have just bought an Acura TL from Public Motors. It hasn’t been even a month yet the car breaks down. I have talked to Sally ** and she informed me that they (Public Motors) are not obligated/required to lend me a loaner but here's my problem, it's not my fault the car breaks down if there's anything this is very inconvenient for me. I rely very much on my car for daily living and according to Sally, it's also not their fault (Public Motors) but here's the thing. I put $3,000 down for a car but I don't have a car right now. This will affect my day to day living. I need a car/loaner. It's not my fault. If no action is taken, I will go directly to the proper authorities for immediate action. Thank you.

Satisfaction Rating

I went to this auction site cause of an advertisement they had on a car, and like most dealers I found out when I arrived they didn't have that car, or was at a different lot out, or sold. And so I looked around, and was told that bank-owned cars are auctioned off on Saturdays, but I could put in bid now and see if the bank accepts it. Well, I found and test drove a Volvo 2005 and so I put in a bid and the salesperson came back after talking to guy in the booth. The salesperson said the price of the car valued by CarFax was $13k and so it ended up with a purchase price of $11k. But I came to find out that they advertised the car online for $7,900. But since I didn't know about that, and they didn't volunteer it was advertised for this price, I was ripped $3000 of my money. All the while, the salesperson and finance guy were saying, “Wow, you got a great price on this, got it for a steal!"


I purchased a 2002 VW Passat in early August 2009. I cancelled the gap insurance late August. I was told I had to wait 45 days for the $595 refund. I forgot about the refund until 12/7/09. Then I called dealership and was told they were having financial difficulty and would have to wait until after the first of the year for my refund. And I found they never activated my gap insurance with Ownerguard, but they kept my money. The dealership has not been honest to me in regards to my money. I should have received the $595 months ago.

Also, I am having difficulty cancelling the extended warranty, as the dealership is withholding the $1,009 refund. The company (Warranty Solutions) has already paid their portion of $640 to the dealership. The dealership owes the remaining $369. The dealership could at least refund the $640 that has already been paid to them. I can wait for the remaining $369.

I bought a used car, and was pressured into buying an expensive service contract, that would cover almost anything. A couple of years later, we tried to have the alternator replaced, which should have been covered. Instead, we discovered that the policy we paid $1,415 for, was never obtained from the insurance company (Value Protection). We contacted Public Motors, who said they had used a different insurance company instead, but the terms should be identical. However, the new insurance company (Portfolio) said our policy would only cover the power train. We called Public Motors again, and they said they would send a check right away to Portfolio to upgrade the policy. We then waited another week to repair the car, and Portfolio still had not received the check. I called Public Motors, and left a message to complain. They never responded. We ended up paying for the $645 repair ourselves. I paid $1,415 (plus interest) for a policy that we did not get, and had to pay another $645 for a repair that should have been covered. I also went without the use of the car for 2 weeks.



I bought a used car from them about 3 months ago and they told me I will receive my car's registration and license plate within 90 days. Now is 3 days short of 90 days and they have not even send the purchase papers or documents to the DMV.


Beware!!! This company takes advantage of people that are unaware of actual prices. They hide this deception behind their auction style bidding and suggested retail price that is almost 50% higher than Kelley Blue Book!!!!

I found a vehicle on the internet and called the company to see if the car was available. They said it was and I made an appointment to see it. I asked the receptionist if they accepted trade-ins and she said "oh yes, they'll work with you!"

When I arrived I was forced to check in and give my personal information and then I was given a sheet that explained I could make bids on cars with no pressure and at my own pace. I liked the idea.

I began looking at the vehicles and in particular looked for the vehicle I had made an appointment to see. I was told it was in the shop and it would several hours until it would be done.

I continued looking at other cars and noticed the suggested retail price was almost double the Kelley Blue Book price. And most cars had scrathes, small chips on the hood and high miles. They were the losers among car dealers at the auctions where they purchase them.

I pulled a salesman aside and told him I came three hours to see a certain vehicle. Turns out it was sold the day before on ebay!

I found a similar vehicle priced at $20,000 and I had an exact print-out of that vehicle for sale at another car lot for $10,900. I told the salesman I would offer to trade-in my car and have a loan no more than $12,000. He told me his boss said no!

They knew I had caught on to their scheme. I'm going to turn them in to the car dealer association next!

Public Motors of Orange County Company Profile

Company Name:
Public Motors of Orange County
2114 East 1st Street
Santa Ana
Postal Code: