Bureau gives local store an 'F'

Newport Beach resident Darwin Pearson bought what he thought was a six-seat golf cart to drive his kids to school in from the Costa Mesa-based Electric Cart Warehouse at a local swap meet last summer.

Now he and other customers claim the company took them for a ride.

Pearson claims a salesman for the Electric Cart Warehouse told him the cart, which he purchased for $10,000 over Labor Day weekend, would go as fast as 25 to 30 mph, and could be licensed to drive on some local streets.

“It’s all been a complete lie — it’s just been a nightmare,” Pearson said.

Pearson claims the cart wouldn’t go faster than 18 mph when it was delivered — too slow to drive on the street. Pearson measured the speed with a GPS unit.

“They bought a cart that was not street legal and tried to modify it — they got a cheaper cart, threw a few mods on it and are selling it as a street-legal cart,” Pearson said.

The Better Business Bureau has logged six complaints against the Electric Cart Warehouse, said Tina Renee, a customer service representative from the bureau.

“One consumer complained that he was sold a cart without an engine that wouldn’t run,” Renee said. “Another purchased a cart that wasn’t delivered and wanted a refund.”

The Better Business Bureau has given the Electric Cart Warehouse an “F” rating for its not responding to customer complaints, and for its failing to provide basic contact information for the business to the bureau, Renee said.

Attempts to reach the management of Electric Cart Warehouse, 2957 Randolph Ave., Costa Mesa, were unsuccessful Friday, and staff members at the company said they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Pearson hoped to use the cart to pick up and drop off his children from school. He claims the salesman told him the cart would be detailed and delivered to his home the same day, with all the paperwork in order and a two-year warranty.

“They said they were going to make it look so good you couldn’t look at it in the sun it would shine so much,” Pearson said. “They said I could use it to take my kids to school on Tuesday morning.”

It was after dark by the time the cart was delivered to his home, all covered in plastic wrap. The cart had not been detailed and Pearson was dismayed to find out it wouldn’t go as fast as the salesman claimed, he said.

Pearson was told there was a problem with a computerized controller in the cart when he called to complain, but it still wouldn’t go faster that 18 mph after workers from the Electric Cart Warehouse worked on the cart, he said.

Pearson claims he later learned that the model of cart he bought from the Electric Cart Warehouse has a low-speed transmission that won’t allow it to go much faster than 20 mph, even with modification.

He also claims workers at the Electric Cart Warehouse switched out the new batteries he had in the cart with old, worn out ones when he took the cart in to try to have it modified to go faster.

A radio Electric Cart Warehouse installed in the cart for him picks up nothing but static unless the cart is parked, Pearson claims.

Now Pearson says the company won’t answer his phone calls. Two registered letters he sent to Electric Cart Warehouse were returned, he said.

Nicol Jordon, who lives in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., and her brother bought three used golf carts from the Electric Cart Warehouse from its website in December. The red and green carts were meant to be Christmas presents, one cart was meant for her mother, another was for her father, who has Parkinson’s disease.

“He can’t get around very well and he has a really nice garden. We thought it would be nice if we could drive him around in it,” Jordon said.

The third cart was meant to be Jordon’s Christmas present from her brother.

Jordon and her brother sent the Electric Cart Warehouse a wire transfer on Dec. 16 for $16,545, she claims.

“When they asked for a wire transfer, something in my head said, ‘Isn’t that strange?’” Jordon said, but she shrugged off her suspicions.

Two of the carts arrived after Christmas at Jordon’s mother’s farm in New Jersey, but were in such bad condition, her mother refused the shipment, Jordon claims.

The carts were missing hubcaps, hood latches, had broken light lenses, damaged fenders and the undercarriages and battery terminals were badly corroded, according to Jordon.

“We knew they were used, but the ones they showed us pictures of on the website clearly didn’t look like this,” Jordon said.

A salesperson from the company told Jordon “they were spectacular,” she claims.

“They were complete junk,” Jordon said. “I’m really mad they did this to my brother.”

The third cart arrived in New Jersey on Friday, but also wasn’t in good condition, Jordon said.

Now Jordon claims that the company either won’t answer or return her phone calls. She’s filed complaints with the California Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau.

Jordon claims she sent a request to her bank to have the money from the wire transfer refunded, but the Electric Cart Warehouse’s bank refused, saying the money was for services due.

“I’m definitely not ordering anything online from now on,” Jordon said. “I’ll do my homework. This taught me a little lesson, but a pricey one.”

BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at brianna.bailey@latimes.com.

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