Found this "fine, pre-owned European car" advertised on eBay by a private dealer in Pennsylvania, but closed the deal over the phone. Before the dealer could ship it to me, the anti-lock braking system module failed. They replaced it at a cost to them of $1300, so they said. They assured me it had passed a 100+ point inspection and that it was in "excellent mechanical condition."
Despite two assurances from two different salespeople that the car was a non-smoker, it arrived reeking of smoke. They agreed to pay for a full detail, which did not eliminate the problem.
The driver-side mirror adjustment knob was broken off when it arrived.
The black plastic shroud under the engine compartment came loose on the way home from the place the dealer shipped it to. The highway chewed it to pieces. Dealer agreed to reimburse for the cost of replacement.
Took a 400-mile road trip the first weekend we had it. Drove well - quiet, fast, comfortable, with a slight alignment issue. Was very happy with my purchase at this point.
Passenger-side rear window regulator broke at 53000 miles.
Transmission began having trouble at 53000 miles/3 months after we bought it. Coming to a stop came to be an act of faith, as the car's engine/transmission did not want to stop turning despite letting off the gas and putting on the brakes. We got used to that. Then the tranny began slipping halfway through intersections or when pulling out into traffic. Didn't get used to that. Shortly thereafter, it gave up the ghost completely.
The local dealer and an independent VW garage both diagnosed complete trans. failure and recommended replacement at a cost of $5500. We had owned the car for seven months at that point. We gave the used car dealer an opportunity to fix the problem. He offered $500 and told me I should have purchased an extended warranty (true). I offered him another chance to fix the car. He declined. We brought suit against him. One year later, he settled. He paid us the purchase price of the car plus a $1000.