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Let’s Make A Deal

By Staff | Dec 4, 2012

OK, I will confess. I am a vehicle junkie. Like a lot of men out in the world, I enjoy cruising car lots, looking over the offerings, and, of course, doing a little daydreaming about what it might be like to drive the latest and greatest on four wheels.

I know I’m not alone.

This past summer, I had the occasion to trade vehicles. I hadn’t really planned on doing so – I was thinking more about getting through the upcoming winter months and doing something next spring. But, I happened across a deal that really worked out well and took the plunge. It was a great experience I got the type of vehicle I’d been thinking about, at a very reasonable price, and got more than I expected for my trade-in. The experience at the dealership was great, and I’ve been 150 percent satisfied since then.

But the other night, as I sat in my recliner cruising the Internet, I found a story about a fellow car-buyer who didn’t fare as well as I did.

I share it with you here.

A gentleman in Virginia man spent four hours in jail after he purchased a new Chevrolet Traverse from a dealership back in May of this year. With the deal made, our new-car buyer signed the sales contract for $34,000 for the vehicle and left the dealership, apparently satisfied with the transaction.

But that’s where the story starts to get good.

In the process of making the original deal, the sales staff at the dealership sold the Traverse to our buyer for $5,600 less than they should have.

The first night the buyer had the vehicle, he had a change of heart regarding the color and returned to the dealership the next day to swap the blue model he’d bought the day before for a black colored model.

As the story played out, the dealer’s sales manager made the swap of the vehicles, allegedly without telling the buyer that the black SUV he wanted instead of the blue one was $5,600 more expensive. The buyer signed a new contract for the $34,000 original price he’d agreed to the day before and went home, happy as a clam.

But, the dealership owner wasn’t so happy. When he figured out our buyer had paid $34,000 for a Traverse valued at $39,600, he wanted the mistake fixied – Pronto!

The buyer was sent a new contract for the higher price, but he refused to sign the new deal. Do you blame him?

When the buyer didn’t sign the new contract for a higher price, the dealership called the local police and claimed the buyer had stolen the vehicle, two weeks after he’d signed the original Purchase contract. Law enforcement officers drove to the man’s home, placed him under arrest and jailed him for a total of four hours while the mess was sorted out. After four hours in the Big House, one miffed car buyer was released when the police and District Attorney figured out the guy hadn’t committed a crime.

Now, the president of the dealership has gone on record saying he owes the man an apology on behalf of the dealership, and says he intends to do right by the buyer by letting him have the black vehicle at the agreed-upon $34,000 price.

Our buyer has politely said, “Too late for that.” He’s hired an attorney who also said it’s a little too late for saying, ‘sorry.’ Two lawsuits have been filed against the dealer, accusing the business of malicious prosecution, slander, defamation of character and abuse of process. All told, the two lawsuits seek a total of $2.2 million in damages, plus attorney fees.

That $5,600 seems awfully cheap, doesn’t it?

I’m betting that our buyer got rid of that Traverse post-haste and bought a replacement from a different dealer.

Mistakes can happen, everyone knows that. But, this seems to have escalated completely out of control.

Even though the state license plates say “Virginia Is For Lovers”, I’d say there’s one car-buyer in Virginia who goes out of state for his vehicle purchases from now on.