Fraudulent dealer or legitimate error? - Ford Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007 Thread Starter
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Fraudulent dealer or legitimate error?

We all have heard alot of bad things about car dealers. Well I have a little story about a local dealer here in Cali. Now I will let you all be the judge, so feel free to chime in with opinions. So sit right back and I will tell you a tale...

The story starts about 18 months ago. I went to a local Ford dealer to take advantage of the employee pricing and buy a Mercury Mariner. Which is exactly what I did. Shortly after I bought the car, I was in the market to buy a house, so I decided to check my credit. When I checked my credit, I discovered that the car I had used as a trade-in to buy the Mariner was not yet paid off, at this point it was over 2 months since I bought the Mariner. I called the dealer about the tradi-in payoff. After another month of calling the dealer daily and calling my finance company daily, I finally got the trade-in paid off and taken out of my name. The dealer claims that due to the overwhelming success of the Ford employee pricing program, they just got behind in paperwork

Now fast foward a few months to June 2006. I decide to buy my college bound daughter a new Ford Ranger. I had an older Eclipse that I was going to use as a trade-in. I went to the same local FOrd dealer (mainly because my brother recommended them, for he has done business with them for years). Again, I find the new vehicle I wanted to buy and we negotiated a great price on the car I was trading in. The deal completed I thought all was good. Then by chance, I decided to check on the status of the payoff of the trade-in. Guess what I discovered...you got it, a month and a half after the deal was completed, the dealer still had not paid of the trade-in. Again, I call the dealer and inquire. Now the dealer tells me it is just an oversight. However, it took almost another month to get the dealer to actually pay off the trade in. The dealer still claims it was an oversight when they had a personnel change.

Now, here is where the story gets interesting. About 5 months ago, I decided to buy a new truck (big surprise there, heh) and trade in my '06 Fusion. So I go back to the same dealer. This time I only deal with a high ranking executive, Carl, of the dealership that my brother deals with. I was skeptical about buying a vehicle from this dealer. I expressed my concerns regarding paying off my trade to Carl. Carl assured and then reassured me that he would personally make sure no such errors happened this time. So after some debate and negotiation, I agreed to trade-in my Fusion for a '06 F-150. However, being the skeptical fool I am, and knowing the history, I personally watch what happens. Sure enough, the next payment comes due on the Fusion (trade-in), I call the dealer, they mention because I bought the nerw truck within a week of the payment being due, the payment must have crossed in the mail. Sure enough 6 days after the due date, I check the finace company and they state a minimum payment was recieved fromt he dealer. Now I am concerned, why is the dealer only sending in a minimum payment instead of the payoff amount. I call the dealer and get the run-around. Carl is conviently never in the office. Then in mid October 2006 (a month and a half after purchase) I get a letter from my finance company regarding needing proof insurance for the trade-in car and the same week, get a check form the dealer for $90. I of course inquire with the dealer. Here is what I am told: The $90 check is the amount I over paid on my trade-in and Carl is not in the office. I calculate the actual amount owed ont he trade-in and discover the refund to me should be closer to $210 as opposed to $90. I then go the dealer, talk to Carl about the problem, and he tells me "it is just money." I then discover the $90 check is my DMV refund for transferring my old plates to my new truck, not the refund for overpaying the trade-in. Carl tells me he will take care of it.

Needless to say, Carl did nto take care of it. In late November, I get a call form my fiance company regarding the trade-in that they have not received any payment since September. Now I have two days to pay the payment or it affects my credit history. I call the deal and ask what is going on? They give me the run around some more. I pay the minimum payment to protect myself. I then call the dealer and tell them they have 24 hours to make the payoff (this was on a Thursday) or I turn the case over to the State Geberal Attorney's office for possible fraud. On that following Tuesday I call the finance company to check fo rthe payoff, not there, I then go to the dealer an demand to see the owner. Owner is on vacation. I demand to see the General Manager...not there. I then firmly but polietly tell the fiance manger I will be back on Friday with court paper for various acounst fo fraud, consumer protection violations, theft and etc. Magically the trade-in is paid of by that Friday (end of November). Still no check for the overpayment.

During that time, around late October, I was talking to one of the salesmen, who distinctly remembered my trade-in becasue he was the one who resold it. Yes, you got it campers...the purchase of my truck was the first week of September, the dealer did not pay off my trade-in until the end of November, but somehow resold my trade-in sometime in early to mid October. One must ask, how can a dealer sell a used car without title, for the finance company verified that the title was not released until the end of November?

Now the story gets really interesting (yes, I know it is a long story). Yesterday I got a check int he mail from the same dealer for $209. Just about what I was expecting from my over payment. The envelope was postmarked 05 FEB 2006, but he check was dated for )ctober 04, 2006, and at the bottom of the check said "Void after 90 days." I took the check today to the dealer and demanded cash. The dealer said it could not giv me cash but would rewrite a new check, but the manager was not in. I toild them I was going to take the apparent fraudulent check to the count District Attorney, suddenly they were writing me a ne wcheck. I got a new check dated for today. I took the check the dealer's bank to cash it. Guess what...the dealer's own bank would not honor the check. AZccording tot he bank manager, "the check is non-negotiable." There is a remark on the account, but we can nto tell you what that remark it. Now the dealer wont honor the check. Is this case of fraud or is there a legitimate reason for all of this?

Oh by the way, my brother just received a check fromt he same deale rfor canceling his prepaid maintainence contract. The same thing happended witht he check. A check was sent yesterday, dated for September 6, 2006, with "not valid after 90 days" printed ont he check. He demanded a new check got one and the dealer bank refused to cash it. Things that make you go hhhmmmm......

Now this is the end of my tale....for now!

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007
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As a small business owner, I know a lot of businesses run on a series of revolving debt. A giant ball that tends to get rolled along. Some businesses start to get overwhelmed by this giant ball of debt and that's when problems start. It sounds like the dealer is robbing Peter to pay Paul. I'll bet this dealership doesn't have long to survive. Fraud? Maybe. Poor accounting? undoubtedly. I certainly wouldn't deal with them.


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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007
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Wow I don't know what to say. Jerks... I would have a
breakdown after all that!! Yep never use them again and
spread the word however you can. Still contact BBS Better
Business Bueral and let them know too. Maybe they already
have many complaints???

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007
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I am smelling fraud myself. but, really, you went back a third time?

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007
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I would have drove the truck thought there show room. Its hard to control so much anger without lashing out. on the other hand you can take them to court and cause them some pain like they did you, and make them pay your fees in the process.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by white angel View Post
Wow I don't know what to say. Jerks... I would have a
breakdown after all that!! Yep never use them again and
spread the word however you can. Still contact BBS Better
Business Bueral and let them know too. Maybe they already
have many complaints???
I have made a formal complaint to the CA DMV, the ones who control their delaership license, the California State Attorney's office, fraud department, the local county ditrict attorney, and I have filed a small claims suit to recoupe the money I had to pay out on the trade-in and the overpayment of the trade-in, as well as the cancelled prepaid maintainence plan I had at the time (which I have yet to be refunded). I am in the process of checking with some colleagues to determine whether I want to initiate a civil law suit. I have since found several other customers who have had the same thing happen to them. I have contacted several of my journalist buddies to give them as much negative publicity as possible. I tell everyone I meet NOT to do business with VACAVILLE FORD & MERCURY. I have contacted the Better Business Bureau and filed a complaint; as well as the all of the Chamber of Commerce in the county. Then for kicks and giggles, I contacted a colleague of mine who works for the IRS to initiate an investigation and audit fo their records.

As for going back a third time, the first two times, they were just slow on paying off the car, they at least made payments then paid it off. They did not resell the car before paying them off, nor did they send me a check that was no good. Carl is supposed to be a friend of the family.

Oh yeah, I have documented everything and even got witnesses for most of it.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007
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Cool, sounds like you have your ducks in a row!!

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007
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Just wondering...how can you sell a car that owe money on? Doesn't the finance company have the title until you pay off the loan? I guess I don't understand the rules where you live. But here you are responsible for your loan...not the dealer...no matter what they say. Before I ever give them the car, which I couldn't without the title, I would have demanded the amoung of money necessary to pay off the remainder of the loan if that's what they agreed to, and I would have then paid the loan.

Never trust a dealer...no matter how good they are. The good ones are few and far between.

Glad it's working out for you. They're definately playing "cash flow" games. Unfortunately, when they go bankrupt some people are going to get hurt because they will owe money on a car they no longer possess. Keep the attorneys after them. Definately doesn't smell right.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ragnar View Post
Just wondering...how can you sell a car that owe money on? Doesn't the finance company have the title until you pay off the loan? I guess I don't understand the rules where you live. But here you are responsible for your loan...not the dealer...no matter what they say. Before I ever give them the car, which I couldn't without the title, I would have demanded the amoung of money necessary to pay off the remainder of the loan if that's what they agreed to, and I would have then paid the loan.

Never trust a dealer...no matter how good they are. The good ones are few and far between.

Glad it's working out for you. They're definately playing "cash flow" games. Unfortunately, when they go bankrupt some people are going to get hurt because they will owe money on a car they no longer possess. Keep the attorneys after them. Definately doesn't smell right.
Unfortunately here in Cali, it is normal business for a dealer to take your trade-in at the time you purhcase the new car. The dealer usually has a DMV section in the dealership to facilitate the paperwork. The normal practice is for the dealer to either send out a check to the finance company or wire the finance company the payoff amount within three days. Yes, it is true here that you are still responsilbe for the loan until it is paid off, hence why I mad a payment on the car after it was traded in in order to protect my credit. Generally the deal is fluent. You agree to buy a new car, you negotiate the price of the new car and the amount fo rhte trade in. The dealer does the legalpaperwork to transfer the ownership. Once payment is sent in, the finance company send the title to the dealer so the dealer can resell the trade-in.

This dealer obviously resold my trade-in over a month prior to paying it off and receiving the title.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvandermey View Post
Unfortunately here in Cali, it is normal business for a dealer to take your trade-in at the time you purhcase the new car. The dealer usually has a DMV section in the dealership to facilitate the paperwork. The normal practice is for the dealer to either send out a check to the finance company or wire the finance company the payoff amount within three days. Yes, it is true here that you are still responsilbe for the loan until it is paid off, hence why I mad a payment on the car after it was traded in in order to protect my credit. Generally the deal is fluent. You agree to buy a new car, you negotiate the price of the new car and the amount fo rhte trade in. The dealer does the legalpaperwork to transfer the ownership. Once payment is sent in, the finance company send the title to the dealer so the dealer can resell the trade-in.

This dealer obviously resold my trade in over a month prior to paying it off and receiving the title.

Same here, thankfully they paid mine off quickly.

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looks like Vacaville Ford messed with the wrong guy... i hope you stick it to them so they wont screw anyone else..
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-07-2007 Thread Starter
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The only thing equal to a scorned women is a pissed off attorney who has nothing but time to deal with weasels like this.
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I just pulled up their record on the BBB website...and it seems they sure have had many complaints for various reasons, including sales practices.

Here's the link if any one is interested in checking it out...

http://www.goldengatebbb.org/commonr...html?bid=12696

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Mr V sounds like the dealership is having cash flow problems. The thing you want to check if they financed your car for you is the paper work making sure all the numbers add up right no "mistakes" in addition. The next thing I would do is call the finance company to make sure the total amount financed is correct Here we had a dealership who had a sales man over finance the loan He would take the total amount due say a payment of 450 a month for 4 years and add 1 month to it there for getting himself a extra 450 and you a loan for 4 years and 1 month
most people never checked cuz the monthly amount was what they were quoted and he got away with it, with alot of people .

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Yes this is fraud, def. a misrepresentation of a fact, that is material, with knowledge of its falsity and intention to deceive. Actually multiple counts of fraud.

Dealer is over his head in debt as many others commented. He begging from Peter to pay Paul. Problem is he messing with people's credit histories along the way.

AG's office needs a letter with your post in it. May want to send it to the local paper if you are in a nasty mood.


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