Friday, February 29, 2008

Car sale gone bad leaves dealer and buyer in bind

WOW, as proud as I am of being in the car business, I take no pride in stories like this.

According to a report filed at, Portsmouth, New Hampshire dealer, Seacoast Mazda hired Auto Gross of Chicago to supply a team of salesmen for the four-day sale. One of these temporary salesmen is at the nub of the complaints.

Apparently feeling that the dealership needed sales help during the four-day event, the dealer contracted with a sales promotion company to provide temporary, out-of-state, sales assistance. Robin Briand wanted to trade out of her year-old Nissan feeling the pressure of high payments and was enticed by the dealership’s ads.

According to Ms. Briand’s suit, the dealer’s flyer promised to pay off outstanding loans for customers trading in their vehicle, a $4,000 rebate and a 20-inch flat screen TV. Ms. Briand agreed to terms, turned over her Nissan and signed a $4,750 loan agreement for the new Mazda.

The next day, according to Briand, she accepted a dinner invitation from the temporary salesman. After dinner, the salesman refused to pay the check. She claims that she drove him back to his motel, where she claims that he offered to settle the dinner tab by going to his room. She also claims that when she refused to have sex with him, he threatened to take back the 20-inch TV.

The sale came with a 3-day grace period, and when Briand returned to the dealership to cancel the deal and reclaim her Nissan, she was told the Nissan was missing. Portsmouth police later found the vehicle at the local airport parking lot.

To top it all off, it was discovered that the temporary salesman was on probation and prohibited from leaving the state of Oregon. Ms. Briand has handicap plates on her vehicle and reportedly suffers from unspecified disabilities.

The dealer is quoted as saying that he’s “still trying to figure this mess out.” He also commented that New Hampshire should require licenses for vehicle sales people and such a requirement would assist dealers in keeping out the bad actors.

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