DENVER, Colo. - How did a savvy, experienced buyer end up with a used truck when the bill of sale listed it as new?
A CALL7 Investigation uncovered a local car dealership’s questionable sales tactics: selling a vehicle as new when according to state law, it should have been sold as used.
Brad White told CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta, “That’s the only thing we ever discussed was a new truck, and to find out it wasn’t new was shocking….I definitely feel deceived.”
The CALL7 Investigators uncovered multiple state law violations when AutoNation sold White the truck, but the dealership maintained it was a clerical error and offered no resolution until CALL7 started its investigation. Marc Cannon, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Policy for AutoNation, eventually told Marchetta by phone that it was “sloppy paperwork, simple as that.”
In Colorado, there are two events that require a car to be sold as “used” 1) if a car has more than 1500 miles or 2) if the car has been sold, titled and processed.
Car dealerships are permitted to “unwind” a previous sale, turning back the clock on the vehicle’s warranty and selling a car as new, but only if the vehicle was never titled. State law also requires dealerships to send the title of any vehicle, new or used, to the purchaser within 30 days.
White received his title 10 weeks after he purchased what he believed to be his brand new Nissan truck. During his second attempt to register the truck at the Boulder DMV, White was informed for the first time that he may not be the original owner. After the dealership refused White’s request for a vehicle history report, the CALL7 Investigators obtained a CARFAX report that confirmed there was a previous owner.
Former chairman of the Colorado Auto Dealer Board Don Hicks says, “if they unwound it after they titled it, the game’s over, it’s a used car.”
In the eyes of the state, Hicks said, “once the title is generated it’s a used car. Period.”
What AutoNation calls “sloppy paperwork” left White questioning the price he paid for the vehicle, the validity of the manufacturer’s warranty and whether there is anything else AutoNation failed to disclose at the time of purchase.
After hearing the details of White’s ordeal Hicks says the behavior of AutoNation “sounds like somebody made a very large mistake.”
Friday, White accepted AutoNation’s offer of an extended warranty and a discount. The long-time Nissan owner says the six-month ordeal made him unlikely to buy another Nissan in the future.
Cannon, emailed Marchetta saying, “The paperwork issue with Mr. Whites (sic) car was unfortunate and should not have occurred…It was error made by one of r (sic) associates in the processing of vehicle paperwork. Its (sic) unfortunate that error occurred and it was not caught or resolved sooner. We r (sic) glad he likes his Nissan and apologized for the delay in getting the situation handled.”
But in an earlier phone call to Marchetta, he said the dealership “should not have been nice to the customer.”
What Cannon continues to refer to as a paperwork issue was against Colorado law.
Insisting on a vehicle history report or obtaining one before making a purchase will verify whether or not the car you are buying is new or used. If a dealer delays more than 30-days in sending title paperwork, that is also a red flag.
Prospective buyers can also request the manufacture’s certificate of origin (MCO) from the dealership to prove the vehicle is new.
To file a written complaint about a dealership with the Auto Industry Division, you must first contact the dealership and allow them the opportunity to resolve the problem. The Colorado Auto Dealers Association works to mediate disputes between buyers and dealerships.
Along with shopping for just the right costume for the annual trick-or-treat outing, the AAA has some words of caution for parents to help keep their children safe this Halloween.
One of the deadliest nights of the year for pedestrians – especially children, Halloween is a time when motorists and parents accompanying kids need to be vigilant.
“On Halloween, drivers need to be especially vigilant between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight, when pedestrians are most vulnerable,” said Sharon Gilmartin, AAA research analyst. “While trick-or-treating, children may not pay attention to traffic and might cross mid-block or between parked cars, making them even more difficult to see in the dark.”
Halloween is also a time when too many adults and young people go to costume parties and imbibe alcohol, contributing to potential tragedy on the roadways and city streets.
“Halloween has become an increasingly popular occasion for adults to host and attend parties where alcohol is frequently served. By designating a sober driver, or by choosing not to drink if driving, this holiday can remain a treat for everyone,” Gilmartin said.
By using common sense and following these driver safety tips, parents can help make this trick-or-treat season a memorable event – in a good way.
- Drive sober. Almost one-third of all motor vehicle deaths are caused by drivers impaired by alcohol. This results in an average of one fatality an hour (every 53 minutes). If planning to drink and drive, either before or after taking kids out to beg, designate a sober driver, cautions the AAA. Better tip is to forego alcohol completely on this particular day.
- Drive slow. As little as 10 mph slower can mean the difference between life and death. Statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety show that a pedestrian hit by a car traveling 35 mph is twice as likely to be killed as a car going 25 mph. That means driving slower on city streets adjacent residential areas.
- Don’t take shortcuts through neighborhoods. Going the long way around may add a few minutes to your trip, but it’s likely to be a lot safer than zipping through residential neighborhoods en route to where you’re going. If you are planning a party at your home, give guests directions that avoid residential streets as much as possible.
- Be on the lookout for kids in the street. Clad often in dark costumes, maybe unaccompanied by an adult, trick-or-treaters alone or in groups frequently dart between parked cars, cross medians and congregate in the street to compare their goodies or discuss which houses to beg at next. Go extra slow on all residential streets, whether or not you see children about. It only takes a second to be too late when one suddenly appears in your headlights and you can’t brake in time.
- Go as a group. Solitary trick-or-treaters, especially under the age of 12, are a particular hazard. Parents should insist children travel in a group, accompanied by an appropriate number of parents or other adults.
- Plan the route. Ensuring the safest activity possible, parents should make a plan in advance, going over a specified route of travel. Before going out, remind the kids never to cross in the middle of the street or between cars parked at the curb.
- Inspect kids’ costumes. The idea is to avoid anything that will obstruct the child’s field of vision, such as masks or helmets and other head gear. Instead, opt for face paint to obtain a scary or costume effect. Also check the length of costumes so that children don’t trip when walking. Use reflective tape or material to help make them visible to drivers traveling through the area.
- If driving kids, be sure to buckle up. It’s too easy to become excited by the festive event and forget to buckle up in the vehicle. If you’re driving kids to and from trick-or-treating or from one neighborhood or street to another, take the time to ensure everyone is buckled up. Also, make sure that kids enter and exit the vehicle on the passenger side.
Buying a used car? Then you need an extended auto warranty to protect you from expensive surprises down the road. But be careful if your dealer tries to sell you used auto extended warranty coverage. The dealer is often reselling used auto warranties issued by a used auto warranty company, but with a markup of $1000. You could just as easily have bought the extended warranty directly from the auto warranty company, but for less.
Overpaying for a third-party used car extended auto warranty is certainly not the worst warranty deal you can get. The worst auto extended warranty deal is to buy one that isn’t issued by a third party at all.
Dealer-Issued Extended Auto Warranties Explained
Yes, some dealers actually sell extended auto warranties they’ve created themselves. These dealer-issued auto warranties typically only allow you to get service at the dealership. They either don’t cover repairs done anywhere else or they only cover emergency repairs for breakdowns.
Dealer-issued used auto extended warranties can even restrict you to getting maintenance at the dealership only. With a captive clientele, the dealerships often charge much more than local mechanics.
There are some other big problems with a dealer-issued used auto extended warranty:
- If you moved far away you’d have to buy another auto warranty.
- If you’re driving somewhere far away and your car breaks down you may be in trouble, because the used auto warranty may not cover reimbursements for emergency service. Even if it does cover reimbursements, you’d better hope your credit card or checking account can handle the damage in the meantime.
- If the dealership goes bankrupt you’re left hung out to dry.
- If you’re unsatisfied with the dealer’s work, well, you can’t take your business elsewhere unless you’re willing to pay for it.
Dealer-Issued Used Auto Warranties: Why Does Anyone Buy Them?
Most often, the buyer simply never thought about an extended auto warranty before going to the dealership. When the salesperson explains how important extended auto warranty coverage is, the buyer just thanks him for the tip and buys it.
But the buyer doesn’t realize how expensive the warranty is. Of course, car repairs can potentially be so expensive that even an overpriced dealer-issued warranty can pay for itself several times over. Meanwhile, next to a $15,000 car, even an overpriced $2500 dealer-issued warranty seems cheap. But if you’re going to buy a warranty, why not buy a really good one?