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Canadian Dealership Overcharges Mentally-Disabled Woman for Used Car

2010 Mazda Mazda6

2010 Mazda Mazda6

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Have you heard the one about the woman who went to the dealership for new tires and came out with a new car?

No, it's not a joke, at least not in the case of Madeline Leonard. Leonard took her 2004 Mazda 3 in for new tires at Mazda of Orangeville in Ontario. She walked out with a 2010 Mazda 6, for which she paid $66,000 (note: All dollar figures in this post are Canadian). By the way, that 6 wasn't brand new, but had been used as a demonstrator by the dealership.

The 56-year-old mentally-disabled woman says that "Moe", the salesman, was a fast-talker who soon was talking numbers with her before selling her the car, which should have retailed for $41,000, according to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council. Carey Smith, the director of investigations for the agency, has levied charges against both the store and two senior employees. Fines could total $250,000.

The deal went down in late December of 2009, and Kien Trung, the dealer's business manager, says it was on the up-and-up.

"We didn’t do anything wrong in the case of this transaction,” Trung told the Toronto Star. “We made a little bit of money on the deal. I guess she was not happy with it.”

Mazda Canada lists a base price of $39,969 for the car, but Mazda of Orangeville supposedly had the car listed at a sticker price of $45,846. On top of that, the dealership sold Leonard a $4,500 "protection package" that included rust-proofing and window etching. The unemployed Leonard makes less than $2,000 a month, yet she was on the hook for an eight-year loan for $16,000, which included a final balloon payment of $7,000. Smith says she should not have qualified for the loan.

Leonard says after the deal was done, she drove to other dealerships and compared prices on other 6s, only to find the difference in price to be, as she said, "shocking."

Trung and sales manager Mohammed (Moe) Shaikh are being charged with "engaging in unfair practice by making an unconscionable representation" opposite to the provincial Consumer Protection Act. Both plan to plead not guilty.

Mazda of Canada is withholding specific comment until the case is resolved in court.

Click here for a few tips on how to avoid falling for scams like this one.

[Source: Toronto Star via Jalopnik]

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Comments (8)
  1. If this story is at least partly true it just goes to reinforce the well known adage: Car salespeople are scum. They have always been scum. And until the manufacturers take over (which will be never because dealers have spent 75 years giving campaign donations to state & provincial politicians who do their bidding), buyers will always be at the mercy of the ... scum. At least the web exposes more of the info behind the curtain so consumers can be better informed.

  2. Sorceress, the story is true. Not all car salesmen are scum but there are a lot of bad ones.

  3. very sad stuff. hoping that "shining a light" on this may result in some kind of remedy.

  4. I have been a car salesman for 30 years. I treat every customer like they were my Mom. I spend a long time with them explaining, showing, and demo driving with each customer. I treat them with utter respect, and I give them the best price that I can give. I thank them for coming in and if I sell them I send them a thank you note and I call them every month for a while to see if they are satisfied.
    I would not be doing it for 30 years if I was "scum" ~ and if Mr. Scum up top came in and spoke to me ANY different than he speaks to his medical doctor, I would speak the identical way, back to him.
    I am there to inform, assist, answer, and sell. Not to take some jack-asses verbal abuse.

  5. WOW!! The salesman should be fired!! "We didn’t do anything wrong in the case of this transaction." Come on now.. Anyone with a conscience knows that this woman was taken advantage of.

  6. Should be fired? Ok #1 it wasn't even the salesman fault it was the owners, Sonny Bain. Please use common sense before posting this.

  7. What do you mean, it wasn't the salesman's fault? Yes, it was. The salesman knows exactly what the dealer paid for the car. The salesman knows what the profit margin is. The salesman gets a percentage of the profit for every sale.

    This isn't a question of making a healthy profit - it's straight out fraud, and both the salesman and the sales manager knew what they were doing. They did it anyway.

  8. Thankfully, the dealership lost their franchise license over this.

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