Sticker shock

Seven On Your Side
September 25, 2009 8:01:04 PM PDT
A Long Island man has been through a lot, enduring months of chemotherapy, battling lung cancer. But, he says, his misery has been compounded by a car dealership, he says, tried to swindle him out of thousands.

"It's knocked the heck out of me completely. I'm unable to sleep. I'm nervous."

Anthony Baiata isn't talking about his latest round of radiation and chemotherapy. He says the source of his angst is a new car deal gone horribly bad. "I get up in the morning like a zombie thinking of the great rip off," recounted Anthony.

Last July, Anthony bought a new Suzuki, from Suzuki 112 in Medford, N.Y., for $17,195. But after he got home with the car, he took another look at his receipt, and got sticker shock. The price jumped to more than $22,000. More than $5,000 higher than his original price.

"I was really shocked," said Anthony.

The reason for the price jump? Anthony says he unknowingly signed two contracts, one for an extended warranty costing $2,000. The other was a window etch warranty policy costing $3395.

"The mistake was I should have looked over each, the particular papers, line by line." But Anthony didn't. Anthony pointed this out to the dealer, it refunded him the $2,000 for the extended warranty, but wouldn't budge on the window etch.

"There was nothing we could about this," said his daughter, Rosanna Lake, who had tried to advocate on his behalf. "Because he had signed for it, it was his policy to have on the car."

But when we went out to see the car, we observed an additional problem.

"There's no etch." proclaimed Anthony. That's right, the dealership charged him for the window etch, but didn't do the work.

Each window should've had a code number etched into it, like this one does. It's meant to deter would-be car thieves. "I was completely taken, bamboozled by this salesman," said the weary car buyer.

So we called the dealership and the warranty/insurance company behind the warranty. And the very next day? "Great joy, great joy indeed," beamed the car buyer.

The warranty company and the dealership agreed to refund Anthony the full amount, $3395.

Finally, Anthony could sleep easy. "After some dark days, finally, a ray of sunshine.

The dealership says it did nothing wrong, saying the two warranties were signed by Anthony. As for why the windows weren't etched, the dealership's attorney said his client was planning to do that, but hadn't yet. The lesson here? Always know what you're signing and don't leave the showroom unless you get a copy of everything you sign.

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Story by: Tappy Phillips


Produced by: Steve Livingstone

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