A damaged used car

7 On Your Side with Nina Pineda

Seven On Your Side
March 11, 2013 2:21:27 PM PDT
As a registered nurse Beth Liebson is used to comforting others, but after purchasing a used car, she was the one who needed someone to lean on.

"This car that I'm stuck with has structural damage, consumes all this gas, the window doesn't go up or down and I'm stuck with a loan and a payment," she said.

She saw an ad and went to Baron Auto Mall in Medford to kick the tires on a 2 year old Jetta, but when she asked the dealer for a vehicle history report, she says they claimed the computers were down.

It was a costly mistake. Just days after buying the car for 20 grand, she took it to her VW dealer for service and learned the hard truth.

"There was an accident in 2011," she said.

Finally, she read the CARFAX: a reported wreck caused structural damage to the car. She says if she had seen the report earlier, she would not have purchased the car.

"Absolutely not. I wouldn't have spent that much money on a car that had so much damage," Beth said.

Beth marched back to the dealer CARFAX in hand and was issued an IOU stating when she got her titlem she could trade in the Jetta for another car.

Beth said she kept calling the dealership so she could use her IOU, and then she found out they had just pulled up stakes and vanished with a trace.

"I was shocked. I felt like when I came in they knew they were going out of business. They just wrote me the letter to get out the door," she said.

The place had closed, leaving no forwarding numbers. Her IOU was useless.

"There was nothing I could do. That's when I wrote a letter to 7 On Your Side," Beth explained.

When we investigated, we found the very same owner also operated another dealership just 4 miles away.

After our calls, Baron Honda made good on the IOU. Beth got a newer car, a better warranty and great financing.

The owner of Baron Auto Mall acknowledged the problem, saying his dealership is "far from perfect." But he said when he found out about this issue he took care of it in minutes.

Used car buyers be aware of two steps before buying: Always get a vehicle history report AND have the car checked out by a licensed mechanic before you take delivery.


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