Buying a car from a dealership should give consumers the peace of mind of knowing they are driving away with a reliable vehicle. This was not the case for several unlucky car buyers in Kanawha City, West Virginia. It was a reputation-busting experience for
used cardealerships and a major disappointment for those who trusted them.
Now the state's Attorney General is involved, citing a pattern by the used car dealer of selling
unsafe vehicles. The AG's office filed a complaint on September 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court for alleged violations of the state's consumer protection laws.
Used car buying gets a bad name from Mr. V and Sons
The trouble with used car dealer Mr. V and Sons is its repetitiveness of selling defective cars. At least 19 formal complaints have been filed against them since 2014.
The car-buying public feels duped by this dealer and for good reason. Mr. V and Sons are facing a slew of legal complaints covering everything from mechanical problems to deceptive practices.
Car buyer, Tim Hudson, was only hoping for a reliable ride for his commute when he purchased a car from the dealership. He started having problems with the car right away and took it to be checked by a mechanic. He was shocked to learn that, among several other safety hazards, the exhaust pipe was held up with tape.
Army veteran Shane Hammack found out his recent purchase from Mr. V and Sons would never pass inspection. Mechanics discovered rust under the driver's seat and a severely
damaged frame. Other complaints include faulty brakes and failure to honor warranty obligations.
What is being done to address consumer complaints?
Complaints about Mr. V and Sons have been trickling into West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office for years. The auto company's habit of selling defective cars and failing to deliver or
transfer titlesprompted a civil suit to be opened against it. The business's practices violate the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
WSAZ NewsChannel 3, the lawsuit was filed against the dealership in Kanawha Circuit Court. The complaint represents 11 victims of Mr. V's deceptive practices. West Virginia's "As Is Law" requires written disclosure from the dealer citing any defects found by previous owners.
The law also requires the dealership itself to conduct its own inspection. The company failed to do so and provide the required disclaimer. Morrisey seeks civil penalties as well as restitution. A court order to block the defendants from further violations of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act is also on the books.
How to inspect a vehicle before you buy it
used car buyersbring along their best investigative skills when they go to the dealership. The first place to start is by reading the FTC-required Buyers Guide window sticker on the car. The attached guide provides important information about the vehicle and whether it is being sold with a warranty or "as is".
Check the exterior of the car for scratches, rust, and dents. Rust, in particular, is cause for concern as Mr. V's customer, Shane Hammack, found out the hard way. Window cracks, worn tires, and broken lights should raise red flags on the overall condition of the car.
Look for ripped seats and
check for odors in the interior. Turning on the ignition switch without starting the car is a good way to check for functional warning lights.
There are a few simple things you can check under the hood even if you are not car engine savvy. Notice if any of the hoses or belts look frayed and if the battery is covered with corrosion. The owner's manual can guide you on how and where to check various fluid levels. Get peace of mind by taking the car to a trusted mechanic before you buy.
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