All she wanted was a reliable vehicle for transporting her three-year old son. Instead, she was sold a prior wrecked car and unwanted financing add-ons totaling approximately $4,000.
She purchased a Volkswagen Beetle from Greenbriar VW that had less than 300 miles but was listed as “used.” She asked the dealership why this vehicle was listed as used instead of new and was told it was due to the car being previously owned. This prompted her to then ask the dealer for the complete history of the vehicle. Greenbriar assured her that car had never been in an accident. However, this vehicle had been in accident before, with over $5,000 in damage, and the dealership was well aware of it.
To add to the dealership’s fraudulent tactics, during financing for the vehicle, Greenbriar lied to her by stating that a certain interest rate was the lowest rate it could offer despite having lower offers from several other lenders. After signing everything, the finance manager advised her that though she had been approved for the loan, he was not sure what company the loan would go through since it was late in the evening and to call back the next day.
She called back on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday requesting the information but never received any response from the dealer. It was until she went down to the dealership in person that she was informed that they did find a lower interest rate but in order to qualify she would need to purchase GAP insurance, a service contract, and anti-theft etching all totaling around $4,000. This caused her monthly payments to increase.
The scheme of adding these back end products into the deal, without the consumer knowing that they were not required for the purchase of the vehicle, and that they we causing her loan payment to be higher than was necessary to finance the vehicle, is a sharp sales tactic known in the car sales industry as “loan packing”.
Less than ten days after signing, she noticed the car was swerving, not handling properly and knocking in the rear. She took it to the dealer which took over three weeks to repair which revealed significant suspension problems. Never feeling safe in the vehicle and determining it was not a practical family car, she attempted to trade it in to another dealership. It was at this time she was given a Carfax report and learned that the vehicle had previously been wrecked.
A lawsuit was filed against Greenbriar for violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and Fraud. She suffered over $8,000 in diminished value to the vehicle and sought punitive damages. The case was ultimately settled for $125,000.