• Jan 23rd 2007 at 2:27PM
  • 46

So you think that car salesman and dealerships have overcome their oft-deserved reputation for being sleazy? After reading this story, our semi-restored faith in the process of buying a car has been decimated.

Eleven dealership employees at the Huling Brothers dealership in West Seattle took part in an elaborate scam to take advantage of a 60-year old man with obvious mental deficiencies. When the man, soaked in his own urine, entered the dealership and told the car salesman that he had over $100K in cash in his home, the wheels of the scam machine went into full-gear and he left the dealership with an expensive truck . Needless to say, the man winds up with no money and no truck at the end of the story. Check out the details of this sad tale after the jump.

Thanks for the tip, Yvo.

[Source: KOMO TV]

The dealership in question sold the man a truck for the maximum price along with a ridiculously priced warranty as well as anything else they could add-on to the transaction, later bragging to other associates at the dealerhship about the deal. The man's truck was towed the following day, and when he called the dealership thinking it had been stolen, the salesman picked him up to take him to get his truck. While they were gone, the dealerships sales manager and five different dealership employees went to the man's apartment to steal the remaining $70K+. The sales manager and one other employee were the first two there and stole the cash, which they split and paid off personal credit cards, etc.

Oh, but they weren't finished yet. When the man's truck was towed again, he called Seattle Police and reported the missing truck as well as the disappearance of the $70K in cash. Realizing the man had mental problems, the police took him to a mental health facility in Seattle. He then called the dealership to be sure that the towing company wouldn't auction off his truck before he could pick it up. Another dealership employee then convinced the man to sell the truck to him for $1,200, and then involved several other dealership employees to help him legitimize the paperwork. That employee drove the truck as his own until the police unwound the scam.

All eleven of the dealership employees involved are currently under investigation and the dealership has been cooperating with the investigation. The dealership has also repaid the man $30,000, and the new owners, who were unaware of the pending litigation, have hired a completely new staff and will remove the previous dealership name from every aspect of the store.

Have any of you ever been a victim of a dealership scam? Or how about the opposite; a dealership that went over the top to be sure you were properly taken care of? Please don't mention any names of people or dealerships in the comments, but interesting anecdotes are always welcome.



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  • 46 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Stuff like this makes me question the state of humanity......or in this case; the lack of..
      • 8 Years Ago
      #16 Zo, your car buying experience where you referenced a dell XPS is exactly Scions selling Model.

      Go try it out. Works great
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is sick- I hope they all rot in hell for it.

      Shame on you AB for asking such a stupid & loaded question. Allowing anyone who ever lied after damaging their car after the fact to spew Barbara Streisand after being denied. "That bashed in tailgate was LIKE THAT when I picked it up!" (Based on true story)

      Sadly- we have had a couple of instances where customers-not of totally sound mind- came in with money or with access to money. In all cases- their families were contacted and made aware of what was going on. One them was mine- and he was not severely out of it or unaware- but after a bit I just knew that something wasn't right- so I called his son & stopped working until he got here. Turns out the purchase would have wiped a large chunk of his savings out.

      This story is not unique. So way to go AB for perpetuating a ridiculous stereotype.

      I can name a lot more times when some sleazy reporter knowingly used someone not 100% "aware" to push his agenda than people getting /genuinely/ ripped off in a dealership like this guy did.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Here is an actual dealer experience I had this year: After several months of life-threatening issues with a brand new Infiniti FX, it was finally being purchased back. I wanted to replace the vehicle with a 2007 Lexus RX350, but none of them in Southern California had all the options I wanted. A dealership in Westminster started checking around the western US and found a dealership with the exact vehicle I wanted (including matching the exterior and interior colors). The dealership had the vehicle brought to Westminster, picked me up at the Infiniti dealership and gave me a ride to the Lexus dealer, and had everything ready - all I did was a couple signatures and drove away in my new, clean, loaded 2007 Lexus RX350. I also got an outstanding price - beating all of the offers shown in the Edmunds message boards - without having to really try, just asked for a fair price and got it. I'm not the biggest fan of Lexus design and the limited performance, but I'll be back due to the customer service.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Fordguy99 you do not know anything about volkswagens!Volkswagen releases models on the half year, not all the time but alot and in this case. A 1999 GTI looks just like a 1996 GTI but a 1999.5-2005 is the MK4 body style looking different. Know you stuff before you make a comment.
      • 8 Years Ago
      When we look to others for honesty, we are in effect, relinquishing control to them. People should realise that nobody else breathes for them. Looking for goodness in others is a social etiquette issue, not a reality issue. There is no need to be nice nor nasty. Just honesty will do but where is this honesty? This is why religion has little to do with truth but everything to do with power. Truth/Nature/God has no notion of power. You don’t need to if you are everything, assuming that such an entity exists. You don’t need to destroy or be nice to an ant, do you? The power within Truth is called Love and it is Love who will sort out Malice, not us. We only need to be honest and truthful to our self. First and foremost.

      If we are not truthful to ourself, how can we we truthful to others? If we don’t love our self first, how can we love others? If we don’t know how we are “made”, how will we know how others are made? Caveat Emptor is not so much buyer beware. It means know your self first and thence you can decide whether you want to be honest, truthful, etc. Judging others and thence making that chit-chat as a meaningful distraction within life is for the mindless. We can only judge our self, not others, and when we decide to do that and thereafter elect to be truthful, no idiot, lunatic or malice can touch us. To win a 1000 battles, we need to know our enemy intimately and our true enemy is our own dishonesty to our self. That is called immorality and morality is that which confers benelovence, firstly to the individual and thence to the collective. It is also called Evolution-In-Progress.

      Obviously, those who are not in cognisance of their own actions is another matter. “All the world’s a stage” means just that. It is a play for us to witness and thence realise that all we need to do is to be honest to our self and Joy/Love will follow for the ability to witness, not judge, brings forth Balance which ultimately leads to Truth [within any give matter]. Ever notice how the national anthem plays or the national flag starts waving when people decide to start think for themselves? That’s how kleptomaniacs work, including those who helm a government. Stealing, however, pales into insignificance when compared to corrupting for the latter is forever. Look after Truth and Truth will look after you. That is also called Luck.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I worked at a high-end car dealership and man did I stick out like a sore thumb. I was working with some of the sleazest scum on earth, that would take any measure to make a profit(and/or scam). I didnt't last long there because evidently having a heart and being honest didn't work with their policies.

      Needless to say, there are some decent salesmen and dealerships (Although they are hard to come by). The best thing that prospective buyers can do is take their business and money to the good ones. Personally I don't care how much I fall in love with a particular car, I'm NOT going to compromise my beliefs and do business with a bunch of assholes.

      The scam in Seattle really shows the darkside of car dealerships and quite frankly it disgusts me, but doesn't surprise me. What kind of real man takes advantage of the weak? They deserve a strict punishment as well as serving some community service aiding mentally-challenged and disabled people, maybe then will they realize the struggles and hard lives that these poor individuals have to endure.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford bought all of the dealerships in Tulsa about 5 years ago and operated them. My job involved a lot of interaction with dealerships at the time. I heard a lot of backroom talk about screwing the customer, except at the Ford dealerships. Their sales people were not on commision, that seemed to make a huge difference. In the end, Ford declared the program a failure and sold all of the dealerships.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The biggest dealership scam?
      FACTORY CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      I picked up a 2004 Dodge Stratus ES Certified Used in Jan. 2005 w/30k miles for ~$10,000.

      They claim it is an 8 year, 80,000 mile powertrain warranty. Somewhere around 45k my knock sensor failed. I paid a stealership $100 to tell me it is the sensor, not an actual knock. For those not familiar, with the sensor out the computer retards the ignition timing thinking there is a knock. I am not getting optimal power or fuel economy and the engine will not function as intended.

      $1700 to repair. You have to remove the intake manifold to get at the knock sensor on the 2.7

      So, I have a failed part essential to keep the engine running as intended that needs almost $2k to fix, that I *could* fix myself for ~100 but would void the warranty, that DCX WILL NOT COVER because it is considered an 'EXTERNAL ACCESSORY'

      The regional rep won't help, nor will DCX customer care.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, this isn't just sleazy salesmen exploiting loopholes, this is an actual crime!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "If a customer comes to the dealership not knowing about the loss leader car, and yet it's the car that suits them best, why shouldn't the dealer make a profit on a car that was going to lose them money? Nothing says they *have* to sell it for a loss. Now if the customer comes in with the ad, and they hide the car, that's another matter."

      I can see where it might seem like you should be able to charge whatever an uninformed customer will pay for the loss leader, but it is actually illegal. (At least in Washington state, where the dealer in the article is located, where I actually worked over 4 years ago.)

      So long as a car is advertised in the newspaper at a certain price, you have to sell it at that price. You can't charge more, even if the customer doesn't realize they are buying the advertised loss leader. Dealers do it though, of course. This is yet another reason why when you show up for the ad car, they try to switch you to another car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm not mentally insane, but it's things like this that make me want to acquire an AK-47 and shoot the F&$K out of the people at dealerships such as this.

      At least if I go to jail I can plead mentally insane, and the world as a whoe will be a slightly happier place to live in.
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