A Virginia man spent four hours in jail after purchasing a Chevrolet Traverse from Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake, VA. The dealer's sales staff accidentally sold the SUV to Danny Sawyer for $5,600 less than they should have, and when Sawyer refused to sign a new, more expensive contract for the correct amount, the dealership called the local police alleging the buyer had stolen the vehicle. Law enforcement then picked Sawyer up and held him for four hours before getting the situation straight.

Dennis Ellmer, president of Priority Chevrolet, says he owes Sawyer an apology on behalf of the dealership, and had intended to do right by the buyer by letting him have the vehicle at the agreed-upon price. But Sawyer's lawyer says it's a little too late for saying, 'sorry.' The briefly-incarcerated owner has filed two lawsuits against the dealer, accusing the business of malicious prosecution, slander, defamation and abuse of process. All told, the suits seek a total of $2.2 million in damages, plus attorney fees.

That $5,600 seems awfully cheap now.

The lawsuit says Sawyer originally purchased a blue Traverse on May 7, but took the SUV back the next day for a black one. The dealer's sales manager made the swap, allegedly without saying anything about a price differential between the two. Either way, Sawyer signed a final contract for around $34,000 when the vehicle he took home had an actual price of closer to $39,000. On June 15, Sawyer was taken into custody by police, but the Commonwealth dropped the charges after finding insufficient evidence to pursue the case.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 943 Comments
      fefifofum
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, who ever told the police he stole the car needs to go to jail, for false imprisonment. This has to be illegal. I like how they are like ok well you can have the car for 5k less now? Are you kidding me? What a bunch of scumbags. they should have at least tried to just give him the car after lying to the police and having him jailed.
        Carbon Fibre
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fefifofum
        Exactly. Terrible POS of dealer, like they all are too.
        Dean Hammond
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fefifofum
        big mistake, they probably just could have had the vehicle repo-ed
          fefifofum
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          He owned it, they can't repo a car he owns.
          themanwithsauce
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          Legal contracts are binding, that would be illegal to repo it without first refunding him all of his money and interest.
          frost54661
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          A dealership can't repo a car. The bank owns the car, therefor they only have the power to do so.
          fefifofum
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          Well, if there's something not being told why is the dealer apologizing. I mean this is a PR DISASTER! They better start telling everyone how this guy screwed them, and FAST, or they are going under, and rightfully so. Then Dean, I fear you might be out of a job. And no they can't repo a car that he's fulfilling his obligation to pay for, in the current world, as long as he's fulfilling the CONTRACT HE SIGNED, nothing to do. Plus when I buy a car, I don't get a loan through the dealership, I get a loan through my bank. The dealership never gives out loans..... He got a loan, unless he paid cash, you seem to know more about this than I do, I mean you keep saying he didn't pay cash, I didn't see that anywhere, again I have never bought a car with out getting APPROVED for the amount, it's impossible.
          Dean Hammond
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          fefifofum...did he own it, was it a cash transaction or financed/ leased, had his check cleared, did he have a pick payment for the balance????? you seem to know the whole transaction, just like the guys that wrote the article....I think theres something NOT being told....he probably drove away noted all the options, secretly knew they had made a mistake, and when they called told them to poind sand and possibly thats when things got nasty...dumb move with the arrest for sure though....
          Dean Hammond
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          fififo-f-it, what exactly would YOU do in the Dealerships shoes?.......NOT apologize?...yes its a PR disaster...perhaps, if ALL the events come out then perhaps not, you are already assuming the Dealership is guilty, thats obvious, me, I want to see both sides, not just the usual witchunt after the deeper of two pockets and HOPEFULLY for someone to get punished....if guilty, the guy waks with $5600 in freebies....but seriously dont you think $2.2 million is just reflective of someone I veiw as coming up morally short?....He KNEW he was getting more car than the first vehicle, if he didnt hes obviously not the sharpest marble.....that sir is totally selective ignorance.....and if Im correct I hope he too suffers some wrath.Sad thing is like Ive stated, to avoid bad PR the Dealership will probably settle out of court and all we can do is wait till the next frivolous and and obviously ( in your opinion ) condoned lawsuit.....
      GFB
      • 2 Years Ago
      This case turns "caveat emptor" on its head. Let the seller beware. A contract is a contract. When the buyer drove out with the second truck the contract was validated. The sales manager was dumb but the dealer's president was even dumber, especially if that sales manager still works there.
      paladinspledge
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow! First of all, whoever reported the vehicle stolen committed a felony for falsifying a police report. Secondly, I hope that poor customer owns that dealership after this is all over.
      MotorworldHype
      • 2 Years Ago
      Whoops! Talk about bad customer service.
      Big V
      • 2 Years Ago
      The more I read this absurd story, the more I feel like the dealer was trying to sell 2 cars to one Guy. I could be wrong, but he buys @ $34K but wants to swap colors. They "innocently" give him a far more expensive one and then demand a new contract. Essentially trying to make him "trade in" his brand new car to offset the more expensive one, bing, bang, boom another sale. One ultra-slick sales manager has racked up 2 car sales in 2 days, when in reality it was just a simple swap. If my logic is right, the dealership truly wanted to screw this guy over and on paper rack up another sale. I swear that is what this sounds like like until the guy didn't want to play that stupid game and they had him falsely arrested and the whole thing went down the tube.
        Brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big V
        Your logic is wrong. The vehicle is returned to stock and the vehicle sale is unreported to GM.
          Big V
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Brian
          "The vehicle is returned to stock " No, only if the dealership was ethical and wanted to do the right thing So my logic is right with an unethical organization.
      Goatman
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's pretty ridiculous to blame the customer in this situation, Did the dealership offer him a car with the colour he wanted and at the same trim level he had originally asked for after the mistake was noticed? I can tell you not everyone would notice the difference between a 2LT ($35,900) and a LTZ ($39,025), I probably would, but I'm sure my wife wouldn't. Not everyone are car guys. The only way I place blame on the customer is if the offered him what he purchased, and he said no. (still shouldn't have called the cops) As far as he was concerned he asked the dealer for another colour, they said sure, he drove off with the black one, he gets home from vacation and they're asking him for $5,000. He says WTF, I'm not paying that, and tells them to pound sand. They call the cops.
        Big V
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Goatman
        "He says WTF, I'm not paying that, and tells them to pound sand. " ......absolutely the funniest comment I have heard all day!
      RobG
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope he nails the dealer to the wall. Years ago, a friend bought a new Corvette, signed the papers, drove it home. A week later, the dealer calls and says, "Sorry your financing wasn't approved, bring it back." He said get bent, I signed a contract. They repo'd the car. He sued and won. By law, once you sign the papers and take delivery, the dealer can't renig anymore than you can. If you really weren't approved, then the dealer has to guarantee the loan. Same thing happened to me over a used pickup about ten years ago. I told the dealer this, and they STFU and I kept the truck. Dealers are slime.
      Chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      What an idiot move on the part of the dealer. They should have just owned up to it and let it go. Not only would it have been a hell of a lot cheaper, but their image would not have been marred by this incident. The way they chose to go about it was very unethical.
      Ran An
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why did the cops follow what the dealer told them to? If I call the cops the dealer stole my money, will the cops arrest the dealer first?
      CentralControl
      • 2 Years Ago
      This man now has an arrest record that will follow him his whole life, the lawsuit is justified. Arrest records are not the same as convictions and thus require no real guilt. With a GTA arrest record the $2 million seems appropriate to me. An additional charge for false arrest seems reasonable for the entire chain of command at the dealer as well. Unacceptable, and NOT a business I would ever allow friends or family to work with, period.
      joe23521
      • 2 Years Ago
      "...intended to do right by the buyer by letting him have the vehicle at the agreed-upon price." We feel bad about having you falsely arrested and jailed. As an apologize, we're willing to forget that it ever happened.
      Fernando Velásquez M
      • 2 Years Ago
      i hope this dealer gets f***** by the attorneys
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