MI woman sues car dealer over "dead-body odor"

Most funky odors are pretty easily traced back to their origins... the french fries that spilled out of the bag and have found permanent residence under the driver's seat, or the forgotten grocery bag in the trunk from last week. Other, more serious smells, require the assistance of a biohazard company.

Such is the case with a 2006 Ford Expedition purchased by a Michigan woman named Margarita Salais, who purchased the vehicle from Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights. It seems that the dealership acquired the SUV in December of 2010, a cold month in Michigan. Salais purchased the car in March, near the end of the much-too-long winter season.

The cold temperatures apparently masked the smell of rotting flesh. Salais took the car back to the dealership and was told the smell must be coming from a dead animal. Unhappy with that report, Salais called her insurance company, which contracted Elite Trauma Clean-Up in Clinton Township to investigate.

This is where things get a little murky. According to State Farm, the insurance provider, the smell was determined to be of human origin... dead body, anyone? The Detroit News, however, dug deeper and spoke to the Elite Trauma employee who inspected the vehicle, who said that the smell could be traced back only to "rotten meat" of unknown origin.

In any case, Salais still has her rotten-smelling Expedition, which she later found had been used as a rental car and had been reported stolen three times. At the very least, Salais' lawyer believes the dealership should take the car back and pay his client for damages – an amount that would likely vary depending on the real cause of the dead-body odor.

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