A local used car company and its owner agreed to pay $ 20,000 plus over $ 1,697 in legal and other costs to settle a consumer complaint alleging that the company refused to honor implied warranties on their vehicles – including a Nissan Altima that a repair shop describes as a “Fred Flintstone” car too dangerous to drive because of a hole in its undercarriage.
Thomas Bland II and Quality Automotive Group LLC II, 3933 S. Broadway in Wichita, denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay the money to settle a lawsuit filed under the Consumer Protection Act of the United States. Kansas, filed by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, according to a press release. An attorney for the dealership, Todd Shadid of law firm Klenda Austerman, declined to comment on Wednesday.
But Bland told The Eagle he believes the dealership âhas gone above and beyond. . . go way beyond what the warranty says.
âIt’s something I think is fair. . . was out of our hands, âhe said. âWe haven’t done anything malicious. We control all of our vehicles to the best of our ability.
The district attorney’s office filed a lawsuit against Bland and Quality Automotive Group after a man from Wichita, who is a veteran and a customer protected by Kansas law, complained about not fixing a hole in the landing gear from a 2006 Nissan Altima he bought last summer.
The man bought the car for $ 3,440 in cash after seeing an ad on Facebook claiming that it âdrives and drives great. One owner, title proper, no accident â, according to court records.
The man stopped by the company and tested the car before the sale, according to records. The dealership also claimed it had been inspected.
But a few months later, the man was informed by a local repair shop where he had taken the car to repair a “clicking noise” that there was a hole in the undercarriage which had been “covered by an old license plate “.
The license plate, according to court records, was “very visible and was right next to the oil pan.”
The man took the car next to a collision repair center, who told him the damage was structural in nature and “too expensive for just a patch.”
The center said the car was too dangerous to drive in its opinion and described it as a “Fred Flintstone vehicle” because the driver “could fall through planks on the floor,” according to court documents. The estimated repair costs were over $ 4,400.
Three days later, the man drove the car to the used car dealership, showed a salesperson a cell phone photo of the undercarriage damage, and asked for a refund.
He filed a consumer complaint with the attorney’s office after the dealership told him he could fix the car if he paid $ 250, but “that was all he could do,” records show court.
Bland and the used car company said they were unaware of the hole and denied breaking Kansas consumer protection law, but “accepted a consent judgment to settle the problem. case, âthe prosecutor’s office said in the press release. They also said they would not sell the car without proof that the hole had been repaired and agreed to a one-year trial period, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Sedgwick County District Court Judge Stephen Ternes approved the consent judgment on Tuesday. The dealer agreed to pay $ 4,697 of the civil fine and other costs immediately. The remaining $ 17,000 is pending and will be forgiven if the dealership does not receive any further complaints during its trial period, according to court records.
This isn’t the first time Bland has entered into a consent judgment to settle allegations. In 2018, he agreed to deliver judgment in another case that also alleged violations of consumer protection law, according to the DA’s office.
If you are considering purchasing a used car, the DA’s office recommends asking questions about its pre-sale history, having it inspected, and looking at buying guides, which provide information on buying and selling. warranty.
For more tips on buying a used car, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/buying-used-car-dealer.
Contribute: Carrie Rengers of The Wichita Eagle
This story was originally published September 8, 2021 11:37 a.m.