Chevy Dealer Causes Customer to Get Arrested
A clerical error is blamed for the buyer receiving a $5,000-plus discount on a Traverse, and a communication error for calling the cops.
When dealing with car salespeople, most buyers are looking for a deal, if not a steal. A Virginia man got the former, while the dealership that sold him the vehicle initially thought he illegally got the latter -- and had him arrested when he refused to pay more for their mistake. The buyer, Danny Sawyer, was taken into custody in his front yard and sat in jail for four hours before being released on bail.
The sales staff at Priority Chevrolet of Chesapeake inadvertently sold the Virginia man a Chevrolet Traverse for about $5,000 less than the vehicle’s actual price, and when Sawyer refused to sign a new, more expensive contract, a sales manager at the dealership called the police to report that Sawyer had stolen the vehicle. It turned out to be a clerical and communication error on the dealer’s part, and its president has since apologized and offered to forgive the $5,000-plus discount that Sawyer got on his SUV in error.
But now that Sawyer has decided to sue for $2.2 million in damages, it could end up costing the dealership much more than if it had just let the slip-up slide.
According to the lawsuit that attorney Rebecca Colaw filed on Sawyer’s behalf, the 40-year-old registered nurse test-drove a blue Chevrolet Traverse on May 7 that had a sticker price of about $39,000, but then decided to buy a black one instead that was priced at around $34,000. Sawyer signed a promissory note and left in his new vehicle. The next day, he returned to the dealership and asked to exchange the black Traverse for the blue one.
The lawsuit claims that sales manager Wib Davenport approved the trade without ever mentioning that the blue SUV had a higher price. The dealership’s vice president, Stacy Cummings, disputes this and says that Davenport told Sawyer about the additional $5,500 for the black Traverse and that Sawyer orally agreed to the higher price. But the final contract Sawyer signed didn’t reflect the higher price, and Cummings blamed a clerical error. "We definitely made a mistake," said the dealership’s president, Dennis Ellmer.
Sawyer returned from a vacation a week later and found numerous voice mails and a letter from the dealership, the suit says. Davenport said he explained in a phone conversation that the dealership made a mistake on the contract and asked Sawyer to return to the dealership and sign a new contract. The lawsuit claims Sawyer refused, although Cummings said Sawyer initially agreed but never followed through.
The dealership's staff persisted in trying to contact Sawyer by phone, text message and even hand-delivered letters. When Sawyer did not return to the dealership, they eventually contacted police. Ellmer and Cummings told the PilotOnline that their staff never reported the SUV stolen and never asked for Sawyer to be arrested, and called police only to help locate the vehicle while they pursued civil action.
But after speaking with police, Ellmer learned that one of his managers, Brad Anderson, said the SUV had been stolen. A police department representative said an officer told Anderson in advance that he was going to ask for a warrant for Sawyer's arrest.
The local district attorney dropped all charges against Sawyer on Aug. 23 after speaking with representatives of the dealership and deciding there was insufficient evidence to pursue the case. But Sawyer is moving ahead with the lawsuits.
“This shouldn't have happened," Ellmer said, describing it as an isolated incident and noting that his dealerships sells about 13,000 cars a year.
"But the final contract Sawyer signed didn’t reflect the higher price, and Cummings blamed a clerical error. "We definitely made a mistake," said the dealership’s president, Dennis Ellmer."
Both parties are responsibile for READING and REVIEWING anything they sign. When the most basic information is NOT in a dealership's favor, they try and declare the signed contract void? It does sound like the president of the dealership figured this out when he was made aware of the situation, but the others involved at the dealership compounded their mistake.
I've been arrested for false charges, it really sucks, plus you get treated like **** by every1 in the system... cops and lawyer alike... this guy is gonna SUE the **** off this dealership... **** them... take your 2.2 and consider early retirement... lol
HA HA thats too bad for the dealership. Now the customer should take them to court for false arrest. Mistakes happen those thieves at dealerships got there comeuppance. hahahah
I hope the salesmen didnt lose his job, its tough enough out there...
Someone, if the buyer later noticed that he signed a note and sales contract for $5,000 more than the car was worth, do honestly believe the car dealership would say ok, you made a mistake, come by and we will sign a new contract for $5,000 less.
I don't think so!!! They made a mistake, suck it up and move on. If the mistake was in there favor, they would not be calling the customer to refund the money, You screwed up, take the hit. End of story.
This story doesn't say whether this was a cash deal or finanaced. If financed, the entire deal would have to be re-written and re-submitted. (different VIN and sticker price, etc.) . Either way, whomever OK'd the deal (sales desk) should have known better, not a simple matter of changing from black to blue even if they were the exact (MSRP) unit. In any event, the dealer has to eat it and was really stupid for having the customer arrested....now a major lawsuit that the dealer cannot win...dealers NEVER win in court, even when they are in the right. Dumb salesperson and Dumber sales mgr.
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and we here at MSN Autos love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.