Some used car lots just look like sketchy places to make a purchase, but I’ve found that the ones passing themselves off as a “pre-owned luxury car dealer” can be just as bad if not worse than those notorious buy-here, pay-here establishments. One elderly Miami woman learned this lesson the hard way.

According to Local10.com, 77 year old Esther Verdecia went to Miami Auto Wholesale and Export to purchase a vehicle. When Ester came home, her daughter found all kinds of incorrect information on the contract. The main problem being that the contract is in English and Ester only knows Spanish.

The dealership communicated with Ester in Spanish, but had her sign a document she couldn’t read. Now before all the trolls jump into the comments with, “This is ‘Murica, she shoulda done learned English!” I should remind all of you that this transaction took place in Miami, that has a huge Spanish speaking population, and many states require that if a car deal is negotiated in Spanish the contract must be in the same language.

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In addition to the language issue, the dealership also falsified Ester’s income at $4,400 per month, when in fact she makes much less living off Social Security. Ester’s daughter contacted the dealer and they said she could return the car and get her trade back even though there is no “cooling off” period.

However, once the dealer had their car back they refused to return Ester’s deposit of $9200. They said if they sold the car, that she would get her money back. A few days later the car was sold, but Ester still didn’t get her payment. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) determined that the dealer “failed to abide by a written contract,” but only in regards to “consignment of the sale of the purchased vehicle.” So Ester was only entitled to $3,156.

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Local 10 found in the past five years, Miami Auto Wholesale and Export has racked up dozens of complaints filed with the Florida Attorney General’s office, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Fourteen of twenty-five complaints were found to be in violation of Florida law.

(H/T to Erick)

If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.