ATLANTA — A group of used car buyers thought they got good deals -- only to find out they’d bought vehicles with thousands more miles on them than what was advertised and on the odometer.
“Someone told me that I must stand up. There’s other people out here,” said Tracy Henderson.
Henderson said an online advertisement for a 2011 Kia Sorrento claimed the vehicle had 128,000 miles on it, so Henderson thought she was getting a great deal.
A legitimate Carfax report from Henderson’s dealer, her mechanic and Channel 2 Action News’ own independent mechanic confirmed the vehicle actually had 61,000 more miles on it than was reported in the ad.
Henderson said the mileage discrepancy form listed 128,000 miles, but the car dealer didn’t check the box clarifying that was not the actual mileage until after Henderson signed the paperwork. Henderson said the dealer then slipped the form into a stack of paperwork.
“I’m pretty shocked,” said Bill Rimmer, the owner of Cooper Lake Automotive, who examined Henderson’s car and ran a Carfax report on it.
Knowingly misrepresenting odometer mileage readings is a felony federal offense.
“This can lead to jail. I mean this, huge fines. And he’s probably gonna lose his dealer license because as soon as the state sees your story, they’re gonna be all over this guy,” said Rimmer.
Jayvonte Waters, who owns Quick Capital Auto Dealers in Lithonia, admitted he sells cars with more mileage on them than he advertises.
Channel 2′s Nicole Carr spoke to Waters over the phone in February.
“It’s not like all of our inventory has rollback odometers on it. Every now and then it happens. But again, it’s disclosed to the customer. I do have those documents,” Waters told Channel 2′s Nicole Carr over the phone.
Channel 2 started looking into sales at the Lithonia dealership after Henderson called Channel 2′s tip line. Three customers have reported Waters to the Georgia Secretary of State.
“We bought the car with 88,000 miles on it, and when I checked the Carfax, when it said it was last purchased it had 126,000 some odd miles,” Ranita Ivey said.
Like Henderson, Ivey said she discovered the true mileage during a trip to get the car fixed for a problem soon after purchase.
When Ivey began posting bad reviews on Waters’ online pages where he advertises, she said he messaged her to get off.
“He called me a couple more names,” Ivey said. “He ended up texting my private cell phone number when I blocked him on Facebook. He ended up texting my private phone, saying ‘B---- stay the f--- off my page.’”
Robert Turner thought he purchased his truck at 188,000 miles. A Carfax report showed it came to Georgia and Water’s dealership with more than 275,000 miles.
“I think you should go out of business and there’s a few other words I’d like to say but I’m not going to,” Turner said.
Channel 2′s open records request for recently-filed Quick Capital Auto Dealers complaints was denied by the state because Georgia law only authorizes the investigative arm, the Used Motor Vehicle Division, to release results.
Carr tried twice to catch Waters in person at the dealership, only to find locked gates during business hours on different days.
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“I go above and beyond to make all my customers happy,” Waters said in the phone call to Carr. “I can’t please everyone.”
Waters said he sells some used cars with odometer discrepancies.
“There’s never a time when we just roll it back. It may come in like that. But we disclose it to the customer is what I’m saying. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only dealer,” Waters said.
“Okay, so do you do a blanket kind of contract where anyone can drive off and that could be the case or do you do it car-by-car?” Carr asked.
“The thing is, when there’s an odometer discrepancy our computer will alert us during the deal. So, I’ll print out the information and will disclose it verbally and in a document that says so,” Waters said.
None of the customers Channel 2 talked to said they were properly forewarned. Henderson filed a police report and is suing Waters.
“He must be stopped. If not, it’s just more money that he’s taken from our community,” Henderson said.
“I don’t have anything to do with the state but they’re not going to sit by while something like this is going on. There’s, there’s no way. There’s serious laws against this,” mechanic Bill Rimmer said.
During their phone call, Waters said he would forward his email so Carr could give him specifics on all the customer complaints and see the paperwork he said they signed off on where he claims they knew there was an odometer rollback. Waters never provided that email, and Carr’s messages to his cell phone were blocked.
Rimmer said before making a purchase, used car buyers should check the mileage on Carfax or a similar service against what is on the odometer, or a mechanic can check the true mileage on the car’s computer.
Cox Media Group