Action 9 helps first-time car buyer who bought previously wrecked car

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A Mebourne woman told Action 9’s Todd Ulrich what she had thought was a great deal for a first-time used-car buyer was really a vehicle that had been wrecked and totaled. Sarah Stinson said the dealer tried to hide the fact that the vehicle had been wrecked and she lost $1,700, so she called Action 9 for help.          

Stinson said she regrets "trying" to buy her first car at AutoMax of Brevard.

“I really let my excitement get ahead of me,” Stinson said.

The online ad offered a 2005 Hyundai Accent in excellent condition, and the car had a clean title. Stinson financed it for more than $5,000, but didn't take delivery because of an insurance delay.

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That night her parents checked out the contract. Tina Wood discovered a document her daughter hadn't even realized she had signed. It was a disclosure for a salvage title.

“It’s not right and they need to be stopped,” said Wood.

The vehicle had been in two prior crashes and had been designated by the insurance company as totaled in one accident. 

The dealer’s online ad claimed it was a clean title, so Stinson said the document caught her by complete surprise. 

“No one ever explained the contract to me. 'Here just sign on the dotted line,'" Stinson said.

Stinson said she canceled the contract and never took possession of the car. But then AutoMax refused to return her $1,700 down payment.

AutoMax of Brevard is operated by Dan Foreman. He refused to answer any of Action 9’s questions, and two calls to the dealership were not returned.

The dealership was just suspended as a member of the Better Business Bureau, in part over a serious pattern of complaints that involved repeated mechanical breakdowns.

BBB President Holly Salmons said many customers found the warranty didn’t cover their repairs.

“What consumers experienced was that it was difficult to collect on that warranty and (you) had to follow some very fine print,” Salmons said.

Stinson filled out a state attorney general complaint. 

“I didn't want the car anymore, but they weren't having it,” Stinson said.

After the story first aired, the dealership contacted Action 9 to say it had done nothing wrong.

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