LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A Lake County man claims a local dealer sold him a car with a hidden past.
Allen Ucci said he had no clue a 2007 Nissan 350 Z had been badly damaged before he paid $13,500 to buy it. He claims the dealer, StarMax Finance, never told him it was in a flood and he only discovered it after the vehicle's engine blew out .
"That means there's a big hole in the engine block that squirts oil everywhere and it will not run," said Allen.
Later, Allen found the vehicle’s title was branded a flood vehicle. In Florida, regulations require that disclosure in writing.
Loribeth Ucci and her son claim that didn’t happen.
"That was never said and never told and I'm not going to stop, because I am extremely upset," said Loribeth Ucci.
At the dealership, a manager showed Action 9 a document he said Allen signed that disclosed the flood damage. But the document wasn't dated and didn’t have the dealer signature, unlike other sales documents.
WFTV was denied a copy of the document.
"Are you blaming me? Are you blaming me?" asked the store manager.
"The customer is,” said Action 9’s Todd Ulrich.
Later, a state DMV investigator went to Starmax and told Allen the company showed her a disclosure that had been dated and notarized, a far different document than the one Action 9 saw just days before.
Starmax said the notarized version had been locked in a safe and the car's price reflected a flood title value.
The Ucci's contacted the DMV and the agency investigated. It told the Uccis it can't determine if the document is invalid and that they needed to file a complaint with the Department of State, which regulates notaries.
"To find a flood-damaged vehicle, oh, no no," said Loribeth Ucci.
The DMV told the Uccis they could file against the dealer's state bond to recover some money.