ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orange County woman claims a car dealership failed to deliver the vehicle it promised after she paid thousands upfront.
When its refund checks bounced, she called action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich. he took her case to the dealer and found a top manager there with a criminal past.
“And these empty promises, it's disgusting,” Nicky Lytus said.
She doesn't have a car, even though she paid for a 2011 Volkswagen 2 months ago. Lytus gave Reliable Motors $6,500 upfront to buy a car at auction. But 10 days later there’s no Volkswagen and the dealer said it had a bad air conditioner and transmission and they were making repairs.
“Did you want that car now?” Ulrich asked.
“No, absolutely not,” Lytus replied.
She said that wasn’t the vehicle Reliable Motors promised.
Lytus said the dealership agreed but then its first refund checks bounced, and she kept hearing the refund was coming.
“I promise it will be there at six tonight. I have texts to prove it,” Lytus said.
“You are over this?” Ulrich asked.
“I definitely am, myself and my family,” Lytus said.
The dealer provided a loaner car for 10 days but that still left her without any vehicle for weeks.
Lytus contacted Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and Action 9.
Ulrich went to Reliable Motors for answers.
“When will she get her money?” Ulrich asked manager Lawrence Lockhart.
“Nicky Lytus has lied,” Lockhart said.
“Your refund checks bounced, when will she get the rest of her money?” Ulrich asked.
“She has lied,” Lockhart said again.
Lockhart is serving probation for stealing state funds at a former dealership he owned. State records show it involved $ 37,000 in sales taxes.
“You're serving probation for financial crimes now. When will she get her money?” Ulrich asked.
“Listen, you don’t know the whole truth,” Lockhart said.
Reliable Motors also sent Ulrich an email that said Lytus had signed an "as is" disclosure, so it didn't have to take the car back. But now it will undo the deal and had already sent Lytus $5,100, and the balance will follow.
“I wouldn’t have seen a penny of this money without your help and DMV's,” Lytus told Ulrich.
If a dealership offers to find you a vehicle at the auction, avoid a full payment in advance.
In your contract include the right to inspect and reject the car before final delivery.
Reliable Motors Response:
Good Day Mr. Ulrich,
I am responding to the letter we received in reference to the complaint submitted to you by Ms. Nicola Lytus.
To begin, Ms. Lytus was a previous client who purchased a vehicle for her daughter from Reliable Motors I'm 2018. Ms. Lytus was very pleased with our service and quality of the vehicle.
As per Ms. Lytus' request we found and purchased a 2011 Volkswagen CC to her liking and upon pre-inspection by our mechanic it was discovered that the A/C compressor needed to be replaced, which was completed. We provided Ms. Lytus with a loaner vehicle while the A/C repair was being performed
Upon further inspection, it was discovered that there was a delay I'm the 4th gear that would progressively worsen and the transmission required replacement. Although, having a signed "AS IS" disclosure we made the decision to replace the transmission. The repair time frame was extended, with which Ms. Lytus grew increasingly frustrated, however remained with a loaner vehicle.
In the interim, Ms. Lytus was advised of the repairs being made, to which she expressed her concerns towards the vehicle, however we assured her all would be well once the repairs were completed.
Once the repairs were completed, Ms. Lytus was given the vehicle, however stated she no longer wanted the vehicle as the whole situation had left a "bad taste" in her mouth and she just wanted to get a cheaper vehicle. We expressed to Ms. Lytus that not taking the vehicle would be a tremendous blow to us financially,as we are a small dealer and we typically do not purchase vehicles of that high value.
Being that Ms. Lytus was a former client and what we thought was a friend, we agreed to refund Ms. Lytus the $6480 she paid for the vehicle even though she signed the AS IS Paperwork.
As of today, $5100 has been refunded to Ms. Lytus and there is a balance of $1380 remaining. I am completely shocked that Ms. Lytus has not only filed a complaint with the DMV , who advised her that the vehicle was sold "AS IS" and is civil matter, but also contacted Channel 9 when all we tried to do was provide her with a quality vehicle.
We have been in business for approximately 4 years in a very competitive industry and we always strive to do what's best for our clients and continue to grow our small business.
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