Friday, October 5, 2012

Yet ANOTHER reason why never to buy from a new car dealer

One of the salesmen at Priority Chevrolet of Chesapeake, Virginia sold Danny Sawyer a Chevrolet Traverse for $33,995 when the price should have been $38,995. The legal documents--signed by a dealer representative-- clearly show $33,995 to be the sales price.  Sawyer took off for a week's vacation in his new vehicle.

Upon his return, the dealer contacted Sawyer and asked to change the contract by raising the sales price by $5,000.  Had you been Sawyer, what would you have done?  

(Note to readers: I wouldn't buy a vehicle from a new car dealer under under any circumstances whatsoever but in my never-too-humble-option, Sawyer should have offered to go halfway. Split the difference so that each party lost just $2,500).

However, Sawyer preferred not to budge.  The dealer should have let it go. That's business, folks.  You make a mistake, you pay for it and carry on.  But some idiot at Priority Chevrolet thought he had a better idea. He called the police and reported that Sawyer had stolen the SUV!

Danny Sawyer was taken into custody in his front yard and spent four hours in jail before being released on bail. Although the local district attorney later dropped all charges against him, Sawyer was mad.  So mad that he is now suing Priority Chevrolet for  $2.2 million in damages!

I hope Sawyer loses the case, because $2.2 million is just plain greedy, but the dealer was too anxious to cover 100% of the error. Even if the case is dismissed, after the dealer pays the lawyers, a lot more than $5,000 will have gone down the drain!

Readers, let's hear your comments

Am I too hard on the dealer?. On Sawyer?  On Both?  What would YOU have done if you were Sawyer?  Or if you were the dealer?  Here's the link to Chevy Dealer Causes Customer to Get Arrested.


  1. I love your blog, books, and all writings so much!

    Regarding this situation, I hope Sawyer gets all the money he wants, and more if possible. It's probably not very likely he'll get what he wants. You can ask for any amount of money you want to in a lawsuit--it doesn't really mean anything.

    Calling the police is a VERY serious matter. When police are involved, and people are arrested, lives can change forever. Arrest records can haunt someone forever. Innocent people can be killed by the police, either on the street or in the jail. What if the guy was arrested while going to help his child in some emergency situation? This list of things goes on forever.

    The only thing businesses understand is money, so making sure that they take a MAJOR hit in that bank account is the only way to make sure they get punished properly.

    I also agree that when a business screws up, it doesn't hurt to ask the customer to fix it, but if they refuse, you take the hit and move on.

    This guy did nothing wrong except buy a Chevy/Govt Motors vehicle. And for the smarter folks, we also know you should NEVER buy a vehicle from a dealership even if they are selling cars for $1.

  2. Hah! Oh my goodness. That is sad and hilarious. I don't think you are being too hard on either of them. Personally, if I was Sawyer I wouldn't have budged either. The deal was done, the time for price adjustments were long gone.

    I also agree that the 2.2million is crazy. A few thousand for his jail time and embarrassment maybe. Ridiculous.

  3. Priority, and the salesman should be able to easily absorb such a single mistake. One commission on one vehicle... suck it up!

    Sawyer is right to embarrass the snot out of Priority because they have such idiots working for them.

    $2.2 million is a bit much, but only a little bit. They really should train their people. They embarrassed and annoyed Sawyer in front of his neighbors, created a false police report, added him to some pretty horrible databases, and cost him bail and court fees.

    I hope he wins big. I'd try to own the dealership too. (And the home of the one who called the cops with the false report.) Make them an example... but I like to burn the huts and salt the earth behind me in these situations.

    1. What makes you think "one commission on one vehicle" is enough to cover a $5000 mistake? Especially in new cars, where buyers know, to the penny, what you paid, etc.

      The contract did not reflect their original intention, if it was supposed to be 38k.

      Rule of thumb posed in a question: was either party trying to get away with something, or get somethjing that was not earned? I see one party who made a mistake and one party who attempted to cash in on that.

      I'd have paid the 5k, if thats what it was supposed to have been. I am not deluded enough to believe many others would--if, for example, the mistake had been mine.

  4. Wow! In my opinion, $2.2 million is not at all greedy.

    Everything Sawyer did was perfectly legitimate. It's not his problem that they misstated the price.

    Had it been, say, a $10,000 or $15,000 difference, he should have known to ask questions, as surely he's been shopping around to get a sense of a good price. The difference between $33,995 versus $38,995 is plausible; $28,995 on the other hand would have me a bit suspicious.

    Therefore, I, in my best judgement, consider him to have been acting in good faith.

    The very fact that that dealer insinuated that what he did was illegal is absurd on its own. The fact that he went to the extent of calling the police and having him arrested should have this dealer facing legal consequences.

    He's given Sawyer an arrest record... so for falsely doing so, and unreasonably burdening the police department, he should be in those databases as well.

    That said, bring it on. I hope they drive that joker into bankruptcy.

  5. Wow. In some states an arrest record, even if dropped, will make it so he can never have firearms again. No amount of money can ever pay him back for forever losing his ability to protect himself and his loved ones.

    Also, jail is as close to hell as one can get on Earth. The things prisoners, and even guards, do to you in there can never be compensated for.

    The act of being arrested can cause heart attack and death from fear because it is so traumatic. He's fortunate the cops didn't kill him, or his dog, which happens all the time during arrest. (Or his neighbor or his neighbor's dog due to getting the wrong house address as they often do.)

    2.2 million is not nearly enough. I'm not sure any amount could ever be enough. He should at least get 10 million, the amount needed to never have to work again. But how will he protect that money from thieves if he can't have firearms now?

    The man who called the police should lose his business or job. A man like that should not be allowed in any position of authority. How could any man in this day and age not know how utterly horrible contact with cops is now?

  6. Paul - Richmond, VAOctober 11, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Agreed 2.2M would have been greedy, but for the arrest record and lifelong consequences, an arrest record itself being a form of extrajudicial punishment.

  7. Hi -

    This case shows what happens when some slimeball car salesman tries to game the system and sc--- someone who kept their word. If I were the car salesman, I would "suck it up".
    Now, for Mr. Sawyer, I think 2.2 mill is too much. But, at a minimum, he should receive the following: [1] 100-200k MINIMUM - MAYBE MORE, [2] his arrest record expunged from all databases EVERYWHERE, [3] all accompanying paperwork (DNA, fingerprints, etc) returned to him and removed from all databases everywhere AND [4] a formal written apology from the prosecutor UNDER OATH AND UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY certified by a local judge stating that Mr. Sawyer was wrongly arrested and that items #2 and #3 have been done
    (or something equivalent). If that is not done, then Mr. Sawyer clearly has grounds to sue the prosecutor personally. (Yes, it can be done!)
    Now, as for the salesman and the dealer, they should be prosecuted criminally for fraud, misrepresentation, and malicious prosecution. They should be heavily fined (min 250-500k) and should serve serious felony jail time (min. 5yrs for each of those yahoos). No suspended sentences, probation, or parole.

  8. Once I go to jail for a lie (even for a minute, let alone several hours) the liar is lucky if I don't beat four hours of my freedom out of him.

    How long is an acceptable amount to go to be locked up based on a lie?
    What amount of money is too much for false imprisonment?
    I just don't think in those terms. So 2.2 million dollars (or any other amount of money) is not a fair trade for hours of my false imprisonment.

  9. Many are assuming that the 5K was an honest mistake. It is a common (sleazy) tactic for the salesman and customer to agree on a price, then the salesman gets his bos to approve it and all of a sudden they "notice" a mistake in which the salesman "almost gets fired" so negotiations are reopened to raise the price. To me 5k is still within the realm of what may have been an agreed upon price. If the amount had been a lot bigger one could argue that the customer might have noticed a mistake (but then again the salesman who sells cars everyy day should definitely have picked it up.) In either case, the dealer should have sued in court and handled it as a civil matter.

  10. It was a bogus police report, plain and simple, because the dealership messed up and didn't have the decency to write it off. Filing a false report should have put someone from the dealership in jail instead!

    I agree with Jack... buy from a private party.


Please leave a constructive comment below. Spam and Advertising will not be posted, so it's not even worth trying - all comments are moderated.