Gurnee Dodge Inc. Complaint - Fraud - Refusal To Provide Title To Vehicle Per Contract
GURNEE, ILLINOIS -- On July 23, 2008, I purchased a 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan from Gurnee Dodge Inc. that had been advertised on Ebay. The Ebay site where Gurnee Dodge had this van for sale (this is how I learned of the vehicle) stated the following:
“There is a $150 documentary fee added on all our auctions. Out of State Buyers will be provided necessary paperwork to pay taxes if we don’t collect here, and register in their own State, a temporary tag is available for only $10. Vehicle title will be sent to the out of state buyers via Fed-Ex, if there is a pay-off for the sold vehicle it might take up to 30 days till the title is available. Illinois and Wisconsin residents will have to pay taxes and registration fees.”
This is also what was represented when the deal for the vehicle was made and throughout the entire sale process.
I arranged for a friend to pick up the vehicle for me since I had to work. I was told that I would have to provide my friend with a copy of my driver’s license and a signed statement authorizing him to act on my behalf concerning the sale of the vehicle. I provided him with those items.
The agreed price of the vehicle was $2,250 plus a documentary service fee of $150.00 for a total of $2,400.00. I have copies of the Illinois Standard Buyers Order documenting these amounts as the exact amounts owed to Gurnee Dodge. On July 23, 2008 I paid (through my friend) $2,400.00 in cash for which I have a receipt from Gurnee Dodge. At the time of the purchase, my friend took possession of the vehicle and was told the title would be sent to me (as represented on their Ebay site). He was given numerous documents, including a Illinois Department of Revenue Form ST-556 Sales Tax Transaction Return showing the sale to a nonresident and indicating that no sales tax is due. This document was signed by a representative of Gurnee Dodge 0n July 23, 2008. After paying the agreed price for the vehicle, my friend took possession of the vehicle and delivered the vehicle to me. My friend left without the title because he was told it would be mailed to me. That is what was represented to me prior to the sale and in their advertisement of the vehicle on Ebay.
On July 29, 2008, an employee of Gurnee Dodge named Richard Werk contacted my friend concerning the title. When I returned the phone call at 1:34 PM, Mr. Werk stated that they would "be glad" to take care of getting the title placed in my name if I would just send $145 dollars to the company. I told him that I did not want them to "take care of the title" and that I wanted the title sent to me as had been agreed upon before the sale took place. Mr. Werk, at that time, said they would send the title to me.
On Friday, August 1, 2008, I received a voice mail from Mr. Werk asking me to call. When I returned the phone call, Mr. Werk stated that I would have to pay $145 to the company for sales tax and the amount HAD to be paid by Monday, August 4, 2008 and demanded a credit card number to make the payment. When I questioned the sales tax and why (if it was a state law that it had to be collected by the dealer from the purchaser) it had not been disclosed to me when the purchase was made and why it had not been mentioned in the previous conversation we had on 07/29/2008. No coherent answer was provided. I kept getting told that this was a law from 2005. When I asked if they had ever sold a vehicle to anyone outside of the state since 2005, I was told "Yes". Then I asked why, if they had sold vehicles out of state before, that they did not know about this law until just now and why this was not disclosed to me prior to the sale. Again, I received no coherent answer, just "You have to pay us this money by August 4."
When I asked to speak to someone else about the problem, I was connected with the "Finance Manager," who I believe was Ray Hoadley. I was told that the tax was due because my friend “had represented himself as a dealer, and that was why the tax was not collected at the time of the sale." At no time did my friend represent himself as a dealer. If so, the paperwork would have been in my friend’s name, not mine, and they would have required a dealer's license number (None of which happened). All of the paperwork indicates that I was the purchaser of the vehicle and that it was being sold to me, an individual. I was again told that I had until 08/04/2008 to send $145 to the company or else I would not receive the title to the vehicle for which I had paid. I told "The Finance Manager" that I would pay the sales tax for the vehicle in Indiana when I received the title.
When I went to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, I was told that the sales tax did not have to be paid in Illinois - that it could be paid in Indiana and is done all the time.
I also contacted a representative in the Illinois Department of Revenue who stated that sales tax must be paid on the vehicle, but the law does not specify that the purchaser has to be the one to pay the sales tax.
I had a contract with Gurnee Dodge. The oral and written agreement of the sale was for a total price of $2,400, which I paid to them in cash and have a receipt. The agreement also was that the title would be sent to me by Gurnee Dodge. Gurnee Dodge has failed to live up to their end of the contract. They are refusing to send me the title to the vehicle. They are, in effect, holding the title to my vehicle “hostage,” in what appears, to me, to be an extortion attempt to try to force me to pay more money to them. They have falsely advertised the terms of this vehicle’s sale and practiced misleading and unlawful business practices by selling me the vehicle, accepting payment for the vehicle, giving me possession of the vehicle and now refusing to provide me with the title to the vehicle for which I paid.
On August 1, 2008, I attempted to contact the President of Gurnee Dodge, Inc., Michael Fohrman, to try to work out the situation. When I called the company, the only person I was allowed to talk to was Sue Breytspraak, who takes care of the license & titling. After talking to me, she put me on hold to connect me to him, but then came back on the phone and said she was unable to do so. Mr Fohrman refused to take my call.