Last May, I purchased a vehicle from a used car dealer.
Everything was great until about two weeks later, when the dealership, Marietta Luxury Motors, called and said they forgot to add in the motor vehicle tax and I owe them an additional $1,700.
Am I responsible for that? At the time of purchase, they told me I needed to put down $4,000 as a down payment. They printed up the papers and I signed them, and I picked up the vehicle three days later.
After this happened, I contacted the Better Business Bureau, and the dealership responded that they would pay the taxes but they would report me to the government for unpaid taxes.
Do I have any recourse, since we have a binding contract?
- Chontae Edison, Atlanta, Ga.
Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.
Buying a car is stressful enough without getting a call weeks later that you owe more money. You seemed to be on pretty solid ground, though, because you had a signed sales contract for a 2011 Infiniti G37 coupe in which the dealership had left blank the line for “government taxes (that are) not included in cash price.” In addition, on the signed “buyer’s order” for the car, the dealership had typed a zero on the line for tax.
Just to be sure, we reached out to two national consumer experts and two attorneys in your home state of Georgia. All of them said it’s the dealer’s responsibility to handle collection of Georgia’s motor vehicle tax, and if they didn’t include it in the contract you signed, you can’t be expected to pay it later.
So we contacted the dealership and asked them to take another look. We soon heard back from Daniel Salazar, the general manager. He blamed a “glitch” for the line-item mistakes and said they took care of the taxes and won’t report you to any taxing authority. So you’re off the hook. Enjoy your car.
- The ABC News Fixer
Most people groan at the thought of spending hours on the phone with a customer service call center, but Stephanie Zimmermann relishes the chance to slice through red tape.
Before joining ABC News, Stephanie untangled consumer problems at the Chicago Sun-Times, where her popular column recovered more than $1.4 million in refunds, credits, and merchandise for consumers in the Windy City.
Stephanie, who lives in Chicago, has also worked at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and has bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. But most of all, Stephanie is a consumer who hates to see anyone else get ripped off.