TAMPA (CN) – Stuff like this could give used car dealers a bad name. A woman claims she lost her job because a Hyundai dealer flim-flammed her on a used car, and when she complained, the dealer called her boss – who does marketing for the car dealer – and demanded that the woman “work something out.” When she pressed her case with the car dealer, she says, she was fired.
Bernadette Vega says she paid $1,500 down in cash, plus a $500 check, for a used 2004 Hyundai Elantra at Brandon Mitsubishi Hyundai. She put the documents in the glove box and drove off the lot.
Less than two hours later, she says, defendant salesman Benjamin Soriano called her and told her the car “had not been properly ‘serviced,'” so she “needed to immediately return it to the car dealership.”
Despite the inconvenience – and six more frantic phone calls from the salesman as she drove back – she says she returned it, and requested, and received, a loaner.
Actually, Vega says, the car’s original owner had not qualified for financing, so she wanted her car back. Vega says the defendants returned it, through this trickery, and two days later the owner called her to tell her she had found Vega’s documents in the glove box and wanted to return them.
She says the dealer repeatedly tried to sell her a different car, but she was suspicious. Six days after the bungled purchase, she “had demand letters served” on the defendants. They immediately demanded she return the loaner, and she did so, she says.
That afternoon, Vega says, she got a call from her part-time employer, Stronger Pulse Marketing, which counts Brandon Mitsubishi Hyundai among its clients. Her employer’s agent, “Ms. Benjamin,” told her the agency had received a call from the car dealer’s general manager, co-defendant Dan Norris, who told her of the demand letter.
“Mr. Norris threatened s. Benjamin that if Ms. Vega continued to work at Pulse and did not return to the dealership and resolve matters, the car dealership would no longer use Pulse for marketing,” according to the complaint in Hillsborough County Court.
“Ms. Benjamin, acting pursuant to Mr. Norris’s threat, informed Ms. Vega that if she did not attempt to resolve matter with the car dealership, Pulse would have to terminate her. When Ms. Vega failed to do so, she was terminated.”
Vega seeks damages for fraud, conversion, conspiracy, and tortious interference with a business relationship. She sued the car dealer, Norris and Soriano – but not her former employer.
She is represented by Jeffrey Lieser.