Auto Broker Trouble - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Auto Broker Trouble

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Buying a used car can be an adventure rather than go from one dealer to another. Some people pay an auto broker to find the car they want, but what happens if the broker doesn't deliver that car? It turned into a nightmare for one South Florida woman which is why she called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- Every driver fears it. Every day drivers get it.

Jafane Prinvil: "We were driving down the university and out of nowhere a car comes and hits us from the back. So pretty much from that accident the car was completely totaled."

Fortunately, Jafane had good insurance and they wrote her a check to replace her car. The next step, find a new one. And instead of going to dealerships, Jafane listened to a friends advice and went to an auto broker.

Jafane Prinvil: "Pretty much the brokers you pay them a certain fee, in my case the fee was about $300, and they find you a vehicle based on your budget."

Jafane filled out the paperwork saying she wanted a Malibu and as her second and third choice she wrote a Scion or Honda Civic that costs around $9,000. She then left a $2,500 deposit.

Jafane Prinvil: "And we started the whole journey of finding a car. On Monday they started sending me pictures of all the cars that I wanted."

In one of the pictures they sent Jafane the Malibu she wanted.

Jafane Prinvil: "A 2009 and it was a beautiful car, so I told him to go ahead we can buy this car let me sign the paperwork."

Jafane then paid the remaining balance she owed. On the receipt the broker wrote it was a Malibu. The next day, Jafane got a surprise.

Jafane Prinvil" "Bad news is I can't give you the car that you bought because something came up. There was an issue. Good news, we went ahead and bought you a different car so I immediately tensed up."

The broker had bought another car. A nice car, but not the Malibu Jafane has approved.

Jafane Prinvil: "I don't want the car just give me back the money that I paid you back."

And that is when the next headache appeared. Day after day, week after week, month after month, excuse after excuse why they couldn't return her $10,068.

Jafane Prinvil: "I don't have a car. I don't have a way to get to work. He has my money. He has the car apparently and he doesn't want to give me my money back."

No car. No money, but lots of anger and aggravation.

Jafane Prinvil: "I just want my money back and I want to move on. If I have to get a scooter or a bike."

Jafane chuckles but this is no joke. So Howard, are auto brokers required to follow the same laws as car dealers?

Howard Finkelstein: "Auto brokers are different than car dealers because they are not required to have a license and they are not regulated by the state. And in this case Jafane might be in trouble because when she hired the broker, she gave him a choice of three cars, and while she didn't get her first choice, the broker can argue she did get one of her choices."

We spoke to the auto broker who told us after signing the original document Jafane signed this document authorizing them to buy another car, and that if she refused to take the car within 48 hours, she would lose her money. Jafane says she did not sign that document. But Jafane didn't lose everything.

We discovered that the auto broker also has a dealer license, giving the state of Florida's Division of Motor Vehicles the power to step in. They got the broker to turn over the keys to the car. Jafane wasn't excited about. I was not what she wanted but it's better than losing everything.

Howard Finkelstein: "When you hire a broker they only have as much power as you give them. If you only want one car, don't give them two other options, and if you sign something, make sure you know what it means and keep a copy of it."

Jafane has her car but wont keep it and wont be using that auto broker again either.

Jafane Prinvil: "I'm going to probably trade it in or do something with the car to not keep it. There is nothing wrong with the car it's a good car, but it's not what I wanted."

Patrick Fraser: Now remember, there are good auto brokers. Jafane just had a really bad experience. And if you decide to use an auto broker, check with people who have used them and make sure the car they are buying is worth what you pay."

Searching for a solution and being driven the wrong way? Wanna put it on auto pilot Contact us. We will do the research and we wont sell you on a way out, we will give it to you.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN

Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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