Car Dealer Fraud? - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Car Dealer Fraud?

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Danielle Gibbs Danielle Gibbs

When you buy a car, many people are told their financing is approved on the spot, only to find out a few days later the bank rejected them. It happens a lot, but then you won't believe what one used car dealership asked a young South Florida woman to do, which is why she contacted Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- As we got to Danielle's home, she was in the front yard, on the phone with a dealer she had bought a car from.

Danielle Gibbs: "I understand proper steps should be taken, but they were not taken initially with this entirely."

Danielle has been using her parents' cars since she started driving, and had now saved $5,000 to put down on her first car.

Danielle Gibbs: "I'm a makeup artist. I do that for a living. I work very hard for my money."

She then went to a used car dealer in Miami, where a used car salesmen did what used car salesmen do: went to work on her.

Danielle Gibbs: "And then he also asked me my social, and I was, to be honest, I was a little intimidated. And you know how they say you should go with your gut. I'm a firm believer in that now."

To make a long story short, the salesman convinced Danielle to buy a 3-year-old Honda for nearly $23,000.

Danielle Gibbs: "He told me I had been approved by three banks and was great news and he went ahead and got the paperwork all together. Everything was fine; I drove off the lot."

A couple of days later the salesman told Danielle she needed to come talk to them, that there e was a problem with the financing, that she didn't make enough money. But when she got there, she says the sales manager told her he had a solution: to tell thebankk she had a second job.

Danielle Gibbs: "He ended up telling me, 'Listen, the bank is actually going to be contacting you to confirm some information about where you work and everything like that.' He wrote how much I should say I make monthly. 'I even have these pay stubs for you when the bank calls, you have all your information. Don't worry about it, my ex-wife owns this salon, just say you work there. Don't worry, everything is covered.'"

When Danielle saw the fake pay stubs in her name that said she made $1,600 every two weeks at a salon, she knew right away what was going on.

Danielle Gibbs: "He's asking me to commit fraud to the bank and federal government by saying that I work somewhere that I don't."

The employee admitted it.

Danielle Gibbs: "He told me not to tell anyone, and saying, 'I'm doing you a favor. I can get in trouble for this, but I'm trying to do you a favor.'"

Danielle went home, and then called the dealer to let them know she had no intention of lying to a bank.

Danielle Gibbs: "He got really loud, yelled at me and he was just saying all kinds of things that are inappropriate, to say the least."

Since the dealer couldn't legally get Danielle financed, they had to take the car back and return her $5,000 deposit, but they said no, wanting her to do the financing their apparent illegal way.

Danielle Gibbs: "I feel trapped, I feel harassed, I'm like terrified. This whole entire issue is emotionally straining. You kind of want to trust people. I know we live in Miami."

Well, Howard, Danielle was asked to lie to a bank, to show them these pay stubs from a place she has never worked, and when she refused the dealer refused to take the car back and return her $5,000 deposit. What's the law say about a case like this?

Howard Finkelstein: "Pure and simple: If you lie to the bank to get the loan, it's fraud. It's a crime, not only for the salesman who told her to do it, but for the customer if they go along with it. Danielle, of course, would not be part of that."

Danielle Gibbs: "I'm here with Channel 7 News. I asked a simple question. I'd like a simple answer."

Back to that phone conversation Danielle was having when we first met her. She told the dealer Help Me Howard was doing a story on the suggestion she lie to the bank. I guess that had an impact. They agreed to take the car back, and they returned Danielle's $5,000 deposit.

We spoke to the dealership, which just hired a new general manager. He told us he met with his staff, that the employee who was accused of offering fake pay stubs to Danielle denied it. But the general manager added he met with all the employees and told them, "We don't do business like this. It's not acceptable and will not be tolerated."

Danielle Gibbs: "They got a little bit afraid they were going to get exposed."

Danielle's determination to be honest and not break the law was rewarded. She got her $5,000 dollars back.

Danielle Gibbs: "I'm extremely happy that I called Help Me Howard and all of the help that I got. It's just been tremendous."

Danielle could call the police about what she says happened at the dealership, but she told us she won't because the dealership gave her what she wanted: her $5,000 back. And by the way, this all started over financing. If you buy a car, don't drive off the lot until you've seen in writing that your loan has been approved by the lender. Even if they tell you it's been pre-approved, wait for final approval.

Paying for a problem that is driving you batty? Want a better deal? Contact us. You can bank on us trying to help, and that's no lie.

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.

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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