A 56 year old Canadian woman, who lives on a disability income of $1,900 CDN per month and is listed as “intellectually disabled”, brought her 2004 Mazda 3 into Mazda of Orangeville (outside of Toronto) for a new set of tires. By the time she was through, a fast talking salesman had convinced her to trade up to a new Mazda 6. Madeline Leonard, the victim, was confused by all the numbers but signed for the deal anyway. And what a deal it was.
First, Leonard agreed to pay $45,846 CDN for a car that should have stickered at $39,969 CDN. And that’s if it was new, which the car Leonard purchased wasn’t: it had accumulated some 6,000 miles as a dealer demonstrator. The fast talking salesman then proceeded to sell her add-ons, like a window etching and undercoating package for $4,500 CDN. They were kind enough to arrange 8 year financing as well, which ultimately added another $16,000 CDN to the price (including a final balloon payment of $7,000 CDN). When the dust settled, Leonard had agreed to pay $66,000 CDN for a car that, if new, should have sold for around $41,000 CDN.
The dealership’s business manager, who’s identity we’ll protect by calling him “Kien Trung”, can’t understand what the fuss is about. In his own words:
“We didn’t do anything wrong in the case of this transaction. We made a little bit of money on the deal. I guess she was not happy with it.”
Surprisingly, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Council didn’t agree with Trung and filed legal action against the dealership. The defendants, who maintain their innocence, are facing fines of $95,000 CDN each; in addition, the dealership is facing a fine of $240,000 CDN. Mazda Canada is waiting for a court decision before they decide what action to take against the dealership.