Remember the story of Madeline Leonard? She’s the Canadian woman, living on a fixed disability income, who was swindled into paying $66,000 CDN for a $41,000 CDN Mazda 6. We originally told you about her here, but a lot has changed since last weekend.
First, in the “do-the-right-thing” department, Mazda of Orangeville has agreed to refund Leonard’s money and take back the Mazda 6 she was tricked into buying. The dealership was also quick to point out that the employees involved in the transaction (a salesman and a business manager) have been fired. Regardless of their termination, the dealership still faces a fine of up to $250,000 CDN and the employees themselves face fines and / or jail time. It would be prudent for them to practice maintaining a firm grip on the soap in the shower, as I’m sure that will become a necessary skill for both gentlemen in the near future.
But wait, it gets better. Mazda Canada has announced that they’re terminating the licensing agreement with Mazda of Orangeville for breaching the company’s business practices. The termination is effective immediately, and also extends to service and parts; in other words, they can’t sell new Mazda vehicles or Mazda parts, and can’t even turn wrenches on Mazda vehicles for warranty repairs. Since Mazda can’t stop them from selling used cars and performing out of warranty repairs, the dealership remains open for now. Mazda is obligated to buy back all new vehicles and any inventories of spare parts and accessories.
Clearly, this isn’t the first time the dealership has left a stink on Mazda’s name and reputation, since dealership terminations are exceedingly rare. Greg Young, Mazda’s director of corporate public relations, could not recall any other dealership terminations for breach of standards in over two decades.
As of now, Mazda of Orangeville has yet to refund Leonard’s money as promised. Given the incredible amount of bad press they’ve received over this incident, doing so, as quickly as possible, would be a step in the right direction. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think pissing off the Ontario Motor Vehicle Council any further is going to help them in court.