Old Man Sues Ripoff Dealership, Wins $41,679+

Justice has finally been served to the senior citizen who was not only ripped off on his trade-in vehicle (which is, frankly, to be expected), the dealership also got him to hand over his ATM card and just straight up stole $2000 from his bank account.

Kenneth Hammel, now, 80 responded to a newspaper ad that promised to pay him $8000 for his trade-in, but he ending up getting charged over $42,000 for a used Sedona with a retail price of $23,250. He ended up winning his lawsuit against the dealership, winning $13,893, plus treble damages of $41,679, plus attorneys fees, and he gets to keep his car.

The sole source of the good news is a press release issued by the law firm, posted below. Of note, despite the case going before an arbitration board, which often tends to side with business over consumer interests, the good guys still won.

Senior Sues For Fraud And Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices


(January 15, 2009) An 80-year-old man who filed suit against the Cherry Hill Triplex automotive group of Southern New Jersey, claiming deception and theft, has won $13,893, in addition to treble damages of $41,679, plus attorneys fees, and will get to keep his vehicle, a 2005 Kia Sedona. Craig Thor Kimmel and Melissa K. Fiala of the lemon law and consumer advocacy firm of Kimmel & Silverman, P.C. brought the case on behalf of the consumer.

Relying upon the fine print of the contract, the New Jersey dealer fought vigorously to transfer the case from Court to private arbitration, resulting in the case being heard by the American Arbitration Association.

The complaint alleged that when Kenneth Hammel of Fairless Hills, PA responded to an advertisement offer guaranteeing $8,000 for his trade, he was eventually charged over $42,000 for a used 2005 Kia Sedona that carried a retail price of $23,250. Hammel, who is physically disabled and requires the use of a motorized wheelchair, alleged that Cherry Hill Triplex accepted his 2000 Chrysler Town & Country in trade for a vehicle that could accommodate a motorized lift. After many hours of what was alleged as “high-pressure selling,” Hammel agreed to purchase a 2005 silver Kia Sedona. Approximately 12 hours after his arrival at Cherry Hill Triplex, Hammel finally was released to drive home in the Sedona.

The next day, Hammel noticed the motorized lift installed by the dealership was not functioning correctly. He contacted Cherry Hill Triplex and was advised to drop off the vehicle for repair. When he returned, Hammel alleges the dealership presented him with a different car—a beige 2005 Kia Sedona.

Hammel claimed that, unbeknownst to him, when the dealership presented him with the second vehicle, they traded in the first vehicle he had just purchased three weeks earlier and subtracted nearly $8,000 for “depreciation.” The financing was also altered, form an annual percentage rate of 7.49% to 10.4% .The monthly payment skyrocketed from $250 a month to $385.88.

According to attorney Melissa K. Fiala, the testimony revealed that Cherry Hill Triplex engaged in practices that were unlawful and deceptive. Craig Thor Kimmel says “It is a terrible thing that in these difficult economic times, some businesses feel entitled to take advantage of their customers. Senior citizens are especially vulnerable and should be cautioned never to go it alone when swimming in these shark tanks.’ Both Kimmel and Fiala further say that consumers can’t believe everything they read in mail or print advertisements. “As the old adage says, if it’s too good to be true, it most likely is. Mr. Hammel learned the hard way.” says Kimmel.

[Press Release]

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