A woman who claims she was confused and on medication when she was pressured into buying a car at an unfair price has earned a measure of justice after two employees were charged and fired for allegedly persuading her to make the dubious purchase.
“I felt cheated, and lied to and manipulated and conned and pressured,” said Madeline Leonard, who walked into the Orangeville Mazda dealership to get her transmission fixed, and ended up signing papers for a 2010 Mazda 6.
Leonard has a number of health issues, including fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, depression and anxiety. She also has difficulty concentrating and says she was heavily medicated and in poor condition last December when she visited the dealership.
Before she knew it, she had signed off on a new car.
“He started pointing here and said initial this, initial that, sign here…I was on a lot of medication…”
By the time she left the lot she had agreed to a $45,000 list price, thousands in extras, plus an 8-year loan at 7.4% for a grand total of $66,000.
“It’s killing me financially, it’s bi-weekly payments, $319 every two weeks,” she stresses.
Leonard is on disability and says she has an income of just over $1800/month.
The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) is the body that regulates new and used registered car dealers. After an investigation they determined Leonard was overcharged for the car, which they determined is worth closer to $40,000.
They also found that it wasn’t new, although the salesperson said it was. The OMVIC has since laid charges under the Consumer Protection Act against the dealership and two employees — the salesman and the business manager.
“We felt that the circumstances were quite outrageous, the fees and things…and that’s not something we are going to tolerate,” said Laura Halbert, Director of Compliance, OMVIC.
The owner of the dealership, Sunny Bains, maintains he has taken measures to right the situation.
“They have both been fired,” he said, referring to the salesman and business manager. “She has been contacted, and we are going to take the car back and pay her the money, whatever she paid.”
Despite that action the charges are still in place, with the those implicated facing fines of up to $250,000 and even possible jail time.