As reported by the Virginian-Pilot, Sawyer purchased an SUV from Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake in May 2012. After test driving a blue Traverse, he opted instead for a black one. He signed a promissory note listing a sales price of $34,000, traded in his old car, and left in the SUV. Sawyer came back the next day and asked to trade the black SUV for the blue one. Unbeknownst to him, apparently, was the fact that the blue model cost about $5,500 more. It was allegedly unbeknownst to him because the sales manager allegedly did not tell him. As the Pilot reports, “the final contract Sawyer signed did not reflect the higher price, which [Vice President Stacy] Cummings said should have been in the area of $39,000. He blamed a clerical error.”
Sawyer left on vacation for a week, and returned to find a sizable amount of voicemails from the dealership telling him that they undercharged him, and that he had to come back to sign a new contract. Sawyer claims that he refused, and the dealership claims Sawyer agreed to come in but never showed up. I can see Sawyer’s point of view, which would be that the deal was done, the dealership had accepted his money, and the car was his. The dealership did not see it that way.
Police showed up at Sawyer’s house in June and arrested him for car theft. After four hours in jail, a magistrate released him on bond. Apparently, the manager and the vice president of the dealership intended to involve the police to help locate the car, but a manager told police the car had been stolen. All charges against Sawyer were dropped by late August. That’s where the story gets fun.
Sawyer is suing the dealership for “malicious prosecution, slander, defamation, and abuse of process, among other things.” He is seeking damages of $2.2 million.
I can see several morals to this story.
- Get it in writing.
- If the police arrest someone on your behalf, it’s pretty much on you.
- Seriously, get it in writing.
If I remember to do so later, I’ll keep an eye on this rather fascinating tale.
Photo credit: ”09 Chevrolet Traverse” by IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.