Chevy dealer accidentally sells car for $5,600 less than asking price... and then has buyer ARRESTED for theft
A Virginia man went to a Chevrolet dealership to buy a new SUV but ended up in jail when a sales representative sold him a vehicle for the wrong price, and then accused him of stealing it.
Danny Sawyer, 40, spent four hours behind bars after purchasing a 2012 Chevrolet Traverse from Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake in May.
According to a pair of lawsuit filed recently by the Virginia resident, the dealership’s staff sold him the SUV for $5,600 less than they should have, and then informed the buyer that he must sign a new contract for the correct amount.
When Sawyer refused, the suits allege, a dealership employee called police and had him arrested after claiming that he had stolen the SUV.
Dennis Ellmer, president of Priority Chevrolet, had issued apologies to Sawyer, saying that he never should have been incarcerated.
In addition to his mea culpa, Ellmer, who manages all 11 dealerships in the Priority Auto Group, also offered to let Sawyer have the SUV at the lower price, but the 40-year-old said it is too late for that, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
Sawyer, who works as a registered nurse, filed two lawsuits seeking a total of $2.2million, plus attorney fees, against the Chesapeake dealership, accusing the business of malicious prosecution, slander, defamation and abuse of process.
An employee at Priority Chevrolet declined to comment on the lawsuits when reached on Wednesday.
According to the filings, Sawyer originally bought a black Chevy Traverse on May 7 after trading in his 2008 Saturn Vue, but had a change of heart and decided to exchange the vehicle for a blue model the following day.
Sales manager Wib Davenport approved the substitution allegedly without mentioning that the blue Traverse will cost additional $5,600 – a claim that has been disputed by the dealership.
In the end, Sawyer signed a final contract for a little over $34,000 while the actual asking price of the vehicle was listed as $39,000.
A week later, Sawyer returned from a trip to find dozens of voicemail messages from the dealership informing him that that a mistake had been made and asking him to come in and sign a new contract for the higher price.
Sawyer’s lawsuits allege that the buyer refused, although the dealership insists that he orally agreed to pay the difference, but then failed to show up to sign the papers.
On June 15, Sawyer was arrested by three police officers in his front yard after a manager at the dealership accused him of stealing the SUV.
Four hours later, Sawyer was released on bond, and in late August, the Commonwealth of Virginia dropped all charges against him after finding insufficient evidence to pursue the case.
In later September, Ellmer apologized to the aggrieved customer, saying that his staff made a mistake by going to the police.
‘This shouldn't have happened,’ he said.
Rebecca Colaw, Sawyer's attorney, said she appreciates that Ellmer is taking responsibility for what happened, but said that ‘sorry’ is just not enough.