Today I received a letter from the state attorney general’s office, containing Dulles Motorcars’ response to my complaint [that they did not honor the sale price confirmed via e-mail, that they sold me a car with water damage (more than likely, knowingly; they delayed the sale of the car by one day) and refused to take it back, and that offering me “substantive collateral” (a replacement vehicle with 120 miles on it vs the 12 miles on the one I bought) was not acceptable].
Circles, and more circles.
Some people simply do not know what it is to do the right thing or to follow the golden rule.
So far, in this particular case, the state attorney general’s office seems to function just like the Better Business Bureau. That means they mail correspondence back and forth between the disputing parties, and that is about it.
I called and left a message with my contact at the AG’s office, because I want to ask her if there is anything else that her office will do. (I am expecting her to say no.)
I do know that the state attorney general’s office will do more than pass notes when multiple people file similar complaints. So, consumer, it is important that you take the time and report incidents of false advertising and unfair business dealings, even when you don’t think you will get a favorable outcome. I’m certain I am not the first, nor am I the last person, to whom Dulles Motorcars has/will (1) add back in the destination fee when they type up the paperwork and (2) try to dump damaged inventory on a car buyer.
Yes, I know that it seems like I/you are out of luck. And maybe in the short-term, we get stuck with a bad deal and/or a product not worth the price. Sometimes, all we have is the bigger picture — the eternal picture, and we have to wait on and trust in the slow work of God. We don’t always see justice in this world, but we still have to stand up for what is right. Our standing up and speaking up may be the very thing that makes a difference in someone else’s life. And maybe things won’t go for me the way I want them to go for me, but if my experience can help someone else, then all this is worth the effort.
When I talked to my priest (a former Marine and military chaplain who served in the Middle East and Africa) about my Jeep #4 Car Drama, he said to me: “this is a first-world problem.” For him, that is the end of it. (Aren’t you fortunate that your problems take this size and shape?)
I know, Father D. I know. Yes, I am. But I live in the developed world, so I have first-world problems. I am blessed and thankful to be an American, to have access to education, to have clean drinking water and an abundance of food, opportunities to earn a good living, and so on. Yes, I do feel ashamed when I get wrapped up in myself and turn my small, first-world problems into major dramas.
I don’t like that what should have been a simple new car purchase has turned into this. But the same thing that makes me hunger for justice over a car dealership that does not treat its customers right is what makes me hunger for justice across the globe. It is the same thing that makes me pray not only for the girls Boko Haram abducted a year ago, who are still missing and probably sold into slavery or made to fight, but also for the conversion of their captors’ minds and hearts. It is the same thing that makes me send a donation to support an Iraqi Christian refugee family. It is the same sense of justice and responsibility that made me choose to downsize from a Grand Cherokee to a Cherokee and allocate funds to sponsor a second child in Uganda. I can’t wait to sponsor two more children; they are already in my heart. It’s all connected. [Yes, I know, some of you are thinking I should have downsized even more. And you are right, but being human, I rationalize my behavior and decisions left and right, and upside-down, and backwards. I’m just like the general manager at Dulles Motorcars. We are more the same than we are different.]
When we can’t get simple things right, like fair business dealings in the sale of a car, how are we going to solve the greater problems in the world, like human trafficking? Peace and love in the world start with peace and love in our own heart.
Enough of that. I conclude with my recommendation to consumers: Document everything! File complaints with the BBB and the state attorney general’s office. It is not a waste of time. Definitely call a consumer protection lawyer right away. Oftentimes, with this type of case, there is little or no money needed up front, and the lawyer fees are paid when they win the case.
But first make sure you have a case. In Northern Virginia, call Surovell Isaacs Petersen & Levy at 703-648-8279. My case may be a “tort” case, which means that the dealership had knowledge about the car, which if I also had had, too, at the time of purchase, I would not have bought the car. I will find out tomorrow when I talk to a lawyer. I have no desire to litigate, but my sense of justice compels me forward.
Finally, place the situation and everyone involved in God’s hands. (I certainly pray for the people who have to put up with me. My salesman called me “a piece of work” even before I bought a car from him, months before I ever saw Jeep #4!)
Most importantly, maintain your peace and joy, and give thanks to God in all circumstances.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.
Question of the Day 1: If we don’t know how to have fair and honest business dealings with our neighbors down the street or one town over, how will we treat a suffering stranger (whom we will never meet this side of heaven) halfway around the world?
Question of the Day 2: How much will you have (be you a business or an individual) before you acknowledge “I have enough,” or even, perhaps, an overabundance?
Question of the Day #3: What (little or much) has God entrusted to you? Have you been faithful?
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.
— Luke 16:10