(WSVN) - There are strange things at used car dealerships, and this one certainly was. They said they would finance the down payment and a lender would finance the rest, but that’s not what happened. It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

While you are sleeping, Joseph is working … making donuts.

Joseph Podmokly: “I’ve been doing it for almost 30 years. They always ask me what donut I like. I say I don’t have a favorite no more.”

But your favorite will be warm and tasty when you wake up every morning … ’cause recently Joseph has been working every morning.

Joseph Podmokly: “Right now, I’m working seven days a week. It’s difficult. I mean, you gotta get used to it.”

One reason Joseph was working so much was to get a car.

Joseph Podmokly: “Four thousand [dollars] altogether. Down payment was like $4,000.”

When Joseph told the used car dealer he didn’t have the $4,000 down payment, they said, “Just pay us $400 a week for 10 weeks to cover that payment.”

Joseph Podmokly: “And if the dealership was willing to do something like that, I figured, hey, it would be a great opportunity.”

Joseph says he signed the contract to pay off the down payment plus the contract to buy the car. The dealer told him the name of the lender who was financing the loan to pay off the rest of the vehicle.

But when he didn’t get any paperwork from them, his wife, Tammy Jean, called that lender.

Tammy Jean Podmokly: “‘Joe’s is not in the system. There’s no auto loan there.’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And she said, ‘No, no, it was never approved. I don’t know what’s going on.'”

Joseph immediately called the used car dealership to find out why the lender hadn’t approved him for financing.

Joseph Podmokly: “And he kept saying, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it. They’re going to get in contact with you.'”

And then the hammer hit. After 10 weeks, Joseph had made the last payment on the the $4,000 deposit … and the car disappeared.

Joseph Podmokly: “They repoed it. They said they didn’t get the money and then they could come and repo it.”

The dealer said Joseph didn’t pay the lender the monthly payments on the auto loan, but Joseph and Tammy Jean said the lender turned down the financing for the car.

Tammy Jean Podmokly: “If there was no loan on this car, why did you even say he was approved? Why did you let us walk out?”

Joseph Podmokly: “This doesn’t sound right. It’s just fishy.”

It certainly stinks for Joseph, because the used car dealer won’t return the $4,000 deposit that he worked seven days a week to afford.

Joseph Podmokly: “I’m just a small little peon kind of guy. I just want justice. You know, I just want my money back.”

But is Joseph entitled to his $4,000 back, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes. Legally, it’s questionable. If the dealer knew Joseph’s financing was turned down and still let him proceed for 10 weeks paying the deposit, the deal is invalid and Joseph gets his money back.”

We went to the dealership where the car Joseph had tried to buy was for sale again.

Joseph Podmokly: “This is the car that I bought here that they screwed me over on.”

We spoke to the owner of Royalton Motors several times without getting the problem solved.

Josh Becker then wrote us that “Mrs. Podmokly also called you and told you she doesn’t want the story run and that you do not have her authorization to do so.”

She said she told him she did not control Help Me Howard.

After that, the dealer returned the $4,000.

Joseph Podmokly: “He says, you know, he wants to do the right thing, and of course, he did at the end. But if it wasn’t for Help Me Howard, this would have never happened.”

We met Joseph as he was arriving at night at the donut shop … in the truck he just bought. Possible after his call to Help Me Howard.

Joseph Podmokly: “If anybody has any problem, I would say call Help Me Howard. They’re the best.”

And getting that $4,000 back helped Joseph get a truck. One lesson here: no matter what the used car dealer tells you about financing, do not take the vehicle off the lot until financing is approved in writing. Otherwise you’re going to be in trouble.

Doing a donut trying to solve a problem? Don’t take a half baked solution. Let us deliver a tasty one to get your dough back.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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