Frustrated family thought used car lot lost their vehicle

(WSVN) - A South Florida family thought a used car lot “lost” their car, and finding answers turned into a long road of frustration. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.

For months, Corey Washington had to wake up before the sun came up and walk to catch the bus so he could get to work on time.

Even though every month, he paid $342 for a car — a car he didn’t have.

Corey Washington, bought a used car: “When you mess with someone’s transportation, that’s serious.”

Corey is soft-spoken and lives with his mother and grandmother.

He surprised them when he saved up $3,000 working a warehouse job for a down payment on this used car.

He bought it at MIA Repos in Hialeah.

Sharon Washington, Corey’s mother: “Everything was good in the beginning, but it broke down, Brian, in the first two weeks. We had to take it back to the car lot. When he got it back, it broke down again, so it broke down a total of three times in all.”

Corey’s mom Sharon had the car towed to MIA Repos back in September, and she says they told her they would fix the engine.

That’s the last time she saw the car.

Sharon Washington: “Initially, he told me, ‘Oh, you can come and get it next week. It will be fixed, don’t worry.’ Next week turned into another week. Another week turned into a third week.”

After three months, this is what Sharon says the manager Ozzi told her over the phone.

Sharon Washington: “Ozzi said, ‘Well, you want to know — we don’t know where your car is at. Just to be honest, we just don’t know where the car is at. The car is missing, ma’am!'”

So we went to MIA Repos, and we found Ozzi.

He said the car was not missing.

Brian Entin: “Do you know where Corey Washington’s car is now?”

Ozzi Perez, manager: “Yes, sir, we do. It is at the mechanics shop right now being inspected.”

Ozzi took us a few blocks away behind a garage and through a fence into this parking lot.

Brian Entin: “So this is the car?”

Ozzi Perez: “This is the car, yes, sir.”

When he started Corey’s car, it was obvious there was a problem.

Brian Entin: “This is not a good noise.”

Ozzi Perez: “No, it’s not. It’s definitely the engine. That’s your timing belt forcing the turn there.”

Brian Entin: “The manager said the car likely needed a new engine, but Corey bought the car ‘as is.’ That means after he bought it, the car lot was not responsible for any problems. Still, the manager said they wanted to make a fair agreement with Corey.”

Ozzi Perez: “We can work out a deal with him, put him in another vehicle and take care of the matter.”

Brian Entin: “And it won’t cost him any more money?”

Ozzi Perez: “No, it won’t.”

The next week, Corey and his mom were back at the used car lot, and they picked out a different car.

Corey Washington: “It drives good. It’s better. Small. Better on gas.”

Corey’s monthly payment will be less.

He’s satisfied with the way things turned out, but wishes he’d known about the State of Florida’s used car buying tips.

  • Remember Florida’s Lemon Law does not apply to used cars.
  • Use a service like CARFAX to check the vehicle’s history.
  • And it’s best to have a mechanic check the car out before you drive it off the lot.

For additional tips on buying used cars in the State of Florida, click here and here.

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