GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Richard Chamberlain moved to Mississippi from Pennsylvania and got a job in Ocean Springs. In November, the young man purchased his first automobile at a local used car lot in Gulfport.
I was looking to get a car. So my brother and I were driving around looking at different lots to see what was available and we saw Royal Auto Sales off Pass Road," Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain looked at a 2004 Jetta, and was told by Royal Auto Sales owner Karim Amin that the vehicle had a problem which could be fixed.
"We test drove it and the car salesman said, 'Hey, it has some trouble going into reverse.' But he explained to me, 'Don't worry, the transmission is good, it's just a sensor.' And he said he would fix it if we decided to buy the car."
Chamberlain paid $6,200 for the Jetta, purchased "as is" with no warranty.
"I bought the car, drove it to work and about two days later I had a whole bunch of dashboard lights came on," Chamberlain stated. "Eventually it didn't go into reverse at all. Whenever I brought this up to the dealer that I bought if from, they said, 'Hey, you bought the car as is. It's really yours to fix now.'"
Chamberlain said Amin promised to get him a used transmission, but he told Chamberlain he would have to pay for the labor.
Chamberlain decided to have the car checked out by the Volkswagen dealership.
"They came back and told me it's going to be $2,400-$2,500 for me to get everything fixed. They said the Turbo Charger in it is looking bad. They had to replace a few things in it, a couple of gaskets, a couple of hoses. Two front speed sensors in it, the catalytic converter."
I met with Royal Auto Sales owner Karim Amin, and asked him, "The car that you sold him, did you have it checked out before you sold it?"
Karim said, "Yes, I did. The car, I told him, had a problem with reverse."
Karim said he paid for the used transmission and that Chamberlain paid for the labor.
"Chamberlain paid $400, but he never, he was really a nice guy, he never came back. He never came back," Karim said. "I had a problem with the transmission. It's under warranty. The transmission is under warranty."
I asked Amin if Chamberlain came back, would he help him? Amin said, "Yes."
But Chamberlain said, "I really wouldn't trust him with my car at this point."
Chamberlain told me Karim Amin never told him that the used transmission was under warranty.
Every state has an Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices law that requires the seller to disclose problems with any used car being sold. It's called the Lemon Law.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue has tips on its website you should review before you purchase a used car.
It advises you to check the VIN number to get a history of the vehicle and have a trusted mechanic look over the car. They are professionals and they should spot problems quickly.
In this case, once the salesman told Chamberlain there was a problem with the car going in reverse, he should have said he wasn't interested in buying the vehicle.