It’s a story old as the automobile itself:
A frail elderly man walks into a car dealership. The shyster-y salesmen twirl their freshly waxed mustaches and circle the old-timer like a puppy dropped into a pool of piranhas.
“What’s it going to take to get you into a gently used Acura today,” asked the sleaziest-looking dealer, wearing his shiniest plaid suit.
After five hours of negotiation that makes the interrogations at Guantanamo Bay look like a Ryan Seacrest interview, the old man drives away in his gently used lemon, the whites of his pockets turned out, having paid 30 percent more than the blue book value of the car.
It’s too cliché a story to be true, right?
This article in AARP The Magazine tells the story of 83-year-old Robert Jones, who went into the dealership to redeem a free-gift notice he received in the mail, and drove off in a car he didn’t know he wanted –– and paid thousands more than the book value of the car.
Jones traded in his Ford Explorer for a 2009 Acura MDX. He paid $48,000 for a car that Kelley Blue Book values at $27,459 in excellent condition.
Jones’ daughter Jan Duran found out about the deal and asked Mac Churchill to take it back, explaining that her father was recovering from a mild stroke.
Aided by Ron Burley, author of the AARP The Magazine’s watchdog column On Your Side, Duran and Jones appealed to American Honda Motor Co., which oversees Acura franchises. Acura Financial Services reversed the deal, and made the dealership send Jones a check for his down payment and the fair market value of his trade-in.
In response to the reversal, Churchill reportedly kicked a puppy and stole candy from a baby.