Man files lawsuit against Visalia car dealership, alleging fraud

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A Los Angeles man said he feels duped, and is now claiming fraud against a Visalia car dealership. (KFSN)

A Los Angeles man said he feels duped, and is now claiming fraud against a Visalia car dealership.

John George bought a used 2010 Chevrolet Impala from Lampe Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in 2014.

George was living in the Valley at the time-- now he lives in Los Angeles. After purchasing the car, he said he had to bring it back to the dealership eight different times, for a variety of different problems, some of which he believed to be related to the transmission.

George said the brakes would shake and the whole car would jerk after accelerating from a stop.

"Every time I took it in, they said, 'Oh we don't feel it, see it, or hear it, there's nothing we can do,'" George said. "This is the kind of problems I had with Lampe Dodge, they just kept putting me off."

George said Lampe agreed to order a replacement transmission from a wrecking yard. But he said he's still having the same problems with the car, and isn't so sure Lampe actually replaced the transmission at all.

George said the last straw was about a year ago, when the dealership refused to pay for a separate problem he believes they created when they were doing earlier repairs related to the motor mount.

Right now, George said the car cannot be driven, and won't pass a smog test.

"I don't catch onto things right away," George said. "I'm very slow at things, but when I do catch on, that's when I get really angry over things, because I just got (taken)."

George has a learning disability, so he can't read or write. His lawyer Hayden Smith said his client was lied to, and that the dealership should have been more upfront about the car's history-- which he says the Carfax report doesn't show.

Smith said the car had been involved in accidents, and despite its decent appearance, was fundamentally unsound when it was sold to George.

"All the problems that we're talking about were inevitable given the damage," Smith said.

George has filed a fraud lawsuit against Lampe. Smith said they intend to receive a financial settlement, and possibly pursue punitive damages against the dealership.

"This is a whole series of incidents in which they misbehaved...after the initial sale of the car to him, which should never have happened on those terms," Smith said.

In a statement, Lampe's General Manager Ted Fleener said: "We take customer concerns seriously and give them our prompt attention. We have investigated Mr. George's claims regarding his February 6, 2014 vehicle purchase, and have determined that they are without merit. Nonetheless, we have been in contact with Mr. George's attorney, and are working towards bringing this matter to a conclusion. We are committed to a transparent customer experience that promotes honesty, integrity, and respect."
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