Jon Campisi Jul. 27, 2012, 7:15am

A Lehigh Valley, Pa. woman is suing a Pennsylvania car dealership for fraud, contending

the company never divulged a serious accident the used vehicle she purchased was involved in prior to her buying the car.

Allentown resident Desiree Safadi filed suit July 24 against the Gilboy Automotive Group, a Volkswagen dealership in Whitehall, Pa., and Herndon, VA-based Volkswagen Group of America.

The complaint was filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Philadelphia attorney Robert P. Cocco and Morton, Pa. lawyer Matthew B. Weisberg.

According to the civil action, Safadi traveled to the dealership on Aug. 18, 2011, in search of a certified pre-owned vehicle.

The plaintiff spotted a pre-owned 2010 Volkswagen Jetta that looked appealing, and both she and her husband, Fred Safadi, subsequently questioned the salesperson about the vehicle’s accident history, the suit states.

The agent told the Safadi’s that the vehicle was “clean,” and that a Carfax report would be provided to the plaintiff along with the final paperwork.

Desiree Safadi then agreed to purchase the vehicle, signing a sales contract in reliance upon the defendant’s representation of its certified pre-owned status, the lawsuit states.

The complaint alleges that despite assertions to the contrary, the defendants failed to divulge that the vehicle in question had been involved in a serious accident just months prior to its purchase by the plaintiff.

Safadi didn’t learn this information right away, since a Carfax report wasn’t initially provided to her; she obtained the report herself via the Internet, and soon learned the vehicle had sustained structural damage following a June 2010 collision.

The report also showed that the same Volkswagen dealership had sold and serviced the same vehicle before and after the June 2010 accident, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiff’s husband soon contacted the dealership, whose finance manager said the prior accident was not important to determine the value of the vehicle because the car was “hard to find and highly sought after,” the complaint states.

Fred Safadi then demanded that the deal be terminated and the money be given back to his wife.

The dealership, however, refused to take back the car for the price that was paid by the plaintiffs, only agreeing to offer full market value toward a trade-in for another vehicle, the suit states.

The plaintiffs then took the vehicle to three other dealerships, all of which only offered roughly half the sale price.

“Upon information and belief, the prior accident history of the vehicle, among other defects, severely reduced or eliminated the value of the Vehicle as a used vehicle as well as causing it to be a danger to its occupants while being operated,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint also accuses the dealership of being able to greatly maximize its profits through the resale of the vehicle to the plaintiff since it paid a discounted price for the car when it initially obtained it through auction.

The suit says the plaintiff would not have purchased the vehicle had she known of its “significant” accident history.

In addition to the fraud count, the lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The plaintiff seeks judgment in excess of $50,000 for actual and compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, costs and other court relief.


The case ID number is 120703032. 

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