PHILADELPHIA – A couple who lost $5,000 in trade-in value on their vehicle allege this was the result of a Philadelphia auto dealer misrepresenting the vehicle’s condition when they first purchased it in 2013.

Michael C. Lutz and Melissa Lutz of Aston filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 20 versus Metro Auto Sales, Inc. (doing business as “Value Kia”), of Philadelphia.

On Aug. 22, 2013, the parties entered into a contract where the defendants agreed to sell the plaintiffs a 2013 Kia Forte EX four-door sedan, in exchange for $24,946. The plaintiffs put down $5,800 and financed $19,146. The defendants, in turn, made representations that the sedan was a substantially-new vehicle, but the plaintiffs say they found it had uneven tire wear, the failure of the vehicle to maintain alignment and issues with the steering requiring replacement of the steering rack.

In March of this year, the plaintiffs presented the vehicle for trade-in at Scott Kia of Springfield and after a vehicle history report was run, learned the vehicle was formerly part of a rental fleet and had been involved in a collision in August 2013 where unibody damage was sustained, the suit says. 

Based on these findings, Scott Kia offered the plaintiffs only $5,000 worth of trade-in value on the vehicle, which at the time was merely four years old and had 55,286 miles on the odometer, the suit says.

“Defendant has breached the written sale agreement with the plaintiffs, who have suffered the diminution of the value of the vehicle and have been damaged thereby in the sum of $5,003, which is the difference between the trade-in amount of the vehicle of $5,000 from the loan payoff amount of $10,003, when the defendant purchased a new vehicle on March 25, 2017,” the suit says.

For counts of breach of contract, diminution of the vehicle, fraud and violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL), the plaintiffs are seeking damages not in excess of $50,000 for fraud, punitive damages, three times the actual damages sustained under the UTPCPL, plus reasonable attorney’s fees, costs incurred herein and for such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

The plaintiffs are represented by Elizabeth T. Stefanide in Media.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 171101956

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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