I've yet to meet a con-man I didn't like.
Don Pierce is the friendliest, most personable con-man of them all, explaining why he was such an asset to City Isuzu of Jacksonville, Florida. When we first met Don, we were a fledgling company with little experience with buying new or even used trucks.
A downpayment on any sort of vehicle is expected. We placed $17,000 down on three used 2001 Isuzu NPRs with half-decent paint jobs that were in lousy questionable condition. We paid roughly $1789 a month toward these trucks for 12 months ($21,000 plus, some of which was equity, since Key Equipment Finance spreads the interest out equally over the duration of the loan).
Early on, we were en route to Orlando, Fl, when our fuel pump went out. Trusting Don and the folks at City Isuzu, we called them first. They said sure, no problem, have the truck towed in, we'll have it fixed in no time flat. What they refused to commit to was a figure, not even a round-about-estimate, but what were we going to do about it? Now they had our truck in their possession.
Final bill for replacing the fuel pump: $7,800 plus change. But Don jumped in on our behalf, he said, and talked the Service Manager down to $5,100. Wow. What a great deal. The truck itself was only worth a whopping $21,000, if that. $5,100 to replace a fuel pump with another used fuel pump, or they kept the truck.
So we paid and continued paying on the trucks. After several more break downs on the road, we finally decided to trade them in for new trucks to avoid the headaches. City Isuzu assured us the equity and a large portion of the $17,000 down payment would be applied toward the new trucks, which only required a $1,500 down payment on each truck.
So we purchased two brand new Isuzu FTRs with Superior bodies and 2,600 lbs lift gates: Roughly $57,000 each at 8.00% APR. With interest, the loan came to $160,000 over the course 66 monthly payments of $2,500.
The Question is: What happened to the $38,000 (8% of which was interest) from the original trucks we purchased from City Isuzu and later traded in for the new trucks? After that deal, Don was a hard guy to get in touch with. At some point he quit to start a company of his own (from what I gather) building straight-truck bodies.
Recently State and local investigators here in North Carolina have filed 36 felony charges against Reginald Hubbard, owner of a Honda dealership here in Lake Norman. According to court documents, 34 of the charges involve 17 customers who traded in vehicles to buy a car from Lake Norman Honda, with the understand that dealership would pay off the loan remaining on their trade ins.
It's not exactly what happened to us, but it's close enough to make me wonder when the FBI will visit the owner of City Isuzu of Jacksonville, FL, with similar concerns re the $38,000 that evaporated under mysterious circumstances during our dealings with the dealership.
Charlotte Moving Truck Rentals, Inc.
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