Family forced to swap car with stranger after dealership error

Six months ago, her dealership called to say the car was not legally hers.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo.- A Jefferson county family said a mix-up at a local auto dealership left them stuck with a total stranger's car.

Managers at South County Dodge Chrysler admit they gave Kimberly Eveland the wrong title when they sold her a 2015 Nissan Altima in Oct 2016.

Six months ago, her dealership called to say the car was not legally hers.

Loading ...

The proper title for her charcoal gray Altima was in Illinois with a woman who bought a silver Altima from the dealership around the same time.

"[South County Dodge staff] said it was an error from one of their porters who got the tags mixed up. But they had both tags marked 'silver cars'. We just wanted the title to the charcoal gray car that we picked out," said Eveland.

The dealership told the I-Team they tried to get Eveland's title but could not get cooperation from all the lien-holders involved.

They proposed a swap.

Eveland would take the silver car, and give up her gray car.

They gave her $2,250 with a note that said, "acceptance of this consideration will release South County Doge of any and all future claims."

"[Our car] was in mint condition compared to this one," said Eveland.

Eveland said the car she was strong-armed into taking has issues and 20,000 miles more than the gray car she originally purchased.

"It's awful. It needs new tires. I can't find out if it's been in a wreck or not. We try to pull up the CarFax, and it pulls up the info for our old car," said Eveland.

"It could've been avoided. It should've been caught sooner. And I think it possibly could've been rectified a lot better than it was," said Creighton Cohn, consumer attorney.

Cohn said he has never seen a case quite like this where titles weren't simply swapped out.

"The fact is, they sold somebody a car, but they didn't deliver the car they sold them. That would be a problem and something I think would be actionable in a court," said Cohn.

For Everland, the experience is now just a chance to warn others.

"They need to learn how to dot their i's and cross their t's. Check vin numbers, check, check, check vin numbers," said Eveland.

Loading ...

Eveland is considering taking legal action against the dealership.

South County Dodge Chrystler Jeep Ram Dealership released this statement to the I-Team about Eveland's claims:

On October 14, 2016 Ms. Eveland and Mr. Sanders purchased a 2015 Altima from our dealership. Due to a clerical error on our end, the vehicle had been mis-tagged and was reported to the state with the wrong VIN. This was an honest mistake as we had two nearly identical vehicles show up at the same time and the porter checking the vehicles in got the tags reversed.

We became aware the error in October of 2017 when the a title application was rejected by the state of Missouri.

At that point, we were in contact with both customers (as the other vehicle was sold as well) to try to sort the issue out. These efforts were complicated by the fact we had 2 lenders and titles in 2 different states. Further complicating matters was the fact that the state of Illinois had issued an incorrect title to one of the customers.

Because Ms. Eveland could not properly title her vehicle, we assured her we would take care of her throughout the process and make every attempt to make this right for her.

  • We put Ms. Eveland in a courtesy vehicle (a brand new 2018 Jeep Cherokee)
  • We paid for all gas during this time (totaling $450)
  • In January, we gave the family a 2nd loaner vehicle (a brand new Chrysler Pacifica) for a trip to Florida. At this point, they are driving 2 vehicles completely free of charge (though they only bought 1)

Because of issues with the state titles and the lenders, we could not get corrected titles and loans issued. The only solution was to switch the cars so that the vehicle being driven matched the one on file with the state and banks. Again, they were identical in features, one was dark silver and one was light silver, and they had nearly identical original miles. At this point, Ms. Eveland was being advised by legal counsel and we were party to conversations with that individual as well.

To make this right for Ms. Eveland, we agreed to make her payments during the time she was out of the purchased vehicle

Loading ...

In addition they were paid $2250,00 in cash

We also offered extended warranty protection, which was declined.

Ms. Eveland’s chief concern at this time was the fact that there were more miles on the vehicle. This was because we had provided courtesy vehicles for her during the time this was worked out – and had compensated her for those miles by paying for gas, maintenance and providing a 2nd courtesy vehicle for her trip to Florida.

Again, with the advice of her legal counsel, Ms. Eveland accepted these terms as satisfactory and said that she was pleased with the resolution.

The total compensation for the inconvenience – which we have owned from the beginning – on her purchase of $14,760 was significant:

  • $1123.05 in vehicle payments
  • $685.94 in fuel, maintenance and misc expense
  • $2250.00 in payment
  • A total of $4058.99 in cash payments over 4 months (27.5% of the total purchase)
  • FREE use of a 2nd courtesy vehicle for over a month to complete a trip to Florida

It is disheartening to us that Ms. Eveland, despite her statements at the time, now claims that she was not treated fairly.


Paul Brown

General Manager

South County DCJR