A Costly Birthday Surprise Turns Into a Legal Nightmare.
Jason Scott, a Moore County Army veteran in North Carolina, discovered that the Maserati SUV he bought as a birthday gift for his wife was a stolen vehicle. Scott purchased the luxury car from the popular online used car dealer, Carvana, in November, only to uncover its illicit status months later when he took it for service to a Maserati dealership in February.
Scott stated that everything seemed fine until his trip to the dealership. There, the technicians discovered mismatched VIN numbers and vehicle parts that didn't align with the car's supposed 2021 model year. In reality, the SUV turned out to be a 2017 Maserati. Police were called to the scene, questioned Scott, and subsequently impounded the car after he provided proof of purchase from Carvana.
Scott promptly contacted Carvana, which was initially unresponsive. The company later released a statement claiming they had been duped by "sophisticated criminal steps to steal and alter the vehicle" and vowed to make amends in this "rare instance." Carvana offered Scott a refund or a different vehicle and an additional $1,000 as a goodwill gesture.
With legal representation, Scott has demanded $1 million in compensation for financial and reputational losses, along with a public apology from Carvana. The company has denied any prior knowledge of the vehicle being stolen. Scott isn't the only one with grievances against Carvana; the North Carolina Attorney General's Office revealed they are investigating 130 complaints against the company. However, this is the first known instance involving a stolen vehicle.
Scott emphasized the need for Carvana to bolster its vehicle verification process to prevent similar incidents. "I want them to have 151-point inspections. Check to see if the vehicle is stolen," he said, adding that he doesn't want anyone else to go through a similar ordeal.
This incident highlights the risks involved in purchasing vehicles from online platforms and has local and national implications. The North Carolina Attorney General's Office's ongoing investigation into Carvana will likely draw more scrutiny in light of Scott's experience.
For now, the once joyous birthday gift has turned into a cautionary tale. Scott warns other potential buyers to be vigilant, expressing concern for anyone who might find themselves "caught late at night on some strange road in the backcountry," wrongly labeled as a criminal due to such oversights. While Carvana claims this is a rare incident, it serves as a stark reminder to consumers to be extra cautious when making such significant investments online, where verification gaps can have serious legal and personal consequences.