Maryland Used Car Dealer Investigated After Car Broke Down on Drive Home From the Lot

A used car dealer and an inspection station face possible administrative charges after a Maryland man’s used car broke down on his drive home after he bought it.

Kamel Winfield bought a 2006 Cadillac STS in august from Auto Wholesalers of Rockville for $4,200. He says it broke down on the Beltway just a few miles from the lot.

“The dashboard completely went blank, everything just shut down,” he said.

Auto Wholesalers of Rockville had given him a piece of paper saying the Cadillac passed a state inspection that same day, Winfield said.

“That's the only reason I felt comfortable purchasing this vehicle,” he said.

Winfield had the car towed to a Cadillac dealership and spent more than $1,300 to get it running again and have it inspected again. The dealership found nine items on the inspection checklist failed.

The owner of Auto Wholesalers of Rockville refused to take the car back, Winfield said.

His friend Sandra Johnson called NBC4 Responds.

“I called you because I felt that something was wrong,” she said.

“If you are going to put me in a car and tell me that it's safe and I'm on the motorway driving and that car cuts off, you're putting my life in danger, and not just my life, anyone else that's around me,” she said.

She also filed a complaint with Maryland State Police. Their Automotive Safety Enforcement Division is in charge of inspection stations.

They told Johnson and Winfield to take the car back to the original inspection station, a Shell on Rockville Pike. They said the same inspector replaced the fuel line and passed the vehicle again.

State police performed its own inspection and failed it on seven issues.

Winfield took the car back to the dealer, but the owner, Brandon Storm, again refused to take the car back. State police asked the Motor Vehicle Administration to investigate the practices of the dealer.

The MVA investigator ruled in favor of Winfield and Johnson. According to the report, Auto Wholesalers of Rockville knew the Cadillac failed a state inspection in May and Storm never provided proof the necessary repairs had been made.

The investigator also requested Storm be charged administratively for mispresenting the vehicle at the time of the sale. According to the MVA report, Maryland State Police are pursuing a six-month suspension for the mechanic.

At Auto Wholesalers of Rockville, the owner said to come back in an hour, but then the gate was closed. Over the phone, Storm said he did not want to be interviewed for the story.

Neither the mechanic who passed the vehicle nor the manager of the Shell station where he works wanted to be interviewed for the story.

The MVA decision allowed Winfield to file a claim against the dealer's bond. He is waiting to hear whether he will get the thousands of dollars back that he has put into a car that sits parked, unable to be driven.

“I'm still paying interest and I can't even drive the car,” he said.

Used cars can be a gamble, especially if there’s no warranty, so it’s recommended spending a little extra money to have an independent mechanic check it out first.

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