I have attached a letter that I mailed to the Dmv Investigations office. Please consumers beware of dealerships just because they have a trusted name doesn't mean they are trustworthy.
DMV Bureau of Investigations April 27, 2000
800 S. Glendora Ave. Rm-100
West Covina, Ca 91790-4201
Re: Steven C. Vanderhoof
19431 Rue De Valore # 11B
Foothill Ranch, Ca 92610
To Whom it May Concern:
I would like to file a formal complaint against:
15000 E. Firestone Blvd.
La Mirada, Ca 90638
This company sold me a vehicle that had major frame damage and did not disclose this prior to the sale. I purchased a 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe vin.# 3gnek18k7sg110321 lic.# 3PWY061 on 12/06/1999. I have encountered several problems with this vehicle from the day I drove it off the lot. I had to return to this dealership several times for them to repair my vehicle.
1/2000-My fiancee Fabiola Varela left the vehicle for repairs to be done to air conditioning the compact disc player and the screeching brakes, I left the vehicle there for 3 days. When I picked up the vehicle the only thing that had been repaired was the air conditioning, when I confronted one of the managers Luis Aspi he didn't have any information for me and the person handling this Jesse Rios wasn't in. I then asked for any service receipts they may have had for the work done, and there wasn't any record.
2/2000-Fabiola Varela had made several calls and attempts to have my vehicle repaired to no avail, I did not receive any return calls, again nothing.
2/2000-At this time my fiancee's father had asked Jessie Rios for a "KSR" report several times on separate occasions and to no avail he never got one although Mr. Rios did state that the vehicle had a "small" hit on the front end but there was no frame or major damage to the vehicle. My fiancee's father then notified me of this discovery, and I figured ok a small hit no problem. We later verified (3/2000) that this was NOT a SMALL hit it was major frame damage, a copy of the inspection from Euro American Collision Center is enclosed as copy #3.
3/2000-Finally my fiancee and I had it and she drove the vehicle to Gateway Chevrolet to speak to somebody to have the cd player and brakes fixed on this vehicle. My fiancee's father (Luis Varela) who was the finance director for DSFG- a separate entity working with Gateway Chevrolet spoke to Jessie Rios and asked if he could personally ensure that the repairs on my vehicle would take place as a safety issue was at hand. I also filed a complaint with General Motors File #000121870 as well as the Better Business Bureau complaint ID#10148917.
3/2000-My fiancee returned 3 days later to pick up the vehicle, again I have not received any service receipts only a envelop that had been written on, copy #1 is enclosed. She had some personal errands that day and was backing out of a parking space the vehicle stalled, it kept stalling every time she attempted to put it into gear or accelerate. Luckily she was only a block away from home. She managed to slowly get it home, then notified Luis Aspi of the problem. The vehicle was then towed away the next day. We were then told after an inspection of the vehicle and allowing the service man "BOB" drive our vehicle over the weekend to hopefully get the vehicle to do the same thing, that there was nothing wrong but this work they did would wind up costing about $300.00 or more but they could replace the fuel pump and that might fix whatever it was that was wrong although it may have nothing to do with it, it would be cheaper since we had an extended service contract. Total price was $200.00 enclosed is copy #2.
3/2000-The following day after picking up the vehicle, My fiancee was taking my son to school and as she applied the brakes, as the signal light turned red, the vehicle kept on going through the intersection. She finally came to a stop by using the emergency brake as traffic was starting to come at the truck. After this occurred she dropped our son off at school, and went straight to Gateway Chevrolet, dropped the vehicle off and stated what happened and that I wanted the brakes fixed once and for all as now they had put my fiancee's and my 3 year old sons life in jeopardy.
3/2000-My fiancee called the following day and was told it was fixed again no service receipts. She then took it upon herself to have this vehicle inspected at a body shop as to what was damaged or if there was any damage. My fiancee called Gateway Chevrolet and spoke to Luis Aspi and notified him of her findings, he stated that he didn't have anything to do with this vehicle, that he would relay the message to Mr. Rios, who was not in, he was at an auction in San Diego, and Mr. Michael Padilla (owner) was not in as well. As mentioned above, the copy of the estimate is enclosed. (Copy # 3).
3/2000-My fiancee was running errands with our three year old son and once again the vehicle had a major problem, something to do with the drive train I wasn't told for sure. She was finally towed in to the dealership and Mr. Sean O'Neill took over this problem. I also faxed Mr. O'Niell a copy of the estimate from the body shop. We notified him of our findings and the patience we have demonstrated with the negligence this company has treated us with, and hope that he would make the wrong right. We also notified him that we did not want this vehicle as it had major frame damage and we felt like we were sold a "LEMON".
My fiancee was given a loaner vehicle and Mr. O'Neill stated he would personally handle this and would search for another vehicle of this type and/or buy back the vehicle in question and refund us ALL of our money including the monthly payments we had made to WFS Financial. When it came time to have this vehicle bought back we were to return the vehicle they loaned me which in fact was done, I left the vehicle in Newport Beach at "Performance Sales and Leasing", where I purchased my new 1999 Chevy Tahoe. We couldn't return the vehicle to La Mirada as my fiancee had some medical problems and was unable to drive, the paperwork was to be sent to us for the transfer of ownership and it is now 1 month later and I have not received anything but a letter from their attorney, a copy is enclosed (copy # 4).
Also WFS Financial is aware of this as they sent a representative (Margaret Boggia) to Gateway Chevrolet on4/17/2000.
Let it be known that I have always purchased cars manufactured by General Motors and purchase them from registered Chevrolet dealerships. I do this out of trust in the brand "Chevrolet". The way this company has conducted itself has tainted my trust and has added to the degraded fiber of scepticism ones feel when purchasing a car. It seems now that there is no safe place to buy and service a vehicle when registered Chevrolet dealerships conduct themselves with the same villain tactics that Gateway Chevrolet has employed.
All I have asked for is to be refunded my money for a vehicle that was falsely represented. We feel like we have been very patient with this company, I know we aren't the first consumers to be ripped off as noted by the better business bureau, I am sure we are not the last, please aid us and all other consumers against businesses like Gateway Chevrolet.
Also is enclosed is a copy of the vehicle contract, the Better Business Bureau reliability report, and the vehicle contact registration.
Steven C. Vanderhoof
CC: Michael Padilla
Atty. Bill Elder
WFS Financial-Sandy Howarth
Dealers Special Finance Group-John O'Niell (DSFG)
Better Business Bureau
CBS News-Michael J. Boguslawski
Consumer Broadcast Group
NBC News-Suzanne Marks
FOX 11 News
Chevrolet Motor Division
Los Angeles Times
Orange County Register-David Caballeros
KCOP/UPN 13 News
KCAL 9 News