My name is Dylan Bindi. I live in Oak Grove, Missouri. Im experiencing a very frustrating problem with an automotive service provider in Oak Grove, and frankly dont know where to turn. This individual is conducting his business in a manner which, in my opinion, is very poor as far as his treatment of young consumers is concerned. Im concerned not only for my own issues, but fear that if I am being treated this way, he may be doing the same to others.
On April the 8th, 2012 I looked at a 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood at Payless Express Car Care, 1101 S. Broadway, Oak Grove, Missouri, owned and operated by Dwayne E. Leonard. On that same day Mr. Leonard spoke to me and my mother, Christina Bindi, and assured us that it ran good. This vehicle was priced at $1,800.00 or best offer. Mr. Leonard informed us that a part controlling the fuel injectors needed to be replaced. We asked Mr. Leonard what we could purchase the Cadillac for if we offered to trade our 2000 Toyota Corolla as part of a deal. We told him that based on the opinion of a mechanic we had talked to, the Toyota might have a warped head because it ran poorly when it was driven, and that we also had to get a duplicate title to the Toyota because the original was lost.
Mr. Leonard agreed to make a trade for the Cadillac if we could provide him a duplicate Toyota title and an additional $1000. We told Mr. Leonard that we could pay him $700 at that time, and bring him the remaining $300, and a duplicate title, in approximately one week. Mr. Leonard agreed to these conditions and said that he would fix the Cadillac's fuel injector system, free of labor charge, while he waited for the additional $300 and title. We then gave Mr. Leonard $700 in cash for which he gave us a receipt. We returned to my home, picked up the Toyota, and drove it to Mr. Leonard later on that same day, the 8th. When he took possession of the Toyota Mr. Leonard said he would keep the Cadillac and replace the malfunctioning fuel injector component, and would release the Cadillac to us when we could bring him the additional $300 and duplicate Toyota title.
The duplicate Toyota title arrived in my mail on April 16th. I took the Toyota title and the remaining $300 to Mr. Leonard on the afternoon of that same day. At that time Mr. Leonard said he had not fixed the fuel injector system because he did not feel sure we would return to complete the deal. It astounded me that he thought I would not return in view of the fact that I had given him $700 and the Toyota! Why on earth would I NOT return?
Mr. Leonard said that if we would buy the part that controlled the injectors, he would accept $200 instead of $300, and still install the part for free. We agreed to this. Mr. Leonard said the Cadillac could be driven without the fuel injector system being repaired until we could acquire the part. I took possession of the Cadillac on April 16th. I then proceeded to title and tag the Cadillac in my name so it could be driven. During the time I had the Cadillac in my possession it continued to run poorly, with a significant lack of power. Later that week I bought the fuel injector part and took the part and the Cadillac to him so he could repair it
The day after I delivered the part and the Cadillac to him, I called him to see how the repair was going. Mr. Leonard informed me I would have to come up to his business. When I arrived Mr. Leonard informed me that the fuel injector system was not what was wrong with the Cadillac and returned me the fuel injector part. Mr. Leonard could not at that time tell me what actually was wrong, but just told me he would take care of it. I did not sign anything authorizing the additional repairs, but relied on Mr. Leonard to make good on his word to get the vehicle in drivable condition.
A couple days later Mr. Leonard informed me the Cadillac was "drivable" but that now the water pump and a MAP sensor were out, and that I would have to purchase those parts, and he would do the labor for free. I picked the Cadillac up and drove it back to my home. The Cadillac was running so badly that I had to call Mr. Leonard back and inform him it was still not working sufficiently to safely drive. Mr. Leonard told me to bring it back to him once I had the additional parts. I borrowed my mothers car and purchased a couple days later. I then delivered the Cadillac, and the additional parts, back to Mr. Leonard.
A couple days after that Mr. Leonard called to let me know I could come get the Cadillac. I did so that same day. After getting the Cadillac back in my possession the car began to overheat so I checked the fluids and there was no anti-freeze in the car. I put anti-freeze and gas in the Cadillac and before I could make it to my house, which is a mile away, the car was again running so poorly that I could not even put it into drive gear because it kept dying.
I called Mr. Leonard and informed him of all this. Mr. Leonard then said the Cadillac was out of time and that it needed to be timed correctly. That same day his mechanics came to my home and towed the Cadillac back to his shop.
On May 20, 2012, he still had possession of the Cadillac. On that same day, my father and I went up to see Mr. Leonard, and he informed us that he put multiple new parts on the vehicle as well as did multiple oil changes to clean out the sludge he said was in the oil system. Mr. Leonard then informed us that he wanted more money because of all the parts and labor he said that he put into the vehicle. His only proof that he put these parts on the vehicle was a hand written receipt. He did not show us any proof of purchase from parts dealers.
My father offered to pay him an additional $200 if he could complete repairs by the next Saturday. Mr. Leonard agreed to this.
A few days passed and I did hear anything from Mr. Leonard, so I called him to ask about the repairs. At that time, Mr. Leonard said that he had done everything he possible could to the Cadillac to get it running but that it still was not in operable condition. He claimed that he even had outside experts come in to look at it, and they couldnt tell what was wrong. I asked for my money back and he said that was not an option. I told him that I was left with no choice but to contact the media and possibly consider taking him to court. He had nothing else to say to me at that time.
I called Call for action News at channel 41, and explained my story to them. They said they would investigate.
My grandfather also went to see Mr. Leonard to try and work out a friendly solution to this problem. My grandfather actually drove the vehicle and saw firsthand how extremely poor it was running. He said he barely was able to get the Cadillac back to Mr. Leonards shop after taking it down the road about 1000 feet. Mr. Leonard told him that he would do nothing else to the vehicle because I had taken the issue to the media. He also told my grandfather that he had given the problem over to his lawyer and that the lawyer could be contacted if we wanted anything else done.
I later got a letter from this same lawyer saying for us to get the vehicle off his lot or we would be charged a storage fee on a per-day basis. I went up that same day to pick up the Cadillac. Mr. Leonard kept me there while he entered into his computer the list of parts and labor he said he put into the Cadillac, using his hand-written receipt as a guide. He did not show me any receipts from parts dealers for any of this. To this day, I have nothing to prove any parts were actually purchased and put on the Cadillac, accept his word.
I have since taken the Cadillac to a competent mechanic with appropriate diagnostic machines. He has shown me the results of the tests, which show much of the problem stems from issues with the intake manifold being at fault. This same mechanic says it would take at least $1000 to fix the intake manifold issues, with no guarantee that it would solve all the issues with the vehicle.
As I see it, I bought the Cadillac after he advised me of a bad fuel injector system which he said was an "easy job to correct", and what I really got was a vehicle with so many issues and failed components that it has been in his shop for almost 30 days. I never got a working vehicle.
I do not know what else to I can do. I am 18 and a recent graduate. I do not have money to purchase another car so I can go out into the world and get a job. I feel as if I have been severely taken advantage of.
Mr. Leonard has taken $700 of my hard earned money, my Toyota, has never fixed the Cadillac, and now refuses to even take my calls. I thought I could trust this man, and would still like to believe he is just faced with a bad set of circumstances which can happen to a business man when things go wrong. I dont feel he has the right to keep the money, and the trade vehicle, and ask me for more money to fix parts and pay for labor that I did not agree to pay for, nor sign anything saying I wanted him to do so. I trusted Mr. Leonards offer to get the Cadillac running which he has failed to do. I feel he needs to honor his word, or restore at least part of the value represented by my $700 and the Toyota. If he does not think that is the correct thing to do, how many other young customers may be at risk?