Imagine being stuck having to pay over $12,000 for a car that's so unsafe, you can't even drive it. That's what's happened to me.
In 2007, I financed a “certified” used 2002 Ford Escort for $12,000 in total from Mossy Toyota in San Diego.
I had no idea the contract included a clause – hidden on the back -- taking away my right to take the dealership to court if they cheated me. It required disputes to be submitted to a private "arbitration" company chosen and paid for by Mossy Toyota.
The car had a serious vibration problem. The dealer said not to worry, they would fix it. Twice, they attempted repairs, but the shaking and rattling continued.
An automotive expert inspected the car and found extensive rust damage and other signs it had been submerged underwater. He said vital electronics were contaminated and corroding. He also discovered it had been damaged in a collision. His conclusion: the car was unsafe to drive.
I asked for a refund, but Mossy refused. I was stuck with an un-drivable lemon. That lemon has been collecting dust in my garage to this day.
I hired an attorney who filed a suit. But Mossy Toyota got my case kicked out of court and into forced "arbitration." While I waited for a hearing, I had to keep making monthly payments for the car. Otherwise, it could have been repossessed, ruining my credit. I paid off the entire loan of over $12,000 -- for a car I couldn't even drive.
First Mossy claimed the Escort was a "commercial" vehicle - even though it clearly wasn't. If it were, I would have been charged $1000s in fees, just to get into arbitration. When that ploy failed, Mossy refused to pay for arbitration -- even though its own contract promised they would pay. In 2012, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) finally dumped Mossy, due to non-payment. The AAA also requested that Mossy remove the AAA name from all future contracts. This has left me stuck in "arbitration purgatory," unable to get a hearing in court or in arbitration.
If I could have taken them to court, I think that Mossy Toyota wouldn't have sold me that defective car in the first place. Mossy should refund the money I've paid for that unsafe lemon, and stop forcing people to give up their Constitutional rights, just to buy a car.
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