Used car lot caught on hidden camera selling dangerous, crashed cars again
ROSWELL, GA (CBS46) -
CBS Atlanta News is exposing a used car dealer with a reputation for selling dangerous, crashed cars as if they were accident free.
Our hidden camera investigation in 2009 uncovered Alpha Cars doctoring Carfax reports to deceive customers into buying wrecked cars.
Alpha Cars has done business as Alpha Carz, and most recently began operating under the name AAA-GA. But even though they changed their name, Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman found they haven't changed the way they do business.
Not only are they operating illegally under an unregistered name, but our hidden cameras documented them buying cars they know have been in accidents, without disclosing this information to customers.
"It's an awesome car, great price. Clean as a whistle," the salesman told our undercover photographer.
The salesman uses the same pitch over and over, about multiple cars that CBS Atlanta News documented had been in accidents.
"If the car has frame damage, accidents reported, I report all of that to you," the salesman said.
It was the same tactic used by Alpha Cars when we investigated them two years ago. CBS Atlanta found Alpha Cars provides customers with clean Carfax reports as their so-called "proof" the cars had never been in a crash.
"No accidents on either of these cars?" our undercover photographer asked.
"No," the salesman replied.
But the evidence of the accidents are documented in Autocheck history reports. Those reports show the cars we asked about were announced at auction as having major frame damage when Alpha Cars bought them. And even though this information was provided to company, the salesman failed to disclose these potentially dangerous defects.
"I could tell he was lying to me about certain things," said customer Kyle Brown.
Brown almost bought a car from Alpha Cars. The salesman, he said, tried to pass off the car Brown was going to buy as only having a few minor bumps and scratches.
"I went home and ran an Autocheck report and it came back as having frame damage," Brown said. "If you get in another accident to the point where the car already has frame damage, or unibody damage, it's not going to hold up as well in another accident."
"I want to talk to you about the crashed cars you're selling here," Saltzman said to the Alpha Cars owner.
When we went to confront him, he locked himself inside the office for 20 minutes while we stood outside waiting for a response.
"Can you tell me why your door is locked?" Saltzman asked as the owner hid behind the locked door and yelled for a salesman to call 911.
"We know you guys are passing off cars that have been in accidents as if they're accident free. Can you tell me why you continue to do that?" Saltzman asked a salesman on the lot.
"It's not me," he replied.
"Is there some directive to tell people that these cars don't have damage on them?" Saltzman questioned.
"I run Carfax reports for everybody, but I mean, I'm just an employee. You know, I'm not going to get involved in this," the salesman responded.
The Secretary of State has not issued a business license for AAA-GA and they're not registered with Georgia's Used Car Board.
Both Alpha Cars and AAA-GA have an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau with more than a 17 reported complaints from unhappy customers.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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