CT Watchdog: Trailer deal came with a big hitch

Carl of Southington thought he had a heck of a deal on a new camper he found advertised in Rhode Island.

It was just what he wanted: a 2013 22-foot Keystone Premier for $21,815. And based on telephone calls with the salesman at Flagg RV, he was going to get $8,000 for his used camper. All he needed to close the deal was less than $15,000.

Just one slight hitch: there was still $12,000 owed on his old camper.

Carl drove up to the North Smithfield dealership and signed the contract, which did note that the trade-in camper had not been paid off. The salesman also signed the contract that stated the $8,000 offer for the used camper was contingent on an inspection. It also said the total cost to Carl would be $14,717.25.

"When I called two days later and spoke to the finance person I told him information on who holds my current loan so he can get an exact payoff amount. He called me back and told me what the payoff was and I said 'ok so the check I have to bring with me is going to what total?'"

"He told me $26,717.25 at which time I was stunned."

"What I thought was a deal (Purchase and Sales agreement signed, deposit given) was all a mistake," he complained to CtWatchdog. "That the signatures of the sales person and myself meant nothing."

I decided to look into it to see if it was a bait and switch deal.

First I checked the Better Business Bureau site bbb.org and found that the dealership had an A+ rating. That is not necessarily proof of good customer service because BBB Accredited Businesses are given a break at many bureau chapters to encourage them to pay the yearly fee. But there was only one complaint that the BBB said it had received in the past three years.

I then checked the Internet for other complaints against Flagg and found about a dozen covering several years and three of their dealerships. I did not see a complaint similar to what Carl experienced.

So then I called the company and spoke with sales manager Steve Flagg.

"Our salesman made a 100-percent mistake," Flagg said in a telephone interview. "I apologized, but that is all we can do."

My take on this issue is that both the business and the customer were at fault. Carl should have realized the loan on his camper was not included and the salesman should have also noticed it.

I think Flagg would have done his business a favor by offering to pay for dinner for Carl and his wife at a nice restaurant.

You can reach The Watchdog at george@ctwatchdog.com or visit www.ctwatchdog.com and www.CtCondoNews.com.

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