Queens Man Sues Car Dealership Over an Escalating Series of Insane Events
Here's the short version: A Queens cab driver and father of three, Shahdat Tuhin, 41, is suing a Woodside car dealership called New York Motor Group, alleging that they sold him a lemon, and charged him much more than he'd agreed. He's upset about that. Longer version: According to the lawsuit he filed this month in federal court, Tuhin is also upset about other things he says the dealership did during the process of selling him that car, including defrauding him, deceiving him, and threatening to file for divorce on his behalf. (We'll explain in a minute, don't worry.)
Image via Facebook. Mamdoh Eltouby, driving.
Things got so out of hand, according to Tuhin, that New York Motor Group's owner, Mamdoh Eltouby, tried to run him over during a "peaceful protest" of the dealership's business practices.
According to Tuhin's suit, the trouble began when he decided to purchase a 2008 Lexus ES 350. His nine-year-old daughter has a heart condition and requires frequent hospitalization, and he wanted a safe car to get her there. An ad on NYMG's website priced the car at $14,995. On June 19, Tuhin, who'd never bought a car before and didn't know much about the process, headed to the dealership with a friend in tow.
Things quickly got weird. Tuhin met with a sales manager named Mohammed, who told him that he he had to sign a contract before he could get financing for the car. (Not true.) So Tuhin signed a sales contract for $13,995, and left a $2,000 down payment with Mohammed and a salesperson named Dewan.
Two days later, Tuhin met with the dealership's finance manager, who introduced himself variously as "John," "Jay," and "Julio." Although Tuhin had brought two friends with him, Dewan refused to allow them into "John's" office. After Tuhin said he wouldn't buy the car without at least one of them there, John allowed the friend inside, but only on the condition that the man hand over his driver's license.
John told Tuhin that the car would be financed for 60 months. The interest rate would be 5.84 percent for the first six months, but after that, if he made his payments on time, they'd drop it to around 2 percent. Tuhin agreed. But when he asked for a written contract, the suit alleges, John said "his software did not let him print them." He told Tuhin to sign a blank contract instead, which Tuhin refused to do. He demanded to test-drive the vehicle, which they let him do--for about five minutes.
When Tuhin came back again to finalize the deal, he finally got a look at a CarFax report for the vehicle, which, to his unpleasant surprise, said that the car had been in three accidents. He also noticed new body damage on the car that hadn't been there three days before. At that point, sensibly enough, he decided to back out.
But it wasn't that easy. John told Tuhin that if he didn't buy the car, he would still have to pay 35 percent of the purchase price. He also offered to lower the price to $12,000. Feeling trapped, Tuhin agreed. John added then that if he missed one payment, the price of the car would jump to $26,000. He showed Tuhin a contract for $22,785 and told him to sign. The higher price, John said, "only reflected the amount he would have to pay if he missed one of the first six payments."
Tuhin said no. He asked for a contract for $12,000. The finance manager dug out another piece of paper and told him it was a contract for that amount. Then, the suit says, "The finance manager rushed Mr. Tuhin and obscured the paper so that he could not see the areas surrounding his signatures."
Tuhin asked for a copy of his contract, and was told he'd be given one when he left. He wasn't. John also had him sign a slew of other papers, assuring him they were all part of the deal. When Tuhin tried to pick up and read one of the papers, the suit says, John grabbed it and said, "Don't touch."
Finally, the finance manager told Tuhin he could have the car, but only for an additional fee, which had to be paid in cash. After the $30 he had in his wallet was deemed insufficient, a salesperson drove him to an ATM and told him to take out another $600.
When Tuhin got home, he finally got a look at the pile of paper he'd signed, and realized he'd been tricked into signing a buyer's order for $22,795.87. A retail installment contract charged him a total of $26,000, plus $5,000 in extra fees. NYMG employees had also added a bunch of other extras, including a $3,000 "service contract."