The Investigators

Jul 24, 2013 8:11 PM by Tom McNamara

Douglas man finds unwelcomed surprise in used truck purchase

TUCSON - Buying a vehicle can be an exciting, and sometimes a stressful experience. It can be stressful, if the car or truck of your dreams turns out to be more like a nightmare.

A viewer in southeastern Arizona contacted the News 4 Tucson Investigators about a problem he was having with a truck that he had recently purchased.

When you're in the market for a used vehicle, you might consider a number of factors, including things like make, model, year, mileage, and the vehicle's history.

But as the News 4 Tucson Investigators uncovered, what you see on paper might not be always exactly what you get.

Raul Villaseñor thought he was getting a good deal by trading in his 2000 Ford truck with more than 200,000 miles on it for a newer model.

"It's a nice truck. It was a ranch truck. But, nonetheless, it was just getting a little old, and I wanted something a little more reliable for my family," Villaseñor says.

Villaseñor tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, he found that newer truck: a 2005 Ford F-250 with 60,000 miles, at Southern Arizona Auto Company in Douglas.

Villaseñor says one reason he felt confident in his purchase, was that he thought he had three days to return the vehicle if something went wrong.

But, just about one day after he bought the truck, Villaseñor says he started having problems with it. The truck would overheat.

So he took it to a shop, who gave him the bad news. They told him the truck had been submerged in mud.

Villaseñor then went back to where he bought the truck, and they showed him a CARFAX vehicle history report.

"We looked at the CARFAX, and the CARFAX indicates there have been no previous problems ever on this car. It looks to be immaculate," Villaseñor says.

But, it turns out the truck was less than immaculate.

Villaseñor then took the truck to another repair shop. The mechanic there told him the same thing: at some point in its history, the truck had been submerged.

Under the dash, and in the fuse-box, he found the tell-tale rust.

Villaseñor‘s reaction was one of shock.

"You trust these people, that's what a dealership is for. You pay extra money. You give a lot more money but you know that whatever you're going to get is something good. So, it was total shock," Villaseñor says.

Villaseñor went back to southern Arizona Auto Company, and asked them for his old truck back, but they refused.

"At the end of the day, they said no. That they had no obligation to return my truck, because it wasn't on the CARFAX, and it was past the two days. That was it," Villaseñor says.

The News 4 Tucson investigators learned the flood damage had not been reported to CARFAX, so, they didn't report it.

If Villaseñor had known about the issue, he says he wouldn't have bought the truck.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators also checked with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. They tell us Arizona does not have a three-day cooling off period for automobile purchases. It's all the more reason it's important that you do your homework, before you sign on the dotted line.

To be fair, the News 4 Tucson Investigators called Southern Arizona Auto Company to get their side of the story. When we contacted them to ask about Villaseñor's flooded Ford, they told us they didn't know a thing about it, and simply hung up.

For more information about tips to protect yourself when buying a used car, click here to visit the Arizona Attorney General's Office website.

If you have something you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com

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