The Investigators

May 13, 2014 1:30 AM by Matthew Schwartz

N4T Investigators: Salvaged & Sold?

Tucson - David Kinas sold used cars from a small lot on Alvernon, near Speedway. An orange tree overlooks the lot. But some customers say Kinas sold them lemons.

Brian Lord told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "I wanted a good product, you want your money. I gave you money. I want my product. That's what I got, I got a lemon."

Lord's dream car was a 2000 BMW 528i. He says he saved up $8600 and bought the BMW last year from "326 Cars." According to David Kinas' LinkedIn page, he's the manager and founder. It also says he's won Better Business Bureau "Ethics Awards."

However, a BBB spokesman says that's not true.

And Kinas wins no praise from Brian Lord. He says mechanical problems with the BMW began quickly, costing him $2800. When the title came in, Lord saw the two words: "restored/salvage," meaning the car's been badly damaged or rebuilt.

Lord said, "I got a piece of junk. Like, I'm going to need a new car in a few months and the money I saved up to get this car is gone, I can't get it back."

It is legal to sell a salvage vehicle in Arizona, but the seller has to disclose that to the customer before completion of the sale, even when a car is sold "as is." An Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman says the disclosure must be in writing.

We asked Lord, "How positive are you that they did not disclose to you that this is a restored/salvage vehicle?" He replied, "I'm a hundred percent. There's no doubt in my mind. I asked the question."

We sent an undercover News 4 Tucson investigative producer to "326 Cars." He asked about a 2010 Ford Focus on the lot that Carfax says has a salvage title. Our investigator asked one of Kinas' co-workers three times about the title. Here is the exchange they had:

News 4 Tucson investigator: "Title good, and everything like that? "
Employee: "Yeah."

N4T: "So, clear title, no problems, right?"
Employee: "Yeah."

N4T: "Ok, but as far as you know, good title and all that?"
Employee: "Yeah."

Leif Olson worked at 326 Cars last year, as a salesman and manager, until he got fired after he says he and David Kinas had a falling-out. Olson sold the BMW to Brian Lord, but insists he had no clue that cars with salvage/restored titles were being sold without the buyers' knowledge.

Olson said, "As far as I knew, every car on the lot was a normal car. The titles were in total secrecy. They were kept locked away in a safe."

Before Olson got fired, he bought a 2008 Honda Accord from Kinas for about $21,000. Olson later had an accident and he and his two young children were injured. Olson says the air bags failed to deploy, and that only after that he checked the Carfax and Arizona motor vehicle records, both of which list the Honda as "restored/salvage."

Olson said, "David Kinas sold me a vehicle without telling me or letting me know that it was a restored/salvage title, or putting it in any writing."

Olson sued Kinas for allegedly selling him a car fraudulently. According to the Constable's report, Kinas avoided being served three times. The Constable wrote when she tried to serve Kinas on Jan. 27, the secretary denied he was there, but the Constable didn't believe her.

The report says Kinas drives a silver Chevy Tahoe, and that, quote, "If Tahoe is there he is there." The Constable reported, "His car was in parking lot." The Constable said when she went to a back office, "Someone heard me coming and started to slam the door. I put part of my foot in the door and pushed back. I assumed it was David Kinas. I asked him to open the door. He kept slamming the door...." On Feb. 11, the Constable wrote, "It is my opinion that the defendant, David Kinas, is avoiding service intentionally. He has not responded to phone messages or cards."

The News 4 Tucson Investigators went to Mr. Kinas' office to try to get his side of the story. We told the secretary at the front desk that we were working on a report on complaints we received about Kinas.

The secretary said Kinas wasn't there. But outside Kinas' office at the time we were told he was out, we saw a silver Chevy Tahoe with the same license plate number in the constable's report.

Leif Olson tried an alternative means of service. He taped his complaint to Kinas' office wall and front gate, took photos of them and submitted them to the court. A judge o.k.'s those means. And, on April 21, Olson won a default judgment of nearly $5800.

Olson and Brian Lord ended up buying other cars.

We asked Lord, "If you could talk to David Kinas now, what would you say?" Lord replied, "There'd be nothing to talk about. Gloves off. I mean, I'm mad."

Lord and Olson say they did not check the Carfax or another company's vehicle history report before buying their cars.

We never heard back from David Kinas, but his attorney did call us; He declined an on-camera interview.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com. Or call our tip line (520) 955-4444.

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