Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.
WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A local veteran with disabilities claims the used car he bought from an Englewood dealership already had mechanical issues that he was never told about. Now it’s broken down, stranding him and his young son, and the dealer won’t do anything.
“I feel like they sold me a lemon and they sold me a mechanically defective car,” Brandon Horning said.
Horning bought his 2008 Dodge Charger used from The Sharpest Rides dealership in December. He says it only took a week or two for the car to start making noise.
“A small ticking sound,” he said. “I can clearly tell it was coming from the engine bay.”
A different mechanic delivered the Air Force vet the bad news: it was internal engine damage.
“The engine is absolutely toast. The internal damage is beyond putting new parts at it,” Horning described.
His car will start, but won’t get very far without smoking and breaking down. He tried going to the dealership, but says they shuffled him out quickly without a resolution.
"And told me it's not their problem, it's mine," Horning claimed.
He says multiple other mechanics told him the car had long-term damage, most likely from a prior accident. The Sharpest Rides never disclosed anything like that to him when he bought it.
Contact7 was shown the “vehicle disclosure and liability release” form from the dealership that is supposed to describe any vehicle history or damage. It read “No Auction Statement.”
A manager at The Sharpest Rides told Contact7 over the phone that he had not heard of Horning’s case, that “we disclose anything we know about the vehicle,” but that “every used vehicle is sold as is.” The manager said he’d be looking into the facts of what happened.
“They sold me a lie and I bought it,” Horning said.
The Better Business Bureau website lists at least ten similar complaints over the last two years from customers who bought used vehicles at The Sharpest Rides and soon after dealt with major problems and issues. The dealer is rated as two out of five stars on the BBB site.
Now Horning is left walking his 8-year-old son to and from school every day, then walking to take a bus to medical appointments at the V.A.
“I lost my job because of not having a vehicle that was reliable,” he said.
The father of one says he was taught in the military to never quit, and has no plans to do so. He is looking for some help.
“If someone out there is willing to donate a vehicle that is reliable for me and my 8-year old son,” he asked. “If there is some kindness in Denver, please think about my small family.”