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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There is now legal action being taken against The Sharpest Rides dealership following months of investigation by Contact7 and more than a hundred complaints of selling mechanically defective vehicles.
“We’ll be seeking to punish this dealership because that’s what the law allows and that’s what the law demands,” said attorney Ian Hicks.
Hicks is suing the dealership in Arapahoe County District Court.
“They are knowingly selling vehicles with hidden defects. They are manipulating and tampering with vehicles to make it look like they don’t have defects,” he told Contact7.
The main crux of the lawsuit alleges that the dealership misrepresents the cars on their website.
“They don’t say we have good cars — 'We have the best cars, the best quality, the most reliable.' That’s false,” said Hicks.
The Denver attorney says he has already fielded multiple calls from other potential clients, and he expects to file more lawsuits in the coming weeks.
Contact7 discovered that this isn’t the only legal battle The Sharpest Rides is involved in. Attorney Jerry Bowman filed suit against the dealership in April of 2018.
The original suit alleged that the dealership sold his client a BMW that they knew had mechanical issues, took part in “practices of deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentations and omissions in sales,” and that they “knowingly concealed, suppressed or committed the act that the Carfax report actually indicated substantial damage in the recent past.”
That case is in arbitration awaiting a hearing date.
“Dealerships cannot prey on these unsuspecting victims. They can’t just misrepresent facts about the condition of the vehicle and it seems like this specific company is doing this often,” said Bowman.
Contact7 also spoke to an attorney who won an arbitration case against The Sharpest Rides back in 2015.
“We said they defrauded her and we said it was defective at the time of the sale,” said Attorney Matthew Osborne. “The arbitrator agreed it was defective and they had to take the car back.”
Osborne’s client was given a full refund as part of the arbitrator’s ruling. The dealership was not found to have violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act or to have committed fraud. Osborne says the dealership testified during arbitration that they did not know the vehicle in question had sustained fire damage because they do not inspect cars before they are put out for sale.
“We proved that The Sharpest Rides is willfully blind to the cars history,” said Osborne.
Contact7 took those three separate legal issues and the possibility of more to the one dealership in question and general manager Robert Lipp.
“Why would I speak about any legal issues with the media? It’s something that needs to be done in court,” said Osborne.
Contact7 also spoke to the Auto Industry Division, the state’s office that investigates issues with car dealerships. The group that has authority over dealerships, including discipline, is the separate Motor Vehicle Dealer Board.
Under current state statute and regulation, the MVDB can only discipline dealerships via fines or changes to their license if they sell a vehicle and fail to disclose prior structural, flood, fire, or hail damage. Even then, the board has final say about whether to do anything at all.
The board does not have authority under the current law to take action against a dealer for selling vehicles with mechanical damage. Customers who feel they were wronged over mechanical issues do not have recourse with the state. They would have to take civil legal action
To read the newest lawsuit filed on Monday, click here.
To catch up on previous Contact7 stories on The Sharpest Rides: