All over the grand car-scape of the Internet, people have been enjoying righteous, well-earned rage over the story of a man who tried to buy a Honda S2000, and the petty, shitty way he says he was scammed out of some key parts of that car. In case you haven’t had your chance to volunteer to fly somewhere with a baseball bat, here’s what happened.
I recently bought a S2000 from someone in Los Angeles. The deal was for his car as is which included OEM HARD TOP, OEM HARD TOP STAND, VOLK RACING TE 37, KW V3 COILOVERS and GREDDY SPECTRUM ELITE EXHAUST.This is the Craigslist AD that has since been removed by the seller.
Nice car, right? Seems like a solid tuned S2000.
So here’s what he says happened.
I flew over to Los Angeles on 2/26/2016 and met the seller Allen/Bo Hong at the auto repair shop ( PARAGON AUTOMOTIVE in Monterey Park, CA ) where he worked as a manager I believe.
He was very polite, courteous and seemed like a good guy. The guys at his shop lifted the car for me to inspect the under carriage, I test drove the car and everything was in line. Me living in New York I obviously had to transport the car back and Allen graciously offered to let me leave the car at his shop until the truck transport arrives, promising me that it will stay safe inside his shop for the duration of time until it gets picked up.
We shook hands and I gave him a certified check for the car and flew back home to New York anxiously awaiting my car.
This was the last time i saw the car when I left it at his shop before I flew back home to New York.
It didn’t work out the way he wanted, he said.
Fast forward to today 3/15/2016 and i go meet the truck driver to pick up my car.
OEM HARD TOP STAND
OEM GPW HARD TOP
KW V3 COIL OVERS
I can’t reach him by phone but he replies to my email .. “we didn’t sign any proof document on paper saying the car includes hardtop and suspension” and I get the car “as is” which seems to be a term he likes to hide behind now. He is correct, I did not have him sign any documentation stating the car includes the parts but I DID buy the car from him and left it in his possession with the hardtop and suspension intact. The parts were only removed after I had left, a basic BAIT & SWITCH.
There was a Craigslist AD and has since been removed. Most of our conversations happened in person or on the phone. We spent 3 hours talking about the car at his shop and hanging out.. We even went to his house and picked up a spare set of mats he had for the car. Never did I expect to get scammed by this guy and trusted him; lesson learned, don’t trust anyone!
Not sure how to proceed next and i live in New York.. I don’t expect much to happen or monetary compensation. I would at least like to spread the word on the West Coast that this guy is a Grade A SCUMBAG, running a business and ripping people off.
Emphasis mine. As you can see, the alleged scam isn’t exactly the most sophisticated ever devised, which just makes it all the more maddening.
Guy flies out to look at the car, which has the nice white factory hardtop with related hardware and that $2,200 coilover suspension upgrade. When the car finally arrives in New York from California, there’s no hardtop, the coilovers are gone, and, in an unmentioned but particularly galling detail, it looks like the cheap-ass seller even swapped out the nice matte black wheel lug nuts for common unfinished ones.
As the original poster claims, this appears to be a pretty by-the-book bait-and-switch. But it should also be mentioned that LonS2K may not be the only victim here.
While calling the shop mentioned in the post, Paragon Automotive, to get their side of the story, I discovered a possible second victim: Paragon Automotive.
See, the guy who sold the car, Allen Hong, is not an employee of Paragon Automotive, as he seems to have at least implied to LonS2K. According to Johnny Xo, the very tired and beaten-sounding Paragon manager I spoke with, Hong is a friend of the owner, and the owner allowed Hong to use Paragon’s parking lot to sell his car.
Xo told me that they’ve gotten “about a hundred” calls so far, and my call was the first where anyone actually asked them a question, and didn’t just yell “SCUMBAG” or worse.
I was told that Paragon Automotive’s Yelp page has, predictably, become a carnival of angry comments and one-stars, but they’ve managed to contact Yelp and confirm that they had no direct involvement with the sale, so Yelp has started cleanup efforts for their page.
Of the whole situation, Xo did give me one direct quote: “I feel so bad about it.”
Xo said Hong is only talking to people “lawyer to lawyer” now. LonS2K has posted that he believes the seller and shop owner are friends, covering for each other, but based on the conversation I had with the Paragon employee, they certainly don’t seem to be covering for the seller now.
Still, I don’t know the whole situation, and while Paragon swore that they had nothing to do with this sale, I don’t know the nature of the relationship between the owner and seller. Did he know what was going on? Did the seller have permission to use the shop’s equipment to remove parts? It’s not clear at all at the moment, likely causing many to question Paragon’s reputation.
While it may be tempting to see this whole situation as a warning about buying cars on Craigslist, I wouldn’t go that far. It’s really a warning about buying cars from greedy assholes.
The buyer did as much as you could expect: flew across country to see the car, inspected it, spent time with the seller. There’s really nothing more the seller could have done, aside from abdicating his last shreds of faith in humanity.
Look, if you go to see a car you may buy, and that car has certain equipment installed on it, there’s no reason to assume that equipment will not be included with the car unless the seller states so specifically—and the fact that the equipment was listed in the ad sure as hell makes it seem like that equipment is included in the sale.
That does not seem to have happened here, with the seller lamely trying to justify their actions by saying that no documentation was signed specifically stating that the hardtop and coilovers were included. The seller also seems to feel that “as is” is a magic amulet, though, really, “as is” should refer to the condition of the car as portrayed in the ad, and as shown to the seller. “As is” in this case should be a car whose “as is” status includes the hardtop and suspension upgrades.
I really don’t think most sellers are like this. I don’t want to echo LonS2K’s understandably bitter parting message of “don’t trust anyone.” But, that said, sellers like this one do not exactly make that easy.
It sounds like there’s now lawyers involved, so hopefully LonS2K will get the parts he rightfully paid for, so hopefully this callow, brazen incident will get resolved.
Oh, and hopefully the poor guy at Paragon will get a break from angry phone calls.