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Customer sues dealership for false imprisonment after deal signed after hours

A customer is suing a US dealership for false imprisonment after claiming it forced her into buying an SUV after closing hours.

Jennifer Faulkenberry claims in a Circuit Court lawsuit that the dealership's staff held her against her will until she agreed to buy an SUV she did not want for a price higher than she was initially quoted.

The dealership, Nissan of Chesapeake in Virginia, usually closes at 9pm. It says the deal for Faulkenberry's Nissan Rogue was finalised at 10.47pm.

Faulkenberry's lawsuit claims she drove off the forecourt after midnight.

The dealership's managing partner Dan Barrister countered that his staff did nothing wrong. He said they worked with Faulkenberry until after closing only because they wanted to help her finalize the deal. "We stay until whatever time they need us to stay," said Banister.

Faulkenberry claims among other things in her lawsuit false imprisonment, unjust enrichment and breach of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. She seeks $400,000 in damages.

Her lawsuit says Faulkenberry purchased the SUV for a "total sale price" of $28,878 and drove off the lot after midnight. A copy of a financing contract provided by Faulkenberry shows that the $28,878 includes the finance charges, an extended-service contract, optional gap insurance and various taxes and fees. It also reflects a $2,250 rebate and $700 trade-in for her 2003 Nissan Altima.

Banister said the Rogue sold for $21,345 - $19,095 after rebates - and the deal was finalized at 10:47 p.m.

The lawsuit claims that during the evening Faulkenberry was told her Nissan Altima was not safe to drive off the premises, and that she had asked an employee if she could take the paperwork home to consider the deal overnight but was told the dealership wouldn't offer the same deal if she left and returned.

The dealership has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

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  • Dom - 18/03/2014 16:30

    I've been there. It's a very dirty tactic used by shady dealerships. They take away your ability to drive away (they take your keys for trade-in inspections, mention that the car isnt road worthy anymore) and they give you the illusion that the only way to go home is with a new car. Shitty way to do business, but thats what they do.