On West Broadway, at the very beginning of Totowa Avenue, sits a lot filled with cars. M&N Auto Group, a used car dealership, parks its cars inside the lot and outside in the nearby stretch in front of Totowa Avenue.
It was from this dealership that Ansar Miah purchased his first car in mid-September, only to be disappointed by the deceptive promises made to him by a salesman.
He purchased a 1996 Toyota Avalon, which had some problems that the dealer promised to fix, including: engine check light on, which the salesperson said was due to a censor; steering wheel creaking noise, and other minor issues.
The sales person, who went by the name Sammy, a middle-aged man of Arab descent, said he would fix the check engine light that was on.
In the subsequent weeks – every Saturday for a whole month — Mr Miah visited the dealership to fix the problems. Each time he visited, he would leave the car at the dealer for hours, only to return afterwards and find little has been fixed.
A mechanic there would digitally turn off the engine light without getting to the root of the problem, which would, after a few minutes’ drive, come back on.
On the second Saturday Mr Miah visited the dealership, and he left the car with the mechanic there. He returned few hours later, and spoke to Sammy, who said they could not determine what was causing the engine check-light to come on, and asked him to take the car for an inspection and bring back the “inspection failure” papers.
Mr Miah obliged.
The next Saturday he brought the failed inspection papers; the car failed inspection because of the engine light.
Few hours later, he returned to pick-up the car; again he found nothing had been worked on. The mechanic and the salesman began to behave in a strange manner, not letting him inside the repair room, where he freely roamed the previous week.
Sammy the salesman told him the problem had been discovered, “we found the problem and will get the part by Monday.” Mr Miah replied he had work Monday, but he will be able to bring the car on Saturday. “That’s fine,” said Sammy.
Next Saturday, Mr Miah came to the dealership to find the salesman had been fired by his boss, who later joked: “he went to Syria to fight”; and the mechanic went on vacation.
This would mark a turning point. A mechanic was hired, who raised the car, and isolated the problem that was causing smoke emission from the car’s hood: power steering fluid was leaking out which was being burnt causing the smoke.
Mr Miah left the car there at the shop after the mechanic promised the vehicle would be fixed within few hours. Tempers were running thin; he was frustrated by the lack of effort put into fixing the car by the dealership and the mechanic. He wanted to stay to watch if they were even working on the car.
The mechanic barely spoke English, but spoke just enough to go into the office and fetch the owner of the dealership, who after getting rid of the crooked salesman and the mechanic, was running the shop.
The owner arrived, told Mr Miah and his nephew to essentially go away and come back in a few hours. The nephew, who accompanied Mr Miah on every visit, lost his temper. A tirade of accusation was unleashed on the owner: the fact that he and his uncle had been coming here for almost a month and each time the dealership jerked them around – fixing nothing.
The owner was taken aback, unsure how to respond and somewhat out of composure, went on about it being a used car, and if he were to fix everything it would cost him more than how much the car was worth. And there would be no point in selling it in the first place.
Mr Miah left. He came back few hours later. The car was still raised, the mechanic took out a problem part, which was rare and could not be found in any of the car parts shops: AutoZone, Advanced Auto Parts, and the likes.
The owner showed him the part, explained to him it had to be ordered from the Toyota Dealership; Mr Miah went around different auto parts stores to find the part, nothing: all of them said it had to be ordered.
Mr Miah was promised the part would be in by Monday, after which he would be able to take home the vehicle, but for now he had to leave the car raised in the shop because the part extracted from the vehicle was severely damaged and could not be put back in.
He explained to the owner, he needed the car for work on Monday morning, and could not go without it. The owner gave cold responses, saying he could do very little.
Monday came, again the car was not fixed, it was sitting raised in the car repair room; Tuesday came, it was again sitting there, it had not been fixed. The owner both days said he would get the part the next day. On Monday he even showed a receipt that he ordered the part. On Tuesday Mr Miah threatened to take the dealership to court if the vehicle was not fixed by the next day.
Besides the to be fixed problems, there were other issues with the car: at one point, while Mr Miah was driving on Route 80, the car’s gas pedal was stuck to the floor and speed kept climbing. He quickly placed the car on park while fearing for his life, opened up the hood, and found a damaged throttle wire, which he fixed. In another similar instance, the tire went flat — when he went to look for the spare tire in the trunk, there was a large jeep tire inside rather than a fitting one for his vehicle.
On Wednesday Mr Miah arrived with his nephew, and the vehicle was fixed; the smoke problem was gone, the leak had been repaired, but the engine light remained as bright as ever; he was happy to take the car home.
When asked if he would ever buy a car from M&N Auto Group (165 West Broadway), Mr Miah responded, “Never!”