Woman says car dealership sold her Mercedes for $ 45,000 but did not pay for it

TAMPA, Fla .– After a car consignment deal involving a Tampa auto dealership deteriorated, the customer says she lost $ 45,000 and has nowhere to turn.

Susan Côté has the title but no car and no money. Investigator Jackie Callaway began asking questions after hearing her story.

Bonner Modlin loved his Mercedes, but by 2021 his daughter says her 81-year-old dad has stopped driving.

Côté told ABC Action News that a friend referred her to Mirabella Motors in Tampa, where she signed a consignment contract. The one-page deal said Mirabella Motors would pay Cote $ 45,000 after selling the car.

Côté said the dealership told her in June that the car had been sold and made an appointment for her to come from her home in Orlando to meet him in Tampa.

On June 29, Côté arrived in Tampa with the title in hand. But she said Mirabella Motors was unwilling to hand over the money right away.

“They said give us the title because the bank won’t release the funds to us until we have proof of the title, she said.

But Côté did not feel comfortable leaving the title of the car without the agreed payment of $ 45,000.

She said owner Tony Mirabella had been running her all summer.

In August, she filed a complaint with the DMV.

ABC Action News obtained the report from the DMV. The state investigation confirmed that the car was sold in June.

The dealership told the DMV he would write Cote a check, but claims she hired a lawyer who demanded a wire transfer and additional fees.

The DMV cited Mirabella Motors for three consignment agreement violations. They included failure to disclose an appropriate odometer reading, failure to have proper proof of ownership, and signed contracts that were not fulfilled.

The agency’s findings did nothing to induce the dealership to pay Cote.

Between October and December, action reporter Jackie Callaway contacted Tony Mirabella and Mirabella Motors more than a dozen times via email, text and phone.

On December 9, Mirabella responded in an email, stating: “All I need is a letter from her lawyer that was sent to me saying that [her] the lawyer no longer represents her, and that can be resolved. “

ABC Action News discovered that Cote’s lawyer emailed Mirabella Motors in September, offering to accept a wire transfer of $ 45,000, even in exchange for the title. Côté is still awaiting payment.

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