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Dealership Gives Widow Free Jeep lease

May 16, 2018 0 Comments

An Iowa dealership has offered a 79-year-old widow caught in a “bad lease deal” a free Jeep lease for three years after an employee was involved in an accident while test-driving her Hyundai Tucson.

Dan Boettcher, a regional vice president for Ken Garff Automotive which owns Stew Hansen Hyundai and other dealerships, met with Marilyn Brown and her daughter Jana West last week. At the meeting, Boettcher told the women he wanted to “right” the frustrating situation Brown had experienced.

“He offered what seemed to us to be a sincere apology for the mistakes that had been made and offered to pay for a three-year lease at any of his dealerships,” West said.

Brown was widowed after her husband passed away from cancer in September last year, the same month the couple leased a Hyundai Tucson from Stew Hansen Hyundai in Clive, Iowa.

In October – a month after her husband’s passing – Brown called the dealership to arrange a pickup for the SUV to investigate an “acrid new-car smell.”

An employee came to pick up the vehicle and drove it away. Later, the dealership called Brown with some unfortunate news: the SUV had been involved in an accident. A bale of hay reportedly fell off a semi-tractor trailer onto the car while an employe was taking it for a test drive.

Brown was driving a loaner vehicle in the interim, said West, and was told by a dealership employee that the dealership’s corporate office had approved a new exchange vehicle.

In November, Brown and her daughter returned to Stew Hansen Hyundai to sign off on a new four-wheel-drive model of the Tucson, but were given the old vehicle that had been involved in the accident.

A complaint filed with Iowa’s Attorney General and a letter sent by the family’s attorney had little effect.

Jake Paskert, the dealership’s general manager, told the attorney he couldn’t do anything since the vehicle was owned by Hyundai Motor Leasing Trust.

“Unfortunately, the dealership is not able to address the issues outlined in your demand because it is not the owner of the vehicle and does not have the authority or ability to cancel the lease agreement,” he wrote.

West spoke to Hyundai’s Consumer Affairs and contacted the automaker’s Customer Car, but never heard back from either.

On Monday, Boettcher said he couldn’t discuss the deal details due to company policy. According to him, however, everyone involved “walked away as friends,” and the team “feels great knowing Mrs. Brown is fully satisfied with the outcome.”

In a meeting on Friday, West said her mother took up Boettcher’s offer and selected a 2018 Jeep Compass from Ken Garff-owned Dewey Jeep. Brown was given a maintenance package, was refunded for her Tucson deposit, and reimbursed for the attorney expenses.

“He had personally picked a vehicle that included a number of extra features he believed Mom would enjoy,” West said. “Dan was right: We took the Jeep for a nice, long, test drive, and Mom was very happy with the experience.”

About the Author:

Dave Martinson is a broadcast journalist for DrivingSalesNews. He has a background as a TV News Reporter, Anchor and Producer. He has also worked in Digital Marketing and Human Resources. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communication from Brigham Young University – Idaho. He’s married and originally from the state of Washington. He’s a huge football fan and enjoys the outdoors.