ELYRIA — County Common Pleas Judge Raymond Ewers and his wife are suing a Florida car dealership that sold them a van through eBay in a dispute that arose after the couple learned the van didn’t have the genuine leather upholstery they were promised.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in county Common Pleas Court, accuses General Motor Cars Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla., of fraud and other deceptive practices, including lying about the van’s mileage.
Judge Ewers and his wife, Mayra Coughlin-Ewers, agreed to buy the 2005 Ford Econoline from the company March 30, just a few days before they drove down to Florida for a vacation in the Fort Myers area. The total cost, which the Ewerses wired to the dealership, was $31,988.68.
The couple rented a van in Ohio and planned to leave it in Florida after they picked up their new van and use it to tow the pop-up camper they’d taken with them.
But the day after signing the paperwork and picking up the van on April 6, the Ewerses discovered that the van didn’t have the promised leather interior; rather, it had upholstery made from a synthetic product, the lawsuit said.
“(The Ewerses) would not have even considered purchasing the van if it did not have genuine 100-percent leather seats,” the lawsuit stated.
After returning the van on April 10, the Ewerses claimed they were told they would have to pay 3 cents a mile for their use of the vehicle, but that was later raised to $3 a mile.
The Ewerses were supposed to get their money back minus $2,121 for the 707 miles they drove while they had the van in their possession, but they balked at the deal when the company asked them to sign a liability release.
Their refusal to sign led the dealership to file a claim against them with the American Arbitration Association.
The company also put the van back up on eBay for sale, charging $100 more and advertising a gray vinyl interior, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit asks county Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski for an order prohibiting the arbitrator from hearing the case, for more than $25,000 in damages and for the dealership’s assets to be frozen.
Coughlin-Ewers said she and her husband would let the lawsuit, or their attorney, speak for them.
Bryan Rogers, a salesman for the dealership, declined to comment, while owner Joseph Kase did not return a call seeking comment.
Contact Brad Dicken at 653-6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.