Car buyer a victim of 'check engine light' scam - New York News

Car buyer a victim of 'check engine light' scam

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -

It's lights out for one car buyer in the valley. He paid cash for a second family car, but ran into expensive repairs after finding out the "check engine light" had been removed.

This is a good reminder to have a mechanic look over a car if you plan on buying a used vehicle from a private owner.

The man who bought the car says he had no idea the service light had been taken out until the car failed the emissions test.

He says he's now stuck with a car he has to pour more money into, just so he can get his license plate tags.

When Keith Jones saw this 2000 Honda Civic for sale on Craigslist a few weeks ago, he thought he finally found the second car he was looking for.

"Honestly out of the 20-30 cars we've looked at, this was one of the nicer looking ones," says Jones. "We thought this was the perfect car for us."

He wanted a car with good gas mileage for his kids who are driving now. But Jones got a surprise when it didn't pass the emissions test after he paid $3,500 in cash.

Turns out the "check engine light" had been removed.

"I was upset because you know it's a lot of hard earned money. I worked sometimes up to 72 hours a week - I put a lot of time in," says Jones. "You know they didn't just mess me over - they messed my family over and you know it's a big deal."

Now Jones is stuck with a car he can't register until he spends more money making repairs.

Dean Schmidt with Meineke Car Care in Surprise says it's a problem he sees a lot.

"You look at the outside and you drive it down the road and you think everything is fine. But in turn when you don't look at the whole picture - you're never going to know," says Schmidt.

Jones says all he wants is to get his money back and to give the car back to the seller, but the seller isn't returning his calls.

"So you can kind of see my dilemma here - I'm kind of stuck."

We tried to get in touch with the seller also but didn't have any luck.

While Jones has to decide what to do next, his temporary tags on the car are only good for four more days.

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