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More on Viking Dodge

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McHenry County, Illinois Topics:  Viking Dodge

More on Viking Dodge

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 29, 2007

The Woodstock Independent was at the corner of U.S. 14 and IL 176 this afternoon, when Wayne (from Marengo) picketed in front of Viking Dodge, carrying a sign with the website http://www.ripoffreport.com/ on it.

Wayne has had a beef with Viking Dodge for over a year. He had been a customer of Viking Dodge and placed an order for a new car in about August, 2006. The whole story may be on http://www.ripoffreport.com/ but, basically, it appears that Viking Dodge never ordered the car for him. When he attempted to find out what happened to his order, things turned nasty.

Wayne walked up and down the shoulder of IL 176 in front of Viking Dodge for over an hour late this afternoon. Although the Viking Dodge property begins 30 feet from the roadway, Wayne stayed within five feet of the curb. Recently, a Crystal Lake officer told him to stay within that short distance of the curb. Although the order may have been reasonable, it was not within the law. On a site plan of Viking Dodge on file with the City, its property line is 30' from the curb. That's why their cars are parked well back from the street and why they had to move their temporary back to the 30' mark.

After about 30 minutes two Crystal Lake P.D. squad cars pulled up. Both officers were polite and respectful toward Wayne and explained that he was not breaking any law by walking up and down the shoulder with his sign. Pretty quickly they left, but it wasn't long before an unmarked police car pulled into the Shell station across the street, and two officers sat for about 20 minutes and watched the goings-on.

Frankly, I was glad they were there. They seemed to be there for Wayne's protection. Numerous employees of Viking Dodge congregated near their property line, which is well in front of the sales building. There seemed to be little traffic from customers.

At one point a new blue Dodge RAM 2500 4-door king-cab pick-up truck with Dealer License 428N roared off the lot, squealing its tires and tearing up to the red light at U.S. 14. When the left-turn light came on, the driver made a fast left turn, slowed, and then drove up over the curb onto the right shoulder and pulled in closely behind Wayne's car - a nice Dodge Magnum that he had purchased at Viking and wanted to trade in last year on the new car he thought he had ordered.

The driver of the pick-up truck got so close to Wayne's car that I started to walk back that way to see if he had come in contact with Wayne's car. The driver pulled forward, backed up, pulled forward, and backed up until he could pull straight out and across U.S. 14 and drive back to the sales lot of Viking Dodge.

The Viking Dodge "mascot", a person dressed in a costume, was out front this afternoon, and a person who appeared to be a manager came to the curb near Wayne and directed the person in the costume with these words, "When he walks, you walk right in front of him." The face of the person in the costume could not be seen, but he kept his distance from Wayne. The order to walk in front of Wayne (to block people from seeing Wayne) was absolutely inappropriate and could have, if Wayne had stumbled, resulted in the costumed person's being accidentally pushed into the street in front of traffic.

Let me tell you about Wayne. Wayne is from Marengo and is in his early 70's. Wayne is not a confrontational person. Wayne carefully walked around the person in the costume and gave him wide berth. Quickly, the person in the costume must have realized that the manager's order was wrong, if not indeed legally wrong. Had Wayne felt alarmed or disturbed by the person in the costume, he could have had him arrested for Disorderly Conduct. Wayne felt no alarm or disturbance, because the costumed person wisely kept some distance and made no effort whatsoever to block Wayne's path.

Soon thereafter, a young salesman was walked to the curb, probably by a manager, and told to walk up and down in front of Wayne, carrying a hand-lettered sign, "New Management, New Attitude." Yeah, sure... The sign was poorly made. The young man was pleasant enough and obviously was doing just what he had been ordered to do. Perhaps he'll be looking for a new job soon. Let's hope...

The actual presence of the young man with the cheaply-made sign constituted advertising in the public right-of-way, because he walked up and down in the street between the curb and the solid white lane line. Had the police been aggressive about laws this afternoon, he might have been at risk for arrest, although it should have been the manager arrested - the manager who ordered him to walk with the advertising sign.

So, what's the big deal at Viking Dodge? If you buy a car there - or anywhere - make very sure that every line on the purchase contract and finance contract is filled in. Leave no line blank. If a line is blank, draw a line through the blank space. Initial it and make the Finance Manager (closer) initial it, too. NO EXCEPTIONS. Do not rely on any oral promises about terms, financing, interest rates, payments, accessories to be included in the car, delivery date, etc. Get EVERYTHING in writing, and in ink!

Take a copy of ALL paperwork with you when you leave. Do not leave your car as a trade-in unless the deal is done, completed, financing approved. Anything promised, but not written into the Contract, is nothing but hot air. Do not drive the car off the lot, based on a promise that financing will be approved "soon" or "Monday" or "when the Finance Manager gets back." If it doesn't get approved as you expected, you might find yourself liable for a very high mileage cost for driving the car until you return it.

If you don't do your homework before making a deal, you will regret it. You can count on that.

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