DANDRIDGE (WATE) - A Jefferson County woman who paid extra for an all-wheel drive SUV is taking a used car dealer to court because the car didn't actually have all-wheel drive.
There are certain situations where all wheel drive can enhance your safety. The extra traction with all four wheels engaged at the same time is beneficial on wet or icy roads.
When you buy an all-wheel drive vehicle, whether it's brand new or used, it's more expensive than two-wheel drive, and the all-wheel designation is seen on the registration.
Katrina LaSalle bought a 2005 Buick Rendezvous a year and a half ago.
Living in rural Jefferson County, she needed the extra traction for when the weather is bad.
The car came from U-Drive Auto in Sevierville at a cost of $12,500. The SUV had 110,000 miles on it and U-Drive Auto included a 30-day warranty.
"I have the tag," LaSalle said. "It says Buick Rendezvous AWD, for all wheel drive."
All-wheel drive vehicles, new or used, are more expensive than two-wheel drive.
Her loan agreement shows it's listed as a four-by-four.
But a few weeks after buying the Buick, LaSalle heard a funny, clinking noise in the transmission, so she returned to U-Drive Auto, where salesman Shawn Spoone threw in an extended six-month warranty at no cost.
LaSalle says with the extra warranty, she went to an authorized mechanic and had the car checked.
"They called me that multiple things were wrong with it," she said. "That's when I found out the all-wheel drive was missing."
Despite the original tag that claimed all-wheel drive and registration papers showing all-wheel drive, the extended warranty was worthless because the car was two-wheel drive.
"They would not cover it because the all-wheel drive and the problems with it, existed prior," LaSalle said.
U-Drive Auto did make repairs charging her $600, but nothing was done to vehicle's drive shaft, rear differential or transfer unit.
Fed up, she returned yet again and spoke with the co-owner, Eric Gibby.
"He started screaming," she recalled. "He said it was past the 30-day dealership warranty and I needed to leave. It was my problem."
LaSalle hired an attorney and in December of 2011, he filed a lawsuit alleging fraud and misrepresentation.
"They say they want to settle out of court, but nothing ever materializes," she said.
Bennie Patterson is now the owner of the business. He told Six on Your Side that Spoone and Gibby no longer work at the business.
Another salesman said Gibby no longer sells cars and Spoone no longer lives in Tennessee.
When asked about LaSalle's lawsuit, Patterson said it had been sent to the lawyers, but that he had no timeframe from when it could be resolved.
"I'm very upset by it," LaSalle said recently.
LaSalle says a court date has been set for June to settle the dispute, more than two years after she bought the Buick.
"I just want what I was supposed to get."
If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.