St. Louis man scammed of down payment for car

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A South St. Louis man is struggling with a serious car issue. He tells us that he regrets trying to buy a used car from a neighborhood lot. The young man says he was desperate for transportation and admits he should have taken the time to do some checking.

The used car lot on Gravois is within walking distance of Paul Pearson's house.  He says he needs a car to get to and from his job. Pearson explains why he was in a hurry to get a car. “I figured I`d come here and hurry up and get a car. I work seven days a week. I got a double on Tuesday. I need a car.”

After several visits to the lot he found one he liked. He gave a man inside the office cash. And Pearson says was given a receipt. “He took my $500 down, supposed to be a down payment for a Cadillac here and he ran off with it. I don`t have the car. I don`t have my money.”

Pearson says he was told the man who took his money is not authorized to sell cars. Police were called while we were at the lot. Pearson says the General Manager called earlier in the week giving him the bad news. “This guy doesn`t deal cars here. He was here to watch the lot. He took your money, He stole your money. That`s what the general manager told me.”

The business owner Tiffany Hutchinson confirms the man is known by her staff.  He's been a connection for them when looking to buy cars wholesale according to Hutchinson. “He is not employed here, he hangs out, he knows a lot about cars, he`s connected with a lot of car dealerships.”

Hutchinson says she's not going to refund Pearson's money. In the meantime Pearson says he came in good faith but got scammed with an elaborate explanation from the man who took his money. “He was telling me that my deal was done. And he had to do a couple of things to the car.  He had to go to St. Charles to fill out some paperwork for a new financial company that they`re dealing with.”

Paul Pearson says he's give police a description of events surround the transaction and he's hopeful the guy will be arrested. We'll be in touch with Pearson to find out how this turns out.

Word to the wise; don't give anyone any money for a car before you've done your homework. Be sure you know who's legally qualified to sell cars. Contact the Better Business Bureau before buying a used car. You may learn some things about the Auto Dealership.