Once you sell your old car or truck back to a dealer you don’t have any control over its fate. The vehicle could be spiffed up and sold or it could be junked. Or, if you’re really unlucky, it could end up in the hands of Syrian rebels with your business name still plastered on the doors.
That’s exactly what happened to Texas plumber Mark Oberholtzer. He sold the Ford F-250, which he used for work, to AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in Houston, Texas. The name of his company along with its phone number were still on the doors, something you’d think would be removed by the dealership if they had plans to do anything other than junk the vehicle. Oberholtzer claims the dealer even told him that they would remove the decals from his truck.
That isn’t how it happened. Instead, the Ford pickup went to auction, decals still firmly in place, where it was purchased and sent on its way to Turkey. That’s where it came to be in the hands of Syrian rebels.
Oberholtzer found out when a picture of his truck was put up on an Islamic militant group’s twitter feed last December. The truck still has his company name and phone number with the addition of a huge gun mounted into the bed.
This led to lots of angry phone calls from people who believed he’d done this on purpose and that he supported the rebels. He even received a few threats and visits from both the FBI and Homeland Security, all because his company’s name was on the side of a truck he didn’t even own.
Oberholtzer was understandably upset about the whole thing and, according to Autoblog, tried to work it out with the dealership that originally bought his old truck. They, of course, are claiming they weren’t responsible for removing the decals before reselling the truck. No agreement was reached so Oberholtzer is taking them to court. He has filed a lawsuit for $1 million against the dealership.
Let that serve as a lesson to all of us. Remove every last scrap of personal identification from your car before you hand it over to the dealership. Especially make sure you take the name of your business off the doors. You don’t want to be the next Texas plumber who ends up looking like he’s supporting rebels in Syria.