WASHINGTON – A Nissan dealership in New York City is refunding nearly $6,000 to a customer who complained in a newspaper story that he was overcharged on a new-car purchase and couldn't obtain redress.
Star Nissan of Queens, N.Y., agreed to mail the refund to George Karikulathileliyas after the automaker interceded last week, said the dealership's general manager, Gus Tsolkas.
The store would have provided the refund on its own if senior managers knew of the customer's complaint earlier, he said.
“It doesn't make sense for him to be upset with me and not buy a car down the line,” Tsolkas said in a phone interview today.
The dealership is refunding $5,995 for a disputed service contract, alarm system and tire-care warranty on a 2009 Nissan Murano bought in August 2009, he said.
The vehicle cost $32,900, and the New Hyde Park, N.Y. customer paid $36,400, Tsolkas said. The service contract cost the customer an additional $2,495, bringing the total Karikulathileliyas paid to $38,895.
The dealership, owned by John Koufakis, was the subject of a Dec. 25 New York Times story in which Karikulathileliyas complained he had visited the store about 10 times and called 25 times in an unsuccessful attempt to get his concerns addressed.
Tsolkas today expressed skepticism about the customer's claim.
“He might have made one or two trips to our store,” Tsolkas said. “I wish I knew about it a year ago.”
After the newspaper story appeared, Nissan Americas contacted the dealership.
“We consulted with the dealer to ensure customer satisfaction,” Nissan spokesman David Reuter said. “The consultation basically encouraged the dealer to do what was necessary to resolve the points of dissatisfaction. In the end the dealer made the decision on what action to take.”
Karikulathileliyas could not be reached for comment.