Better Call Behnken: Used car bursts into flames hours after purchase from Hillsborough Ave. lot

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Alexis Foster’s car burst into flames hours after purchase.

The 22-year-old single mother bought her first car, scraping together every dollar she had. She bought the car at G&D Auto Sales, a “buy here, pay here” used car lot on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.

“They were so nice,” she said. “I really thought I had found the perfect car.”

But, about three hours after leaving the car lot, Foster noticed smoke coming from the hood. The car filled with smoke and she frantically pulled over on the side of the highway and struggled to get her 15-month-old son out of his car seat.

“I was worried the car was going to blow up before I could get him out, so that was scary,” Foster said.

The dealership offered nothing, saying Foster still needs to pay the balance of her loan. They advised she file an insurance claim and give them the money.

Foster needs the car to get to class at USF, and now she has nothing. She paid $3,000 to get the car and owes more than $5,000 on the loan. The final sales price was $7,800. She later learned she potentially paid nearly three times too much for the 2007 Nissan Altima.

She called Better Call Behnken for answers and we found the odometer was way off. She was told the car had 109,000 miles, but vehicle identification records show the car had at least 125,000 miles.

The owner of the dealership would not go on camera. Over the phone, he said at first the fire may be Foster’s fault. He offered no help.

Hours after our visit, the dealership called Foster and said they are considering “working something out.”

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