Dealership uses Chrysler retiree's 'friends and family' plan for complete strangers

Help Me Hank investigates auto employee discount abuse

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Car shopping is a big investment for most people, but an employee discount code is a perk for many working for the Big Three, which can help knock some dollars off the grand total.

Wilma, an 88-year-old woman from Roseville is a Chrysler retiree. Her daughter, Diane Gray, reached out to Help Me Hank after she found out her benefits were being  taken advantage of by two salesmen.

Wilma’s controversy started in 2001 when she went to the Parkway Chrysler dealership in Clinton Township.
She bought a car and shared her CID number with the salesman to get her discount. She didn’t know, after she left, her code was being used by at least two salesmen to make deals for several years.

7 available codes used in 1 month

This was all exposed earlier this year when Wilma’s family member went to buy a car and was told all seven of her available codes were used in the month of January. Her family logged into her account and saw dozens of names, going back years -- all people she didn’t know. Many of the names could be tracked to the two salesmen at Parkway Chrysler.

Wilma was also eligible to cash in two $500 vouchers towards the purchase of a new car. She was taxed for the vouchers but had never used them. Those vouchers were allegedly used to make deals with people Wilma had never met.

Help Me Hank approaches dealership manager

Hank Winchester approached Michael Riley, the General Manager of the dealership, who told Local 4 he’s upset the incident happened. Riley said he’s aware codes are being used, but he didn’t find out about the problem until after this incident was exposed. Riley reached out to the family with a check covering their loss.

Chrysler has also launched an investigation into the issue. One of the salesman accused of using Wilma’s code has since retired and the other has been disciplined.

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About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.