Teresa Joseph

NBC 6 Responds Helps Single Mom Recover $4,000 After Car Fire

It took Jovanna Natta 30 years to finally buy her first car.

“I waited so long for this,” she said. “It felt like a victory.”

The single mother of two young girls got her license in October. She felt good when, on March 16th, she purchased a 2012 Kia Optima at the Coral Springs Auto Mall.

“I [was] moving up in life, like on levels,” she said. “Doing something I never thought I’d be able to do.”

But that feeling would be short-lived. The next day Natta noticed an unusual noise she described as “more like a vroom, like a motorcycle,” while driving so she called the salesperson.

“He then advised me to bring the car in the following day because he was off,” she said.

Later that day, though, as she was making her way to work she said the car just suddenly stopped on the road.

“I was pressing on the gas pedal and there was no acceleration coming at all,” she said. “The car would not go forward.”

Moments later, another driver suddenly knocked on her window and told her there was a fire under her car, she said. The flames quickly grew, engulfing the car she had proudly purchased just hours earlier.

“All I kept saying, ‘I just got the car yesterday, I just got the car yesterday,’” she told NBC 6.

The car was a total loss. When she later went to the dealership, a manager told her they couldn’t help, she said.

“I’m so sorry about that, but we’re not liable,” she remembered him saying.

That’s when she turned to NBC 6 Responds.

“That’s all I want from the Auto Mall, it’s just my money back,” she said.

A few days after our team contacted the dealership, they gave Natta a check for $4,000 – the full amount of her down payment. The car she had purchased came with a 60-day warranty, but that wasn’t the reason why they returned her money. In a statement, the dealership explained:

“It was our goal and is always our goal to satisfy our customers. Our decision to assist this customer in the manner that we did had nothing to do with the limited warranty that accompanied her purchase. We would have acted just the same had we sold the vehicle AS IS without that limited warranty. She trusted us with her purchase decision and we wanted to confirm to her that her trust in the Coral Springs Auto Mall was properly placed.”

Natta said she is thankful she can now keep working to better herself for her girls.

“I feel pretty good because at the end of the day they saw that I never gave in,” she said.

The dealership not only returned her deposit, but they also helped Natta pay for a rental car to help her get around town. She said they are also willing to work with her to help her get another car, which is what she really wants to do.

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