Calgary

Single mother gets Gallery of Fine Cars Jeep fixed for free by Calgary auto shop

A Calgary mom who says she was misled by a used-car dealer to buy a vehicle riddled with mechanical problems has been given an early Christmas present.

Automaxx did $2,900 in pro-bono repairs following CBC investigation

Jessica Travadi's 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee was purchased from the Gallery of Fine Cars in June. It came with a clean mechanical assessment, but failed a third-party inspection a week later. (Falice Chin/CBC)

A single mother who says she was duped by a Calgary used-car dealer to buy a vehicle riddled with mechanical problems has been given an early Christmas present.

The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Jessica Travadi purchased from Gallery of Fine Cars has been fixed, for free, by another used-car dealer.

"We're ecstatic. I feel like it's Christmas," Travadi told the Calgary Eyeopener.

A recent CBC investigation uncovered several complaints against against the Gallery of Fine Cars from customers who alleged the dealer misled them into buying vehicles with undisclosed histories and mechanical problems.

The company, as well as its owner and several representatives face 44 charges in relation to defrauding and misleading customers, and selling vehicles without proper inspection and paperwork, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.

The company denies any wrongdoing.

Another dealer to the rescue

Automaxx replaced several parts on Jessica Travadi's SUV, racking up more than $2,900 in repairs — for free. (Automaxx)

Following the CBC investigation, Chris Thin, the general manager of Automaxx, contacted Travadi and offered to repair any issues on her vehicle so she could safely drive her kids to and from the hospital for treatments.

Her children, aged six and eight, both have fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that requires regular therapy.

"Her story was somewhat compelling in terms of her situation," he said. "So we decided to step in and take some action."

Following a full safety inspection, Automaxx mechanics discovered eight problems with the vehicle:

  1. Leaking radiator
  2. Left rear parking brake shoes cracked, corrosion in parking brake drum
  3. Front brakes needed to be resurfaced and pads de-glazed
  4. Rear shoes and rotors needed replacement
  5. Cracked engine mount, causing leakage
  6. Front tire leak
  7. Safety recall on sun visors
  8. Steering wheel re-alignment
Chris Thin, the general manager of Automaxx, contacted Travadi and offered to repair any issues on her vehicle at no cost. (Falice Chin/CBC)

The Gallery of Fine Cars's own inspection in July had deemed the vehicle safe. Owner Adriano Aprile told CBC News the brakes and rotors were as good as "brand new."

In the end, Automaxx did $2,914.90 in pro-bono repairs and also covered Travadi's $500 insurance deductible for hail damage.

"Now she has a safe vehicle and she can enjoy it without having to worry," said Thin.

'Lucky to be alive'

After learning about the dire state of her SUV, Travadi said she and her children are "really lucky to be alive."

She says she is no longer fearful of breaking down or causing an accident, and can now take her children to more activities in the community.

"Hopefully now we can get out and make some new memories together," she said.

"I would love to take them to Banff one day."


With files from the CBC's Falice Chin and the Calgary Eyeopener