In December 1999 I was looking to purchase a used Toyota LandCruiser. Unable to locate any suitable vehicles in the area I turned to the internet and expanded my search. I found a 1991 LandCruiser for sale by Rob Palarchio of Howell Township, Michigan. His ad was listed on classifieds.excite.com and described the vehicle as in "excellent condition". I called Mr. Palarchio and asked him to describe the vehicle. He assured me that it was free from rust, tears, scratches, or dings. Based on his description of the vehicle - which led me to believe it was in exceptional condition, I asked Mr. Palarchio to e-mail additional photos to me. Upon receipt of the photos I was unable to enlarge them sufficiently to get the detail I was looking for. Again I spoke with Mr. Palarchio and he assured me that the vehicle "did not have anything wrong with it".
Based upon Mr. Palarchio's representation of the vehicle, I agreed to purchase it. I was located in California and arrangements were made for me to send a $5,000 deposit to hold the vehicle until I could fly to Michigan to pick it up. I expressed mailed a check for $5,000 and flew out to Michigan with the remaining funds to complete the sale approximately 10 days later.
Mr Palarchio met me at the airport with the LandCruiser. I could not have been more disapointed in the condition of the vehicle. There were numerous (aprox 20) chips on the hood that were rusted. There was a scratch on the driver's side door approx 3 inches long that was down to the metal. The tinting on the windows had numerous scratches through it. The emergency brake handle had been chewed on by some type of animal, the boot surrounding the 4-wheel drive shift lever had holes chewed in it by some type of animal, the front seats had been replaced with seats from a Mercury Mountainer and did not match the rest of the interior, the interior was dirty and stained, the headliner had numerous stains and gouges in it, and the dash and associated plastic in the interior had numerous bite and claw marks gouged in it. Overall, the vehicle appeared to have been used very hard without any attempt to maintain its overall condition and appearance.
Clearly the vehicle was not as Mr. Palarchio had described it. I believe any reasonable person would agree that it was not in "excellent condition". Because of this, I told Mr. Palarchio that I did not intend to go through with the sale. He refused to refund my deposit that day, and I flew out of Michigan not knowing if I would get my deposit back.
A few days letter I spoke with Mr. Palarchio and he informed me that he was only willing to return $4,500 of the $5,000 deposit. He told me that he was keeping the $500 "for his trouble." I emphasized to him that he had misrepresented the actual condition of the vehicle and if he had been truthful as to the true condition of the LandCruiser I would have never agreed to buy it.
I have received the $4,500 but Mr. Palarchio has not returned the $500 that he stole from me. The money that he decided to keep for his trouble was done without my consent and without any implied or stated agreement in the event the sale of the LandCruiser fell through. Thus, he has stolen from me.
Mr. Palarchio frequently sells vehicles and other items on the interenet and I urge all who may conduct business with him to exercise extreme caution and skepticism.