LAYTON, Utah — A woman from Utah says she was misled by General RV when she bought her motor home, and now she has a payment looming to the tune of $63,000 thanks to a "smudge" on her contract.
Lisa Pueblo said, at first, she thought there was no way her family could afford the nearly $100,000 Thor Motor Coach in 2015 until a salesman at General RV crunched some numbers and convinced her.
She believed the RV was going to end up costing approximately $156,000 over the next 20 years.
"I was so excited!" Pueblo said. "I FaceTimed my dad and my mom, and I'm showing them everything, and the salesman is just laughing!"
The honeymoon phase only lasted five years, with the eventual realization that the purchase agreement sent from General RV to Jordan Credit Union was a "cleaned up" version of what she actually signed.
On the right: A copy of the "smudged" purchase agreement signed by General RV customer Lisa Pueblo in 2015.— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) April 22, 2021
On the left: A "cleaned up" version of the same document, sent from General RV to Jordan Credit Union.
The difference is a $63,000+ balloon payment. https://t.co/e6JWCBHBBs pic.twitter.com/a6omtR1kH8
A FOX 13 review of the contract shows various instances of inconsistencies and contradictions.
Most pages clearly state that the RV was to be financed over a 20-year term, or 240 payments.
"The purchaser of the motor vehicle described in this contract has executed the contract in reliance upon the seller's representation that seller can provide financing arrangements for the purchase of the motor vehicle," reads the purchase agreement. "The primary terms of the financing are as follows: interest rate between (3.90)% and (N/A)% per annum. Term between (240) months and (N/A) months."
However, a "smudge" in a different location on the same purchase agreement shows the number "119" typed on the same line as "240," suggesting a potential 10-year term rather than 20 years.
On the same sheet of "smudged" paperwork, the purchase agreement calls for a $63,139.96 balloon payment due in 2025.
"I would have walked away! There was no way I could come up with $63,000," Pueblo said. "You can definitely see that's been tampered with."
When FOX 13 looked at the other price figured listed on the same sheet of "smudged" paperwork, it's clear that the math was designed for what Pueblo had in mind: a 20-year loan.
Still, that's not what's being enforced.
FOX 13 Investigates: The $63,000 smudge— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) April 22, 2021
Why is General RV trying to enforce this contract?
"Unfortunately, we are unable to comment further on this matter." pic.twitter.com/srAmg2UXAr
"(The paperwork) says 240 months. Everything on here says 240 months," Pueblo said, pointing to her documents. "I don't know how they've done it, but everything on everything says 240, other than where it's been typed over... When we left, we were so confident that this was a 20-year loan, and my thoughts are, 'What am I getting myself into for 20 years?!'"
Stephen Whiting, a neutral third-party attorney not affiliated with the case, joined FOX 13 in reviewing the documents provided by Pueblo.
"My initial reaction is there's a lot of smoke here. There's probably some fire," Whiting said. "I see the number 240 all over these documents. It's not like we're talking about -- hey, maybe there's one typo. It's pretty clear in looking at them, the number 240 was meant to be used. It looks to me like it was changed after the fact. The question is why was it changed after the fact?"
Whiting said it is sometimes common for contracts to have terms crossed and replaced, which is okay so long as the intentions are clear to both parties.
"You can't have an agreement that you don't agree to," Whiting said. "The parties have to agree to the terms. If someone is changing the terms, that makes it very difficult for another party to agree to them, particularly if they don't even know about the changes."
Whiting recommended both sides hire an attorney.
"If I was the judge on this case, and someone was coming to me and saying the number was changed? I am instantly looking at it and saying -- Okay, there appears to be some evidence of the number being changed," Whiting said. "This is not a frivolous claim."
Stephen Whiting, a neutral third-party attorney, tries to make sense of General RV's attempts to enforce an inconsistent, contradictory, smudged contract.— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) April 22, 2021
"My initial reaction is there's a lot of smoke here. There's probably some fire." pic.twitter.com/2W1EcTHblr
Alicia Gewinner, the director of marketing and advertising for General RV, sent the following statement to FOX 13.
"To respect the privacy and confidentiality of our customers, General RV cannot comment on any current or past transactions," Gewinner wrote. "General RV has a strict compliance policy that follows all requirements and laws of all financial institutions as well as national and state laws when completing a sale with a customer."
Even after Pueblo offered to waive all privacy concerns, still General RV had no comment.
"So basically she's reaching out to you and telling you nothing," Pueblo said. "I told them. I said I will have Adam at FOX News investigate -- take this story and run with it, because I'm sure I'm not the only one."
General RV bills itself as the nation's largest family-owned RV dealership.— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) April 22, 2021
Lisa Pueblo says they did not return her calls for months, until after they learned FOX 13 was investigating.
Still, no explanation for the $63,000 smudge on her contract. pic.twitter.com/PZCi293h6o
Now Pueblo is looking for creative ways to make money, even though she feels like she's paying for someone else's mistake.
"I usually donate (plasma) every Monday and Friday, which makes (my husband) insane," Pueblo said. "I just heard that you can make money donating plasma, and it saves a life."
General RV, which bills itself as the nation's largest family-owned RV dealership, did not return Pueblo's calls for months, until after they learned FOX 13 was investigating.
Pueblo said the dealership has only offered to refinance, with longer terms and bigger payments.
"Why would I want to pay a higher payment with a higher interest rate but still have to put more money down on it?" Pueblo said. "I don't think they care. I think they're so big that they don't care."
Pueblo has filed complaints with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection and Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division.
An email forwarded from General RV to FOX 13 stated investigators at the Utah Division of Consumer Protection will recommend that the case be closed.
A spokesperson for the Utah Department of Commerce said he could not comment.
Meanwhile, the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division continues to investigate.
"I think people should be aware that possibly this could have happened to them," Pueblo said.
This story was originally published by Adam Herbets for FOX 13 Salt Lake City