Man with early signs of dementia buys unneeded new car

WTLV-TV, Jacksonville, Fla.

The average used car sold for $15,617 at a franchised dealership in the third quarter.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Family members of a man with early signs of dementia say he went to his dealership for an oil change and left with a new car he didn’t need.

Frank Merlino’s relatives say the 86-year-old, who recently suffered a mild stroke, did not know what he was doing.

“He wasn’t doing well mentally, physically,” said daughter Gina Merlino. “He really shouldn’t be driving or left alone.”.

On June 16, a week after his stroke, Frank Merlino drove his 2011 Honda Fit to his dealership for an oil change and left with a 2015 model of the same car.

“They sold him a car for $27,000,” Gina Merlino said, “And they told him he has seven years to pay it off at $459 a month.”.

Merlino is a former U.S. Marine with a number of health issues. His caregivers are his two daughters and they are not happy with the deal.

“They told him all you have to do is put gas in this car,” she said. “They made it sweet for him.”.

The deal included thousands of dollars in charges for a maintenance plan and a service contract. Merlino said her father was not in his right mind when he signed the sales contract.

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Merlino said one of his caregivers should have been contacted.

“His judgment is not good,” she said. “When you talk to him, you can tell.”.

After meeting with Merlino’s caregivers, the dealership canceled the sale and returned Merino’s 2011 Honda Fit. The general manager said Merlino is a longtime customer and they wanted to make everyone happy.

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