Breaking: Sleazy Used Car Salesman Heads to the Slammer

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

It’s among the most prolific stereotypes of the automotive world. The shady used car salesman. Often pictured standing next to an overvalued Kia Sephia (a “smokin’ deal!”) while wearing a loud sport coat and white belt, the specter of these fly-by-night fraudsters have plagued reputable dealers for decades.

In Oshawa, Ontario, a city best known for housing General Motors’ Canadian headquarters and a former TTAC managing editor, one such criminal just met his fate. How sweet it must be for the poor buyer he swindled.

According to the province’s vehicles sales regulator, Ryen Maxwell can look forward to spending the holidays in jail. A former registered salesperson at Oshawa’s Countryside Motors, Maxwell was sentenced to 30 days in jail after being found guilty of violating both the Consumer Protection Act and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.

The sentencing was carried out Tuesday. Maxwell was charged with falsifying documents and furnishing false information to financial institutions, as well as committing an unfair business practice. So, what did Maxwell do, actually? According to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, he falsified employment information on a credit application for a “vulnerable consumer,” sending it out to several lenders. The buyer was unaware of the salesman’s actions.

The end result? The “vulnerable consumer” soon found him or herself on the hook for three vehicles, not one. Among smokin’ deals, this has to be the worst.

During Maxwell’s trial, OMVIC argued his actions were “planned, ongoing, and motivated by greed.” It didn’t help Maxwell’s case that he had previously served 18 months of house arrest for a fraud conviction. For failing to prevent Maxwell’s actions, the court fined Countryside Motors $5,000. (OMVIC later issued a proposal to yank the registration of both the dealer and its operator.)

Maxwell, whose registration was revoked in 2016, was charged in 2015 and convicted in May of this year.

Based on some cursory online sleuthing, it seems Maxwell’s position at Countryside Motors was “manger,” at least according to his Linkedin page. An appropriate position given the holiday season. However, a customer who left this single one-star review on Yelp didn’t seem too enamoured with Mr. Maxwell’s Grinch-like sales practices.

Our salesman’s trail doesn’t end there. In September of 2016, Maxwell’s name appears in a story printed in the aftermath of “Project Defiance,” a two-month-long police investigation into counterfeit checks. Among the 55 charges laid against 11 people (10 from Oshawa), are two counts of Fraud over $5,000 and Utter Forged Document for Ryen Maxwell, 38. The charges came after a series of arrests and search warrants executed in late August and early September.

Just to reiterate an earlier point: not every used car salesman is out to get you. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t do your homework first and suspect everything and everyone, but it’s quite rare to walk away from a used car purchase with a subprime loan on three vehicles.

[Image: Steven Snodgrass / Flickr]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Dec 21, 2017

    I haven't had many problems with used car dealers, but I am probably a dealer's worst nightmare (financial analyst/engineer, native NYer, shadetree mechanic). Unless of course they have a rare car I want in the condition I want.......... but even still, when it comes to financing I don't play.

  • Mikey Mikey on Dec 21, 2017

    A few years ago here in the "Shwa " we must have had to 30-40 of those small BHPH lots in the area. They opened, closed, changed names, went broke, or were shut down. These dealers ended up with the junk, that the franchise operations didn't want to deal with. Even the bigger, more established used car lots wouldn't touch such vehicles. It all changed July 1st 2016. The Ministry of Transport introduced some of the toughest safety check rules in North America...Today, if its not financially viable to certify a vehicle, it becomes food for the crusher. Most of the small, shaky little lots folded up within months . However, that all being said, the crooks will always find a way, to screw the most vulnerable members of society.

  • EBFlex More proof of how much EVs suck. If you have to do this, that means you are trying to substitute what people want...and that's ICE.
  • Akear The only CEO who can save Boeing, GM, and Ford is Alan Mulally. Mulally is largely credited with saving both Boeing and Ford. The other alternative is to follow a failed Jack Welch business model. We have all witnessed what Jack Welch did to GE, and what happened to Boeing when it was taken over by GE-trained businessmen. Below is an interesting article on how Jack Welch indirectly ruined Boeing.
  • ChristianWimmer The interior might be well-made, but the design is just hideous in my opinion. It’s to busy and there’s no simplistic harmony visible in it. In fact I feel that the nicest Lexus interior ever could be found in the original LS400 - because it was rather minimalistic, had pleasing lines and didn’t try to hard. It looked just right. All Lexus interiors which came after it just had bizarre styling cues and “tried to hard” if you know what I mean.
  • THX1136 As a couple of folks have mentioned wasn't this an issue with the DeLorean? I seem to recall that it was claimed you could do a 'minor' buff of the surface and it would be good as new. Guess I don't see why it's a big deal if it can be so easily rectified. Won't be any different than getting out and waxing the car every so often - part of ownership, eh.
  • ToolGuy This kind of thing might be interesting in a racing simulator.