A Ramona man turned to NBC 7 Responds after a dealership wouldn’t let him out of a three-year lease his wife entered into before she died.
“She was actually in the back seat, in a head-on collision, and go figure, she was the only one that didn’t survive,” Charlie Spicuzza said. “I’ll never forget that day.”
It’s not easy for Charlie to talk about the day he lost his wife Cindy. It also hasn’t been easy to take care of the details since she passed away, including her favorite car.
“There’s plenty of reminders of her all over the house,” Charlie said.
One of those is Cindy’s car. She was eight months into a three-year lease on a BMW. After she died, Charlie drove it to BMW of El Cajon where they originally leased it.
Charlie said the dealership told him he was still responsible for paying the lease.
“You can bring us back the car but you need to give us $15,429 which just by coincidence was exactly the total sum of all the remaining payments I still had left to make,” he said.
Charlie said all he wanted was a small break, he didn’t expect the dealership to forgive the entire debt.
“And I told them, I said, look I understand. Sell it for whatever you can get for it, I’ll pay the difference, I know I’m not going to get out of this without taking some sort of financial hit,” he said.
Charlie talked to BMW lease officials and said he got the same answer, he would have to sell the car himself. After nearly eight weeks of trying to work out a solution, Charlie turned to NBC 7 Responds for help.
“I knew immediately that we had to do something for him,” Selena Hernandez, a Consumer Producer for NBC 7, said.
She works in the NBC Responds call center in Dallas. After she took Charlie’s call, Selena said she reached out to corporate officials at BMW.
“It will never replace the life that was lost but perhaps give him some comfort and some peace to some degree,” she said.
It took less than a week for Charlie to get a call he said he didn’t expect.
“Just bring that car back down to El Cajon BMW, they know you’re coming, you don’t owe us any more money,” Charlie said.
BMW agreed to take back the car and cancel any future lease payments.
In an email, BMW Corporate Communications Manager Dave Buchko told NBC 7 Responds, “BMW is committed to the highest level of customer service. The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all involved."