Issue Date: Warranty Administrator for Dealers Oct 15, 2011, Posted On: 11/1/2011
Former parts manager accuses Nissan dealer of warranty fraud After losing his job at Marazzi Nissan in Naples, Florida, Eric Owens is blowing the whistle, according to a report in the Naples News.
In a lawsuit filed recently, Mr. Owens alleges he was fired for reporting fraudulent activity by fellow employees, which included submitting false warranty claims to Nissan headquarters.
Mr. Owens, who was a parts manager for the Nissan dealership, is seeking damages under the Florida Private Whistleblower Act. In his lawsuit, he said he discovered irregularities in inventory and then learned they were tied to fraudulent claims for work that was never done.
Mr. Owens was hired by Marazzi Nissan on June 18, 2010. His supervisor, David McKinney, left the company several months later.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Owens alleges that Mr. McKinney was involved in the fraud. "I think most of the service department was probably aware of it," Mr. Owens said. After Mr. McKinney was replaced by a new service manager, Gary Myer, Mr. Owens said he told him about the illegal and fraudulent practices.
Mr. Myer seemed "genuinely concerned," Mr. Owens said, and he took those concerns to the dealership's top management and Nissan itself. R. Myer was fired in February, 2011 - and then Mr.McKinney came back as the service manager, Owens said in his lawsuit.
The day Mr. McKinney returned to the dealership Mr. Owens was fired.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Owens is still looking for another job.
The dealership wants to resolve the case outside of court through arbitration and its attorney argues in court documents that this is a requirement of Mr. Owens' contract.