JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A woman who filed a complaint against a car dealership here was surprised when she went to pick up her refund: It was mostly in loose change.
In January, Irena Mujakovic bought a 2003 Saab from Holiday Motors of North Florida ended up with transmission problems. The dealer first repaired the vehicle for $300 then sold her a warranty.
But when the transmission went out again, the dealer charged Mujakovic an additional $400, saying its warranty didn't cover labor.
The student said she had to borrow the money to pay the bill. But she also went to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, whose investigators directed the company to give her a refund that she tried to get earlier this week.
"There were some $1 bills but mostly pennies, like two full bags," Mujakovic said.
Ed Di Miranda, who runs the dealership, said the money, about $400, was the cash he had on hand, about $85 in coins and the rest in dollar bills. He emptied containers where he keeps spare change because business has been slow.
"I'm doing what the DMV asked me to do," Di Miranda said. "It is legal tender."
Mujakovic was angry, leaving the bags of cash at Holiday Motors because she said she didn't have time to count every penny.
Some banks charge even their customers 2% of a transaction to process pennies, according to Bankrate.com. That would be about $8 in this case, $20 if a bank charged 5% as some do for noncustomers.
Coinstar machines frequently seen in grocery stores charge 10.9% — more than $40 in this case — if a user wants paper money rather than a gift card or e-certificate, according to the company's website.
Di Miranda said the incident occurred because he inadvertently omitted a clause in Mujakovic's warranty contract.
"The warranty did not cover labor, and I failed to write that in," he said. "That was her loophole."
Mujakovic still doesn't have her money; Di Miranda said the bags of cash are waiting for her at Holiday Motors.