Diary of a Used Car Salesman: How To Sell A Car That Smells Like A Corpse

Cue the dead hooker jokes.

After pressure generated by the story going viral, a suburban Detroit car dealer has agreed to buy back a used SUV that apparently held a human corpse in it at some time. The ’06 Ford Expedition was bought last winter and as weather warmed the vehicle started to smell lot rotting flesh. The dealer, Suburban Ford, suggested that a dead animal had gotten into the car and suggested that the owner make an insurance claim. That claim resulted in a hazmat specialist determining that the smell was “of human origin”. That evidence indicated that if the smell predated the purchase it also predated the insurance policy so the claim was denied. The owners turned to a lawyer who specializes in Michigan’s “lemon law”. That same lawyer discovered that the car had been a rental at one time and was stolen three times, never disclosed to the buyer. It’s not known exactly when and under what circumstances there was a dead human body in the SUV. A lawsuit was filed in Oakland County. The dealer agreed to take the car back but indicated it will probably be sold at a wholesale auction to another dealer, passing the problem along to someone else.

We asked David McDevitt, our expert on the used car biz how he, or other dealers, get a smelly car ready for sale.

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When he’s not busy doing custom machine embroidery at Autothreads Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth and contributes to The Truth About Cars and Left Lane News