And now, of course, he's suing the dealership.
Meet 50-year-old Surjeet Bassi, an Indian-American who lives in Middletown, New York, and owner of Orange County Medi-Coach, a company that provides medical transportation services. According to Record Online, when Bassi decided to trade in his Mercedes-Benz ML350 for a newer model, he went to Prestige Motors in New Jersey, one of the largest Mercedes dealerships in the United States.
After negotiating the deal with a salesman, passing a credit check, paying a $1,000 down payment and even showing Prestige his bank statements, everything appeared to be done and dusted. But then the dealer manager summoned Bassi into his office and told him that he couldn't sell him the car. How come? According to Bassi, the manager explained that because he came from a "high-risk area" where people buy cars and ship them to the Taliban, the sale can't happen. Thing is, Bassi has lived in the area (that'd be New York) for 30 years and, not to mention, is in no way connected to the Taliban. Never has been. Never will be.
Bassi's name also doesn't show up on any federal database containing a list of those banned from exporting. The dealer manager also used this database to search for any dirt on Bassi and, of course, came up with absolutely nothing yet still refused to sell him the car. Bassi even offered to sign a waiver promising not to export the car but the manager didn't budge. So Bassi is now doing what any American should do in this situation: sue the dealership. He's since filed a $1.26 million lawsuit against Prestige claiming racial discrimination and its refusal to extend credit under the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
By the way, this is the same Prestige Motors that was investigated in 2014 by the New York Attorney General over allegations of kickbacks paid to salesmen in connection to exporting luxury vehicles to China. Half-a-dozen salesmen were fired and no charges were brought. Photo courtesy of recordonline.com