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Toyota recall: When buyer gave back her recalled Camry, dealer issued threat

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Reed Saxon/AP

(Read caption) Keyes Toyota in the Van Nuys area of Los Angeles put recalled Toyota models in a storage lot and raised a windshield wiper, signaling they had been withdrawn from sale.

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Cherie Rossetti bought a 2010 Camry within minutes of Toyota announcing that it was recalling new Camrys and seven other models because of a sudden-acceleration problem.

She asked the dealer to keep the car until Toyota had a fix for the accelerator. The dealer refused. She asked the dealer to take the car back. The dealer refused. We reported that story here. Now, there's a new twist on a story that reflects the bad treatment that some Toyota buyers say they're receiving.

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On Wednesday evening, Ms. Rossetti says she returned the Camry at the dealership with a letter saying that she had been sold a defective car. On Thursday morning (Jan. 28), the dealership called saying it would be bringing the car back to her. If she refused to take it, she says, the dealer threatened to process the purchase as a repossession.

"It's outrageous," Rosetti says. "Effectively, they're saying they'll destroy my credit if i don't take this bad car back."

The dealership, John Eagle Sport City Toyota in Dallas, did not return three calls requesting comment.

In some ways, Toyota dealerships are caught between a rock and a hard place. Until Toyota comes up with a fix, there's little substantive that dealers can do for customers. The cars they've sold are already titled and thus, by law, they could only go back into inventory as used cars, explains a Boston-area car dealer. That could mean a $4,000 to $5,000 loss for the dealer.

"I am sure if Toyota were willing to say: 'This is on us, guys,' then the dealership would take the car back," the Boston-area dealer says.

Is Toyota considering such a take-back program for its dealers? Impossible to tell, because Toyota isn't talking, either. Three calls to its corporate headquarters yielded zero response.

As for Rossetti, she's hoping that because Toyota hasn't yet processed the signed contract, she can get her money back. She's also pursuing her legal options.

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"I can tell you I'm not taking that [car] back," she says.