If you have personal or work decals on your vehicle and you are trading it into a car dealership, I would highly, highly suggest that you remove the decals before you give it to the dealership. Don’t trust the salesperson to do the right thing. You need to do it. Mark Oberholtzer learned this lesson the hard way after trading in his pickup truck.
Oberholtzer is the owner of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, Texas. In October 2013, he went to his local Ford dealership to trade in his 2005 Ford F-250 truck. Oberholtzer claimed that he started to peel off the company’s decals from the truck’s doors, but a salesman stopped him. The man told Oberholtzer that peeling off the decal would damage the paint on the truck, so Mark stopped taking off the stickers.
However, the decals advertising his company were left on the vehicle. Not soon after, Oberholtzer saw his former truck in the news, on the Internet and on TV.
A photo of the Mark-1 Plumbing truck, complete with phone number, went viral and he was getting free advertising, but it ended up being the worst publicity because it was being used by ISIS terrorists.
On December 15, 2014, Caleb Weiss, a contributor at the Long War Journal researching jihadist groups, tweeted a photo that clearly showed Oberholtzer’s truck being used as an anti-aircraft vehicle in Syria.
Gotta admit, that makes me wanna buy a Ford pickup truck. If its good enough to hold an anti-aircraft turret, it’s probably really good at transporting a 5-lbs tub of mayonnaise from Costco.
“By the end of the day, Mark-1’s office, Mark-1’s business phone, and Mark’s personal cell had received over 1,000 phone calls from around the nation,” Oberholzer’s lawyer wrote in the lawsuit, filed December 9 in Harris County, Texas. “These phone calls were in large part harassing and contained countless threats of violence, property harm, injury and even death.” It probably didn’t help that Mark’s truck was featured on the last episode of The Colbert Report, which was viewed by nearly 2.5 million people.
Oberholtzer was forced to temporarily shut down his business and even take his family out of town to avoid any potential threats. He bought a gun for protection, and he also had visits from Homeland Security and the FBI.
Mark claims that to this very day, he still has to deal with phone calls from when the photo went viral in 2014. Here’s a novel idea, maybe its time to change your phone number?
This week, Oberholtzer brought a lawsuit against the Houston car dealership that sold his pickup truck without first removing his business’s decal for over $1 million.
The vehicle’s CARFAX history report shows the truck was sold at a Texas auction on November 11, 2013. Then nearly one month later, it arrived in Mersin, Turkey, according to Oberholtzer’s lawsuit.
I wonder if the warranty covers against drone strikes.