International business has made selling a fleet vehicle a lot more complicated, at least that’s the hard lesson a Texas businessman has learned.
And now that Texas City businessman is passing along a hard lesson of his own, according to Reuters.
Mark-1 Plumbing owner Mark Oberholtzer sold one of his company trucks to a Houston-based auto dealer in 2013. That truck, in turn, was sold to an overseas auto company in Turkey.
The problem, Oberholtzer makes clear in his recent lawsuit, is that AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway did not as promised remove his company’s decals from the 2005 F-250 pickup that he had traded-in for a newer model.
An anti-Syrian Islamist terrorist was later photographed beside the truck holding an anti-aircraft weapon. That picture, which clearly displays a Mark-1 Plumbing and phone number decal on the door of the truck, appeared on social media in 2014 and has been haunting Oberholtzer and his business ever since.
Oberholtzer, who’s been in the plumbing business for 32 years, says the day the picture was Tweeted he received over a thousand phone calls at his office and on his personal cell phone. He says he and his business have suffered through repeated threats and harassment, some of it in Arabic.
He reports also being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Oberholtzer reports in this lawsuit, filed last week in Harris County State District Court in Houston, that he had sold up to 10 other fleet trucks to various auto companies in Texas.
The decals on those trucks had been removed prior to being sold, Oberholtzer reports.
AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway, according to Oberholtzer, told him that they would manage the decals since their method of removal would avoid damaging the paint. However, the decals were never taken off prior to auction.
Oberholtzer is now suing for $1 million in damages, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Harris County State District Court in Houston.
Though the Texas dealership would not comment on the lawsuit, their parent company has.
“We feel it is very unfortunate that the customer is going through this,” an AutoNation spokesman says in the Reuters article. “This vehicle came to us, and was sent to the auction and the markings should have come off at the auction. That did not happen. We feel this is unfortunate.”