This was not a car dealership. It was worse because it involved one of my 16-year-old twins at the time. It was an oil change business.
She is tiny. Very tiny. At 29 years of age, she still looks 12. She is that tiny.
I had bought her a used vehicle. The sticker showed that the oil needed to be changed. I sent her to a place that others had recommended.
I was at work when I get a phone call. My twins never called me unless it was an emergency.
I answered while standing in front of a class because I just knew something was wrong.
She was hysterical. She said that the man at the oil changing place told her that her car needed a great deal of very expensive work. About 3,400 USD worth of work and that it was required by the law that it be completed before they could release the car to her. He would keep her keys until she paid for the work. The car wasn’t even worth that much.
It took me a few minutes to calm her down and when I did, I told her to pass her phone to the man in charge. He was the person threatening her.
Before I could even speak he tried to tell me the same story. I cut him off. I told him to stop talking. LOUDLY! I told him “I am going to hang up this call now and I am calling 911 (the U.S. emergency number). I will tell them that not only have you abducted a child but that you are committing grand theft auto. Believe me, when I tell you, they will take one look at her and believe it.” I hung up the phone.
I got off the phone and had 24 Physics students staring at me. I explained and they began to applaud. But before the applause was finished, my daughter called me back. She said she now has the keys but they still made her pay for the 29.99 USD for the oil change.
I just told her to pay it and get the heck out of Dodge.
I later learned that the car needed no such work. I also learned they did not change the oil. I took it to another mechanic and he said the oil was sludge. Meaning “not changed”.
There was no social media at this time or I would have smeared this business across all sites.
I could only reduce myself to word of mouth and that is what I did.
Years later, my daughter said this helped her in more than one incident. Her youthful look has stood against her time and time again. She became one of the most assertive young women I have ever met. She never allowed anyone to take advantage of her youthful look nor of her female gender.