CLARION - It's usually "caveat emptor" let the buyer beware when buying a used vehicle through an auction, and Scott and Pamela Price of Leeper agree with that adage, but the couple believes they got a raw deal when they bought seven vehicles through the recent Clarion County surplus sale.

"We bought seven vehicles six busses and one Chevrolet Equinox for $44,800," said Scott Price. "We've bought hundreds of vehicles from municipalities all across the United States. Usually, when we buy from a municipality, we can trust the seller."

Scott and Pamela Price recently moved to the Leeper area from Florida. They are in the process of making Clarion County their permanent home. They both have family in the local area.

The couple buys surplus and used vehicles and then refurbish them and then re-sell the vehicles.

"We know it's ‘as-is,'" said Scott Price. "But when we buy, we go by the representation of the vehicle provided by the seller."

One of the biggest concerns the Prices have is the mileage of the vehicles turns out to be higher than what they say the paperwork displayed indicated.

"One of the busses was represented as having 111,000 miles and it turns out it has 123,000 miles," said Scott Price. "Another was over by 800. The Equinox was represented as having 90,000 miles and it has 102,000 miles on it."

Scott Price said the titles were transferred to him with in the incorrect mileage.

"Another vehicle was represented as ‘drivable,'" said Pamela Scott. "It wouldn't start. It had to be towed."

Scott Price said the Equinox was represented as vehicle used by the district attorney's office but actually turned out to be an impounded vehicle.

"It was represented as drivable but when I went to pick it up, the dashboard lit up with error codes," said Scott Price. "I got it home but the power-steering was out and the engine would only run in ‘reduced' mode."

The Prices said they have been in the used car business for 30 years.

"We're not trying to ruffle any feathers," said Scott Price. "But it's hard to believe the county didn't know about these problems."

"We did get a sort-of apology, but it seemed insincere," added Pamela Price. "We don't want other people to get burned."

Clarion County Administrator Jillian Fischer responded to questions about the vehicles emailed to the county commissioners.

"Right now, the county is looking into these allegations," Fischer wrote in an email response. "If the county did do something wrong, we will work to find a resolution; however, at this point we are still investigating."

Real estate sale also hits a snag

The real estate portion of the surplus sale appears to have hit a snag.

The board of commissioners Oct. 12 rejected one of the real estate bids after initially believing the bid was acceptable.

Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan said the county rejected the apparent top bid for a parcel of property on River Hill west of Clarion.

Tharan said the bid entered by Clarion businessman Yasir Bhatti was rejected because it did not meet the bid requirements.

Bhatti's bid was $35,000 for the 19,567 square-feet parcel.

All of the bids for parcel two of the former Holobaugh Beer Distributor were rejected by the board of commissioners.

The winning bid for the parcel one, containing the beer distributor's building was accepted. The winning bid was from Dunkle and Henry of Clarion. The winning bid was $211,870 for the one-acre parcel.

Tharan explained why the bid for the second parcel was rejected.

"We have to have fair market value on the property according to the county code," said Tharan. "We had an assessment done on the two parcels but the assessment was for both parcels combined."

That assessment was for a total of $166,000.

Tharan said the parcel could now be sold by the commissioners at or above fair market value. Tharan said the parcel could now be sold through a realtor or the county could advertise the property for sale.

Editor's note: Randy Bartley contributed to this report.

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