NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Roy Podolin’s garage is your first hint that he knows the car business. As the owner of Cloud 9 Classics in Alpharetta, Podolin has been buying and selling cars online around the world for 12 years.
“These people send me the money without ever seeing me or meeting me,” explained Podolin.
He delivers the car and the deal is done. Last May, Podolin thought it would be that simple when he got involved in an eBay auto auction with Paul Pazzaglini of North Carolina.
“I actually called and spoke with the gentleman who was selling the car and negotiated a price with him,” Podolin stated.
They agreed on $5,800 for a 1981 Fiat, but the car never came. In fact, investigators say that same car had been sold three times to three different people.
“Pretty much as soon as he decided he wasn't going to sell the car and offered to refund the money, I knew that something was going on,” Podolin recalled.
The Fiat and the refund never came, but officials did arrive at Pazzaglini’s Union County mansion in North Carolina. Officials seized items and arrested him on three counts of obtaining property by false pretense.
“Luckily, it was probably the lowest dollar car that I've ever purchased,” said Podolin.
Regardless, it was a lesson that despite research there is always risk. Podolin’s hope now is for people to feel they can comfortably buy cars on the Internet.
“It’s pretty common. You have to obviously keep your guard up on any kind of Internet purchase,” Podolin warned.