A United States resident of Indian origin has sued a New Jersey car dealership for $1.26 million (Rs 8.38 crore) , alleging it refused to sell him a Mercedes Benz because one of the managers feared that he might ship the car to the Taliban, PTI reported. Surjeet Bassi, 50, accused the manager at Prestige Motors in Paramus of racial stereotyping and said the manager had told him that he came from a "high-risk area" where people buy cars and export them to the Taliban.
In the federal suit, Bassi claimed that he and his business partner went to the dealership in June to trade his Mercedes-Benz ML350 for a newer model, reported the Associated Press. Bassi claimed he spent several hours negotiating the price with a salesman, passed a credit check, charged $ 1,000 (Rs 66,758) to his card for the down payment and called his insurance company to adjust his policy. After all this, the manager called him to his room and refused to sell the car to him even after Bassi tried to convince him that he was an Indian and has nothing to do with the Taliban.
The carmaker refused to comment, saying the matter was sub-judice. However, company spokesperson Theresa V Boylan issued a statement where she said that the company values its relationships with customers and prospective buyers. She added, "As a company, we do not condone discriminatory practices or conduct."