“I thought, OK, I trade in the car, I get a new car, they pay off the lien and that’s the end of it.” This dealership customer became disappointed, disillusioned and frustrated when he realized that buying a car at a name-brand dealership doesn’t always work as it should.
When he received repeated phone calls from the bank holding his old auto loan, the man realized the dealership that sold him his new car had never paid off the car he had traded in. From the banks’ point of view, he now owned two cars and he watched his credit score plummet by 140 points before he knew what was happening.
Trade-ins not paid off, titles not delivered
Last month, reports emerged of at least 240 other customers complaining about questionable business practices at Fenton Hyundai in Mesquite, Texas.
The man’s experience was not unusual. When he told the dealership of the problem, they explained they were in the process of a change in ownership, delaying the payment for the tradeoff for a short time. As the weeks wore on, the man was still held responsible for paying off both cars.
Meanwhile, his temporary tag for his newly purchased car was nearing expiration but the dealership still hadn’t sent him the new car’s license plate or title.
A dealer’s legal troubles ramp up
Hyundai corporate headquarters issued a statement expressing its concern and understanding, reassuring its customers that it was doing everything it could. Capital One bank filed a lawsuit against the dealership but did not say whether it would help restore credit ratings damaged by the dealership’s practices.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has opened an investigation into Fenton Hyundai. The dealership’s problems resulted in a lawsuit that turned out to be only the first of many suits rapidly overtaking a larger franchise that once included 20 stores in five states.
Currently, Fenton Hyundai appears to be in business and seeing new customers.