Financing fiasco - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: George Metaxas, 2/19/04, 5:29 p.m.

Financing fiasco

Some Mid-Southerners say a car dealer ripped them off, then took off. Target 5 spoke to several customers who say Select Auto Sales took them for a ride, pocketing their car payments.

When Toya Irby bought her 2000 Ford Focus back in November from Select Auto Sales, she thought she got a pretty good deal, a short-term note with a 380-dollar monthly payment. Irby made four payments, each on time, and she has receipts to prove it. This is why a letter from her finance company, Credit Acceptance, saying she owed them money, caught her off guard. Irby said, "I was more upset, furious, wanting to know what's going on." Turns out Irby made her car payments in cash at Select Auto Sales, with the promise the money would be forwarded to Credit Acceptance, a promise our Target 5 investigation found the dealer didn't always keep.

Michael Hunt and his girlfriend Debra O'Baner say they got ripped off too. Credit Acceptance repossessed their car in January because the company's records showed they hadn't paid their note in months. Hunt said, "The creditors called the house in January and said we was behind November, December, and they hadn't received a payment since October, and I said that's not true."

Target 5 went to Select Auto Sales looking for answers, but found the lot empty, the office abandoned and the gates locked. We tried to get in touch with the owner, Bill Reed, by phone, by FedEx, and in person at his home on several occasions, but got no response. Eventually, we got a short letter from Reed's attorney saying, "Due to external financial problems, the officers of Select Auto Sales, Inc., have elected to place the company under bankruptcy protection." This doesn't help people like Michael Hunt, who has an empty parking spot in front of his apartment. "Now I've got a repossession on my credit that's not my fault." Thanks to a dealership he says ripped him off before it took off.

Turns out there are more victims. A lot more. Coming up tonight at 10, find just how widespread the Financing Fiasco really is. And, hear from two former Select Auto Sales employees who eventually turned their bosses in.

If you have a story you want our Target 5 team to investigate, send us an E-mail, or call our Target 5 hotline. That number is 722-7842.

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