Press Release - 03-06-2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 6, 2017
NEW YORK STATE DMV INTERVENES TO PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM LONG ISLAND USED CAR DEALER SCHEME
48 Customers Purchased Vehicles from Valley Stream-Based “1-800 Preowned” but Never Received Proper Titles
DMV Worked to Secure Proper Titles and Restitution, Seeks a Revocation of the Company’s Business Registration
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles today announced a consumer protection action on behalf of 48 customers who were taken advantage of by a Long Island used car dealer. In complaints submitted to DMV’s Division of Vehicle Safety, many consumers said they had purchased used cars from Valley Stream-based “1-800 Preowned” but unknowingly never received proper titles for the vehicles. Since receiving the complaints, DMV has secured proper titles for 48 consumers with additional cases pending. Although the business has closed, DMV will seek a formal revocation of the facility’s business registration. This will create a permanent record of the violations committed, which will be taken under consideration if any of the involved individuals apply to open another automotive business with DMV.
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said: “DMV expects dealers to treat their customers honestly and fairly, and consumers expect the same. This dealer misled its customers by selling vehicles it could not deliver titles for, leaving customers stuck with cars they could not properly register and without the funds to purchase another.”
DMV’s Division of Vehicle Safety was able to assist all 48 customers with obtaining clear titles from either “1-800 Preowned” or from the floor plan companies that provided short-term loans to “1-800 Preowned” to purchase inventory. In most cases, the dealer did not provide titles even though customers paid an additional $75 fee. All of these customers risked having their vehicles impounded by law enforcement, plus towing and storage fees, because their registrations and titles were never issued to them. These owners were also facing possible insurance lapse violations that could have resulted in fines and the potential suspension of their driver license.
For two consumers, “1-800 Preowned” used the same vehicle to scam each one separately. “1-800 Preowned” failed to pay off an outstanding loan on the first customer’s trade-in vehicle, and then sold that same vehicle to a second consumer who was unaware that a lien against this vehicle remained outstanding. These complaints will be recommended for hearings before a DMV Administrative Law Judge, seeking restitution of about $45,000 for both the unpaid lien for the first customer and the total purchase price for the second customer.
The dealer has been cooperative and has spent $6,000 for registration fees. The total amount of restitution recommended in hearings is about $65,000 to date. There is still potential for additional complaints against this facility. If you believe you have been a victim of 1-800 Preowned, or any other DMV-regulated business, you can call Vehicle Safety at (518) 474-8943, any weekday except state holidays from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. More information is available on the DMV website.
DMV’s Division of Vehicle Safety regulates about 11,000 automotive dealer businesses. It receives more than 6,000 consumer complaints each year, about half of which are resolved through mediation. Most complaints are related to the condition of the vehicle or the dealer’s failure to file a registration and title in a timely manner.
To find out whether a dealer, repair shop, or inspection station is properly registered with DMV, check DMV’s online Registered Business Lookup. Information on dealers and other automotive businesses is also available from the Better Business Bureau. Consumer complaints can also be submitted to the Consumer Frauds Bureau of the NYS Office of the Attorney General. For more information on consumers’ rights when purchasing a vehicle from a dealer, read the brochure “Let the Buyer Be Aware.” For more information on DMV’s complaint process, read “A Guide for Consumers.”