Angry customers confront closed auto dealer

September 25, 2008 4:33:43 PM PDT
Customers are learning just what the closure of Landmark Chevrolet means to them, and the news is not good.How would you like two car payments when you actually have only one car? Or what about not being able to get a license plate? That's what dozens of recent Landmark Chevrolet customers are dealing with since the company went out of business.

We found plenty of angry customers at Landmark Chevrolet Thursday morning, including Magna Miller, whose recently traded-in car has not been paid off by Landmark Chevrolet.

She said, "Mine was on August 16th and they still have not paid it off."

Dorail Crayton traded in a car last month that still has not been paid off.

"Never got paid off," he said. "I did this deal August 19th. August 19th and it never got traded off."

Joann Bautista's trade in is still in her name, too.

"Last week I got a phone call from the finance company that financed my trade in and they said that my car had not been paid off. When was I going to make a payment? The loan was delinquent," she explained.

These customers are getting calls from their old finance companies wanting a payment; meanwhile they are also paying for the new cars they bought from Landmark. They want answers, but answers are hard to come by.

Don Fuller with Landmark Chevrolet said,"Sir, I don't want the camera in here."

Fuller told us off camera the company will be in bankruptcy by the weekend. He can't tell anyone why trade-ins were not paid off, but one legal expert told us consumers should continue making both payments if possible and should explain the situation to the old finance company.

Meanwhile customers tell us they are not being given license plates that they paid for when they bought their new cars from Landmark. Bautista is on her second set of temporary plates.

She said, "When I purchased the vehicle, the tax, title and license was included in that so I am paying for that. I've already paid for that."

We asked Harris County Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt about the problem. He says car buyers without permanent plates have to go to a title hearing to get them.

"Don't be afraid of the hearing," Bettencourt advised. "It's a very informal situation. We just need to see all of their documents so that we can help get them their plates and their titles and their registration."

To set up a license plate and title hearing, you need to call the tax assessor's office. If you live in Harris County, they have a special number set up --713-368-2446. If you do not live in Harris County, call the tax assessor's office in the county where you live, and ask for a license plate and title hearing.

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