Dealer Fined For Selling Unsafe Rebuilt Car
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The owner of a Nashville used car lot has been ordered to pay three times what a young man paid for a car that turned out to be a rebuilt wreck.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates first discovered serious problems with the car and found that car lot employees never properly registered the car's title before selling it.
When the young man took his case to court, the judge took the car dealer to task.
Attorney Ryan Nevin represented Delyar Abed in his case against U.S. Auto of Nashville.
"He bought a car that wasn't right and he wanted his money back and got that, plus more," Nevin said.
We first met 18-year-old Abed this summer after he bought a 2007 Toyota Camry from the used car lot on Murfreesboro Road.
Abed, who recently moved to Nashville from Syria, explained, "I thought this a good car."
Abed told NewsChannel 5 Investigates then that U.S. Auto of Nashville had told him the car had been in a minor fender bender, not the major wreck that we discovered it had been in.
Even though the vehicle had been rebuilt, a professional inspection showed, the previously totaled car still had problems.
Tim Rains, a master technician at Beaman Toyota, said afterwards, "The vehicle we inspected today failed my inspection as a safe vehicle."
We also found U.S. Auto of Nashville never got a new title for Abed's car before they sold it to him which is against the law in Tennessee.
In fact, documents we uncovered showed U.S. Auto didn't apply for the new title until after we went to the car lot and started asking about the car.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked a man at the lot who would only identify himself as "Max," "You sold a car to a young man last week, a 2007 Toyota Camry. Can I ask you about what you knew about that car?"
"Max" replied, "Ma'am, if you not get outside from the lot right now, I call the police and he make trespassing for you."
Abed said after learning about the serious wreck his new car had been in, "I don't think like I'm safe in this car."
He tried returning the car to US Auto, but they wouldn't take it back. They also denied he'd given them a $3500 down payment. So he took US Auto of Nashville to court. And won.
His attorney Ryan Nevin said afterwards, "We both feel really good about it."
Abed's attorney said U.S. Auto insisted in court they had not done anything wrong.
However, the judge found that U.S. Auto had violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and awarded Abed everything allowed by law, three times what he'd paid for the car, as well as his attorney's fees, and court costs.
Nevin said Abed may use that money to buy another car, but has encouraged him to learn from this experience by reading the contract carefully before signing it and making sure that everything agreed upon is in writing.
And, Nevin also encouraged his client, "I've told him get it inspected before you buy."
Abed will not get to buy his new car with that money anytime soon. U.S. Auto of Nashville has appealed the judge's ruling. The case won't likely be heard at least until January.
As far as the state's investigation in this case, we are told the state Motor Vehicle Commission will hear it early next year. If the board finds U.S. Auto broke the law, it could be fined and its license suspended or even revoked.
U.S. Auto's attorney apparently argued during the civil case that U.S. Auto shouldn't face any more punishment because it had already been fined several hundred dollars by the state and had its license suspended in this case, but regulators tell NewsChannel 5 Investigates that's not true. Nothing has been determined yet on the state level against U.S. Auto.