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State Regulators Open Case On Used Car Dealer

State Regulators Open Case On Used Car Dealer

By Jennifer Kraus. CREATED Sep 10, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Back in July, NewsChannel 5 Investigates first took a look how one Nashville used car lot was selling cars.

Now, we have discovered that this same lot may have broken the law when it sold a rebuilt car. And that has prompted state regulators to take their own look at how U.S. Auto of Nashville does business.

In late June, U.S. Auto of Nashville sold a 2007 Toyota Camry to a young college student, never telling him, he said, what we discovered about the car -- that it had been in a serious wreck and sold at auction as a salvaged vehicle.

But now NewsChannel 5 Investigates has discovered that car never should have been sold to Delyar Abed at all.

"If it has a salvage title, it actually cannot be legally driven on the street," said Tony Glandorf, attorney for the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission.

And what we uncovered about what U.S. Auto did after it sold the car has now caught the attention of state regulators with both the Department of Revenue and the state Motor Vehicle Commission.

Glandorf explained, "Yes, we will actually pursue a motor vehicle dealer that has done this."

It turns out that, after U.S. Auto of Nashville bought the wrecked Camry and then fixed it up or rebuilt it to sell it, the dealer was supposed to get a new title for the car from the state.

But NewsChannel 5 Investigates found U.S. Auto never got that rebuilt title before selling the car. 

In fact, we found U.S. Auto didn't even apply for the new title until after we went to the lot and started asking about the car. 

In order to get a rebuilt title, state inspectors first have to check out the vehicle and they will then put a special decal in the driver's door jam that says the car has been rebuilt so that anyone who's thinking about buying it knows the car has been in a serious wreck. 

But we discovered state inspectors went to U.S. Auto on three separate occasions to check out the Camry, which of course had already been sold. According to state reports we obtained, the inspectors were repeatedly told the car was "not available."

And the state confirms they were never told the car had been sold and someone was out there driving it. 

The Motor Vehicle Commission's Glandorf told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, "And this would be considered fraud against the state if they're lying to the state."

When we first tried to talk with managers at U.S. Auto, they had no interest in talking.

And now that we have new questions, repeated calls and emails to the business's attorney have gone unanswered.

But the state confirms that because of how U.S. Auto handled the sale of this car, the business could now face possible disciplinary action and its license either be suspended or even revoked.

The owner of US Auto of Nashville has maintained that he had applied for a new title several months ago and that he had told inspectors that the car had been sold when they came to the lot looking for the car.

But the state insisted neither is true.

The young man who bought the car insisted that he was never told the car had been in a serious wreck.

But we found his sales contract does include in the fine print wording that says the vehicle "has been wrecked before and may have had frame damage and/or a branded title."

The state Motor Vehicle Commission said that's why it's so important to make sure you read the entire contract before you buy a vehicle.

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Jennifer Kraus

Jennifer Kraus

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Jennifer Kraus is NewsChannel 5's Weekend Morning Anchor and a member of NewsChannel 5's award-winning Investigative Team.