Imagine paying $6,000 up front for a car but then having it repossessed when you missed a loan payment by three days, and the dealership kept all the cash.
Todd Ulrich confronted the controversial dealer for results after an Orange County woman called Action 9 for help.
Latasha Taylor bought an SUV from Universal Auto Plaza. She owned the Jeep Commander just 34 days before it was repossessed a few days after the first loan payment was due.
“When they took it from me, they took money from my family,” said Taylor, who lost $6,000.
The dealer's contract shows Taylor made a $3,000 down payment, and her trade
-in was another $3,000.
Taylor claims she never got loan approval papers and went to Universal asking questions.
“I said, 'Kenan, where is my paperwork?' And he said, 'Didn’t the finance company send you anything?' I didn't get anything in the mail," said Taylor.
Taylor went to the Department of Motor Vehicles asking for help. The agency found the payment was $160 and she took the money order to Universal Auto the day it was due but was told, "You can't make the payment here. Your car is financed through Car Finance Plan,” said Taylor.
Payment was sent to a
postal box in Longwood, but before it got there the Jeep was repossessed.
Action 9 caught up with Universal Auto Plaza manager Kenan Moussly.
“Latasha Taylor, can you keep all her money?” asked Ulrich.
“First, that's not my name,” said Moussly.
“Sold her a Jeep Commander?” said Ulrich.
"You got to get off the property," Moussly said.
Moussly said Universal is not related to the loan company but state records show the main address for Car Finance Plan is 3701 West Colonial Drive, which is the identical address for Universal Auto Plaza, which refused to take Taylor's payment.
“Can you really keep all her money? How can you do that?” asked Ulrich.
Universal Auto Plaza is rated F at the Better Business Bureau for multiple complaints.
“They took everything. They took the trade-in. They took my money. They got the new car,” said Taylor.
The Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed it is investigating the dealership. And Universal Auto Plaza had been fined $4,000 for three other consumer complaints.