Traded-in car can come back to haunt if dealer does not follow law

How can a car she doesn't own hurt her credit?

TAMPA - Car fever led Ruby Thomas to buy the grey Mercedes last July.  Part of the deal included she trade a green Porsche to the Tarpon Springs car dealer.

State law says "a motor vehicle dealer acquiring ownership of a motor vehicle with an outstanding purchase money lien, shall pay and satisfy the outstanding lien within 10 working days."  But that's not what happened in Ruby's case.

In September, the bank sent Ruby a late payment notice regarding the loan on the car she'd traded in two months before.

Thomas claims she called the car dealer repeatedly and was told over and over the car had been paid off and it was all taken care of, but it wasn't.  By December, Thomas's credit had taken a hit and she says the bank was still hounding her for payment.

After looking over her paperwork, I contacted Exotic Motorcars in Tarpon Springs.  In a statement, owner Dee Nasr explained. "Over the course of the last year we have experienced change in management as well as growth. Unfortunately as is human nature, mistakes have happened. However, once it was brought to my attention, I handled the situation swiftly....."

Ruby Thomas says the bank received payment in full one day after our phone call.  The dealer claims they sent the check before we contacted them.  They also insist they have implemented changes in the way they do business so that this does not happen again.

For anyone else dealing with a similar issue, the DMV will investigate lien issues, as they regulate car dealers.

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