The Better Business Bureau issued an alert for consumers regarding car dealership Riverside Chevrolet on Philips Highway.
The alert comes after 26 complaints and counting in twelve months dealing with financing issues, problems adhering to contractual agreements, refund fails and difficulty obtaining proper registration on used vehicles due to outstanding liens.
Of those complaints, the BBB found 15 allege that Riverside Chevrolet did not pay off trade-in vehicles which affected the credit of those who traded in the vehicles.
Bert Buckman of Jacksonville said he purchased a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado in March and traded in his 2015 vehicle with the agreement Riverside Chevrolet and the new financing company would pay off his remaining balance. In April and May he said his old finance company still called him to make his monthly payment.
"If I'm paying them both, I'm paying over $1,500 a month," Buckman said. "I can't pay for two trucks."
Buckman said he had had difficulty reaching a Riverside Chevrolet staff member who could explain why the payoff has not been made.
"I can't warn anyone, there's no way not to get into this situation, [the dealership] has to do the right thing," he said. "It's the last thing you think about."
Buckman and others who complained to the BBB expressed concerns the missed payments will negatively affect their credit.
One unanswered complaint to the BBB states:
“I traded my car in at the beginning of December. My car was financed through ***** company. It is a week from February and my car still isn't paid off. My husband and I have receive late payment hits on our credit. We are trying to purchase a house through my VA and that is how when found out it wasn't paid. We have new late fees and interest now. We have called several times and was told they cut the check and still no check. I missed work yesterday and again today and sat up here waiting for someone to talk to me. Today they gave me a unsigned copy of a check when I ask for a copy of the signed one they said they mailed it the day before when clearly the date of the check was today. I was pulled over to the side by an employee and told it wasn't. Now they are saying its going out tonight.”
The BBB stated that it was forced to close 11 of the complaints as unanswered after attempts to reach the business went unanswered.
First Coast News reached out to Riverside Chevrolet on Monday in person and by phone, leaving messages for operations manager Dwayne Ferguson or any supervisor to address the complaints. No representative from Riverside responded on Monday.
In the release, the BBB states that most people planning to trade-in their cars had positive experiences trusting the auto dealer to pay off the loan for their trade-ins, however, it warns that if the dealer does not that the lender will hold the consumer responsible.
Shannon Nelson with BBB Northeast Florida recommends contacting the lien holder within 30 days of the purchase to make sure payoff for any trade-in vehicle has been received.
Nelson also recommends checking your credit report after purchasing a vehicle to ensure all outstanding payments and fees have been cleared. Consumers that notice this issue on their report can contact the credit reporting agencies and the original lending institution with this information to advocate for the removal of the late payments or negative reporting that occurred.
According to the BBB, Riverside Chevrolet has provided some customers with a letter that states its failure to pay off the consumer trade-in as agreed upon. Thee BBB says in addition to filing a complaint with their office, dealership complaints can be filed with both the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.