Helping a woman pay off her trade-in

Seven On Your Side
February 5, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
A woman traded in her car because the dealership said it would pay off the money still owed on the trade-in.But months later, the trade-in was still not paid off. And when she couldn't get it straightened out on her own, she turned to Tappy Phillips and Seven On Her Side.

Last November, Lina Hernandez bought a brand new SUV. She traded in her old car, a little red Hyundai Elantra, at Brad Benson Hyundai.

Lina: "We signed the papers, and then I drove my brand new car that day."
Tappy: "And you assumed that the loan on the other car would be taken care of?"
Lina: "Yeah, because that's what they told me."

But the next month, Lina got a letter from her finance company.

"They said, well, the dealership didn't contact us, we have no documentation, we have nothing, so you better talk to them," Lina said.

So now the payments were late, the $13,000 loan was delinquent and the bank was threatening to repossess a car she no longer had. Calls and even visits to the dealership were getting her nowhere.

"I don't know what to do, I'm desperate," she said. "I just can't afford to have this on my credit and you know, it's not right."

So where was Lina's Hyundai? We found it on Brad Benson's Web site, up for sale. The dealership says it was never sold.

So we paid a visit to the dealership.

We were directed to a manager, who said he would talk if we turned the camera off. A few minutes later, he promised to take care of the matter right away. And then, Lina got a call from the bank.

The Brad Benson manager said a mistake had been made in their accounting office, and right after our visit, he wired money to Lina's loan company to pay off the debt.

The dealership could not explain why Lina was unable to get this resolved on her own.

But the manager did say he would write a letter that Lina can send to the credit reporting companies so that her credit score will not be affected.