7 On Your Side eases frustration over trade-in car loans in New Jersey

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Trade-in car loans have become a big problem during the COVID pandemic, but 7 On Your Side got to the bottom of it.

It's a huge consumer problem that just won't go away.

So-called "rollover loans," where you buy a new car and the dealership takes your old car and promises to pay off the loan.

Seven On Your Side succeeded in getting legislation up for a vote in New Jersey to help protect consumers.

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They continue to help victims get paid as they push this bill forward to become a law.

"It's been so frustrating, I want to scream and yell," Joe Longobardo said.

Another customer, Donald Herzog says it's horrible.

Strangers are directing the same anger at their dealership.

Last February, both bought new cars from Kia of Sussex.

The dealer took their old car keys and promised to pay off the remaining loans.

There was $13,000 left on Longobardo's pick-up payments, and $8,600 on Herzog's trade-in.

"I got every story except the dog ate my homework as to why my loan wasn't paid," Herzog said.

"They were supposed to pay off the loan, but never did," Carol Longobardo said.

To save their credit, they kept making payments on both cars.

The one they were driving, and the one they had turned in.

Coming up with an extra car payment monthly wasn't easy, especially during COVID.

Carol and Joe Lombardo's restaurant, a fourth generation family business, was on the edge.

When they went to the dealership for answers, the showrooms shuttered. A door sign from March said the dealership was closed due to COVID.

The so-called rollover loans are a customer headache so pervasive, protective legislation passed the NJ Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee in Trenton, unanimously after 7 On Your Side's series of stories involving numerous dealership debacles was entered as testimony.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty proposed legislation to help both dealers and consumers.

We succeeded in getting $200,000 in unpaid loans settled after parent car companies stepped in to make customers whole.

When we got in touch with the dealer, a representative apologized and explained the business was being sold.

Promising to satisfy our viewers, when the sale closed, half a year later, more than $21,000 in loans paid were off.

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