7 On Your Side: New Jersey woman getting billed for car she doesn't own

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Nina Pineda reports on one New Jersey woman who ran into big-time trade-in troubles.

One New Jersey woman ran into big-time trade-in troubles.

It all started when the single mom gave her dealership the keys to her old car. But months after she drove off the lot with new wheels, she got blind-sided by a big bill for a car she no longer owned.

"I am just crying and upset and don't know what to do," said Cherita Hall, who has had $18,000 debt hanging over her head for months.
"He told me specifically they would take my car and pay it off in 10 days," recalls Hall.

That was back in September when she traded in her 2015 Hyundai Sonata sedan for a brand new Tuscon.

The dealer where she bought the car, DCN Hyundai of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, agreed in writing to pay off the old car's loan balance.

"Someone down there says it takes 30 days, (to send the check out). Ok now we're going into 40 days," says Hall. "The more I call them, the more they don't answer."

In the meantime, Cherita's getting billed for both vehicles. She also cannot afford what's happening to her credit score.

She checked all three reporting agencies that had a delinquent car payment. As a result, her credit score's tanking.

"I'm trying to clear up my credit, I got two kids, I'm a single parent," laments Cherita. "And they didn't pay my car note."

Cherita says desperate calls to DCN Hyundai got no results. "I called that place six times. One person answered and took my call," she said.

Then Cherita says the dealership rep hung up. We did notice Cherita's old car still listed for sale on DCN's website. So we asked the Monmouth Junction dealer what was holding up her loan payoff.

"It took me how many weeks. Channel 7 News called (and) the next day the next morning, they paid off the loan," said Cherita. "Before I even got up and brushed my teeth, I got a text with the FedEx number."

The same day we contacted the dealer, a check went out to Cherita's finance company for the full payoff amount, $18,833.12.

Plus after our visit to the dealer, it cleared up her credit score, requesting the delinquency to be removed from Cherita's credit report. The dealership blamed the late payment on their pay-off check getting lost.

Some big takeaways - before trading in a car call your finance company and get the exact pay-off amount, which is what you still owe on your car loan. This number changes, day to day.

Then make sure the dealer agrees to pay off that amount in writing. Be sure to get a signed copy of that agreement.

And a few weeks after the deal is done, call your prior finance company to make sure the dealership paid your loan off. That way you can get in front of a problem and won't be blindsided by a late bill.

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