LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — A Pulaski County circuit judge ruled Friday (Aug. 17) that a Northwest Arkansas used auto dealer violated state trade law nearly 60 times through unsavory business practices.
Judge Chris Piazza has found northwest Arkansas auto dealer John Vancuren, and his wife Michelle Vancuren, as well as their companies, Infinity Auto Sales, Inc., Infinity Towing and Recovery, Inc. and Vancurens Auto Sales, Inc. liable for 59 violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Piazza ordered the Vancurens and their companies liable for $590,000 in civil penalties, $73,001.71 in restitution, and he enjoined the Vancurens from engaging in the business of used car sales.
“I applaud Judge Piazza’s ruling on behalf of the brave men and women who testified and stood up to John and Michelle Vancuren in Court,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
“Used car dealers must deliver title according to the law. These types of deceitful actions by an Arkansas business, which harm consumers and the overall business community, must be met with strong consequences.”
The five-day bench trial had 26 witnesses testifying the Vancurens failed to deliver title to their cars, failed to satisfy prior liens on the vehicles and they otherwise failed to return money rightfully belonging to consumers.
According to the complaint filed December 2016, the Vancurens routinely submitted a customer’s loan application to a third-party lender, and, if approved, the lender deposited the loan into the Vancurens’ bank account, leaving them with a lump sum of the loan proceeds and the borrower with the obligation to repay the lender.
In several cases, however, the customer returned the purchased vehicle due to mechanical issues, and the Vancurens failed to return the loan proceeds, leaving the customer with a debt to pay and no vehicle.
In other cases, the Vancurens convinced the consumer to purchase another vehicle with financing from a different third-party lender, but the Vancurens failed to refund the original loan proceeds, leaving the consumer with two loans on two different vehicles, but only one vehicle in possession.
Arkansans can contag the attorney general’s office to file a consumer complaint by calling 800-482-8982 or by going online to ArkansasAG.gov.