Thinking of buying a used car? Here’s what you should know

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — In this pandemic, the used car market is booming – fueled by consumers hoping to save money and avoid public transportation.

But not all of these dealerships are aboveboard.

CBS 17 started digging into the matter a few months back after viewers reached out with concerns.

“He’s doing dirty business,” Anthony Wallace said.

CBS 17 first introduced you to Wallace back in July.

“Something really needs to happen,” he said.

He reached out to CBS 17 after seeing one of CBS 17’s stories about Frank Masika and Auto Connect, a now-defunct used car dealership in Raleigh.

Wallace said he bought a car from that dealership and showed us the Bill of Sale. But he said he never received the tags.

In the end, he was able to get some of his money back. He said he’s still out about $2,500.

Masika has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged.

Wallace said he’s called the DMV and Better Business Bureau several times.

“The system seems like it don’t want to do nothing about it,” Wallace said.

The DMV License and Theft Bureau said they’ve pulled Auto Connect’s license but their investigation is ongoing.

They declined CBS 17’s repeated requests for an interview.

In response to CBS 17’s questions, they said it’s not the number of complaints, but the type and severity of the violation that would cause a dealer’s license to be revoked.

List of revoked dealer licenses in North Carolina

“We want to have reputable people in the industry of selling cars, whether they’re new or used. For many people it’s one of the biggest purchases they’ll ever make,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said.

Stein’s office handles the consumer end of things.

He said his office has received more than 600 complaints against car dealerships this year alone.

And 410 of them are against used car dealerships.

“Most of the complaints have to do with the car whether it actually worked after the person bought it,” Stein said.

The attorney general urged drivers to test drive the vehicle, have a professional mechanic inspect it, research the VIN number and read the fine print of the contract.

That contract will ultimately determine the kind of recourse you have.

“A lot of it has to do with what representations the dealer made. If the dealer says something or promises something that’s not true than the buyer may have some recourse,” Stein said.

Wallace said he plans to file a lawsuit against Masika and Auto Connect.

“I’m going to let the court system do it… I regret the fact that I went to him, I got to constantly keep dealing with this situation,” Wallace said.

If you believe you may have been ripped off by a car dealership, you can reach out to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

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