The state on Thursday filed suit against four former auto dealers who were accused of failing to deliver vehicle titles to customers and other deceptive acts.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he is seeking restitution and title delivery for affected customers, in addition to investigative costs and civil penalties.
Three of the dealers were located in the Indianapolis area and one was based in Fort Wayne.
— Southport Motors (Indianapolis) is accused of failing to deliver 21 titles to customers and failing to pay off the remaining loan balance on one customer’s trade-in vehicle in the amount of $16,500.
— US Fleet Liquidators LLC (Indianapolis) is accused of failure to deliver titles to seven customers.
— Prestige Auto (Fortville) is accused of failing to deliver titles to at least 10 customers and failing to provide a purchased warranty to one customer. The suit says Prestige also agreed to pay off remaining loan amounts on three trade-in vehicles, which it never did, resulting in the consumers' facing repayment on loans of $23,800 and $3,500 after purchasing their new vehicles.
—AnyCredit Auto Superstore Inc. (Fort Wayne) is accused of failure to deliver titles to at least 10 customers, misrepresenting the price of a vehicle and failure to perform promised repairs on a vehicle.
Zoeller said his priority is to secure the titles as quickly as possible.
“The 48 Hoosiers impacted in these cases spent thousands of dollars on cars which they now can’t prove they own,” Zoeller said in a written statement. “This can be a common problem, especially when used auto dealers go out of business. Our office is able to step in to help these customers get what they purchased.”
Under state law, car dealers and individuals are required to deliver the title to the purchaser within 21 days of the date of the sale.
The AG's office said it receives more auto sales complaints each year than any other retail category, with 1,340 such complaints filed in 2015.
Last year, the office took legal action against 13 auto dealers in Indiana for deceptive practices and secured more than $1.1 million in consumer restitution, the office said.