California Hyundai Dealer Closes, Tows Customer Cars While on Lockdown
These are unprecedented times, for people and businesses alike. However, certain standards should still be upheld, such as dealerships not confiscating customer’s cars.
A Culver City Hyundai dealership is in hot water after it ordered almost a dozen customer cars towed while they were waiting to be serviced during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Olivia Vera is one customer who had an issue with the dealership. She dropped off her car in March to be looked at for engine trouble. The dealer then had the car towed away. The dealership cited it was simply running out of room. As if that wasn’t enough, the towing company held Vera responsible for the thousands of dollars in fees.
The LA Times reports that while Vera was in the process of getting things sorted out, she was told her car could be sold off this week if she didn’t show up at the storage yard with $6,000 cash (and cash only, of course).
Naturally, Vera was surprised and upset at the situation. Who expects to drop their car off for service and have to retrieve it from a tow yard?
Investigation shows that Hooman Nissani, co-owner of a string of Southern California car dealerships is the root of the problem. Just last year, Nissani was ordered last year to pay $2.4 million in back pay and penalties to settle California’s largest wage-theft case.
The LA Times was able to talk to a man who asked to remain anonymous but identified as the manager of the dealership. He told them fewer than five vehicles were towed from the lot and that the dealership repeatedly tried to contact the owners about the coronavirus closure. Vera says she was never contacted.
A spokesperson for Hyundai says the dealership closure had more to do with poor business and bad blood with Hyundai headquarters than the coronavirus pandemic. They also said that Hyundai is aware of the situation and will make everything right for those customers affected. The cars have been removed from the tow lot to a Hyundai dealership and will receive the work they initially needed. Customers who made any payments towards getting their cars released will also be fully reimbursed.
Hyundai has said it did nothing knowingly wrong and that this is a case of a franchisee who treated customers poorly and who used the pandemic to take advantage.