FOX 4 News investigates North Texas dealership

Calls and emails have been pouring in with viewers asking for help after they said a local car dealership left them in the lurch. Consumer reporter Steve Noviello is On Your Side with details.

He has gotten two primary sets of complaints. Some viewers said they can’t get a title or tags for their car. Another group complained their trade was never paid off.

Now he’s connecting the dots via VIN numbers to look at a real roadblock for consumers.

Larry Webb thought he got a real deal on two pre-owned Hyundai’s from Fenton Hyundai in Mesquite. Turns out, he got a real headache instead.

“They hung me out to dry with two vehicles,” Webb said.

He paid cash for both vehicles but now four months later he can’t get the dealership to hand over the title or tags for either.

“They said they were going through a transition, some owner was coming in and they didn't have the money to go pay for the title or the tags. Well, that shocked me because I paid cash,” he said.

Webb is just one of more than 100 open customer complaints to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles about Fenton Hyundai.

And while each complaint tells a similar story, it seems at least one is directly related to Webb’s silver 2016 Genesis.

The VIN number confirms it’s the same car that was traded in by Carl Barnes, who also bought a Hyundai from Fenton and who also can’t get tags or a title. The Genesis he traded in that Webb bought was never paid off, which might explain why Webb can’t get a title.

In Texas, a dealer has 25 days to pay off a trade.

“It’s been five months. So I have five months of missed payments on my credit right now,” Barnes said.

FOX 4 confirmed with the lien holder, Capital One, that Barnes is still on the hook.

“My credit is shot! So I wouldn’t be able to buy anything right now. If I want to get a new credit card today I can’t get it because I’ve lost 112 points on my credit from December to current,” he said.

Not only wasn’t the car paid off but Capital One is suing Fenton Motors in three states.

“Someone should be stepping in here and taking care of the customer, getting the consumer out of the way and shutting that dealership down,” Barnes said.

FOX 4 tried to reach the management and owner at Fenton but was told no one was available to speak. FOX 4 never heard back.

Barnes tried too.

“I’ve been by seven times. I called at least seven times,” he said.

Finally, the dealership sent him a check statement. It called it a disbursement being sent to Capital One. But Capital One confirmed nothing ever came.

“I think somebody just doctored it,” Barnes said.

There’s no routing or account number on it.

“I feel like there is no way Hyundai corporate doesn't know that people are being tricked like this,” Barnes said.

A spokesperson for Hyundai said the company is aware of the independently owned dealership and its problems. Hyundai has also voiced concerns to the DMV’s enforcement section to assist in addressing the situation.

But Barnes said that’s little comfort.

“I'm driving a car that I can’t get a license plate for. I have another lien holder looking for a payment for a car I don't own anymore. And I don't know where the car is that I traded in,” he said.

It’s sitting in Webb’s driveway with no title, no tags and no clear word of who actually owns it, despite the cash he coughed up.

“It’s really got us in a negative position,” Webb said. “I took it out of my retirement savings.”

Consumer reporter Steve Noviello said while you should absolutely file a complaint to the state if you find yourself in the same situation, a better idea may be to call your bank.

If you can’t get the title, the bank has nothing to collect in case of default. They may advocate on your behalf.

If you’ve traded in your car to this dealership, check your credit to confirm it’s been paid off.

Capital One said it will no longer finance any car from any Fenton dealerships.

As for a resolution for Barnes, Capital One said it is working to find one. Steve Noviello will keep on it and follow up.

Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner
Texas Attorney General
Texas DMV