WINFIELD – An Eleanor couple is suing over claims that an auto dealer and finance company failed to fully disclose terms of a loan and allegedly engaged in abusive debt collection efforts.
Connie and Timothy Moore filed a lawsuit Jan. 6 against Boone Motor Sales Inc., doing business as Stephens Auto Center, and Exeter Finance Corp. in Putnam County Circuit Court, alleging unconscionable inducement, illegal debt collection, failure to provide statement of account, misrepresentation in debt collection, and threats or coercion in debt collection.
According to the complaint, the Moores purchased a 2010 Ford Explorer from Boone Motor Sales in February 2014. The Moores needed financing to purchase the vehicle, and signed a retail installment sale contract for a cash price of $16,385.40 for the vehicle, with an annual rate of 20.65 percent and 72 monthly payments of $422.86, for a total payment of $30,445.92, the complaint states. Financing was offered through Exeter Finance Corp., according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendants did not provide sufficient disclosures to the agreement and directed them to sign the document. According to the suit, there was not enough time to read through the document, which listed Connie Moore as the primary borrower.
Connie Moore allegedly sent Exeter a request in July to change the payment due date to the 15th of the month to accommodate when she received her disability benefits. She alleges that Exeter approved the request but has yet to change the due date. In October, the plaintiffs allege they requested the account history from the company and stated that all future correspondence should be directed to their counsel. On Nov. 4, 2015, a representative for Exeter claimed that the vehicle would be repossessed should the plaintiffs file for bankruptcy, the complaint states.
The suit claims that the contract has unreasonable terms, including that the loan is structured in a way that it will be unlikely for the Moores to pay down the principal balance, given that the defendants knew that the plaintiffs had poor credit at the time the loan was made. The Moores also allege the contract has left them trapped in a loan they will never be able to repay, which makes repossession of the vehicle likely.
The plaintiffs request that a declaration be issued that the loan is unenforceable. They also seek damages and court costs. They are represented by Daniel Lattanzi of Pepper & Nason in Charleston.
Putnam Circuit Court Case number 16-C-1