BECKLEY – A couple is suing John Howerton Honda after they claim it committed fraud when they attempted to purchase a vehicle.
Santander Consumer USA Inc. was also named as a defendant in the suit.
In November 2015, James Cantley and Chera Cantley received a flyer in the mail from Howerton inviting them to fill out a credit application online, which they did and, within a few days, a representative called them and told them they had been approved, according to an amended complaint filed in Raleigh Circuit Court.
The Cantleys claim on Nov. 24, 2015, they visited the dealership and they decided to purchase a 2014 Nissan Maxima.
The defendant’s employee, Tyrone, told the Cantleys that Howerton was running a special promotion with Santander and would be able to secure financing for the purchase of an automobile according to the suit.
The Cantleys claim unbeknownst to them, the special promotion involved the falsification of income information by Howerton, which was forwarded to Santander for the processing of the loan to purchase the Maxima.
The Cantleys were told the monthly payment would be $639.09 per month and they expressed doubt that they could make such a payment.
Tyrone assured the Cantleys that the first payment would not come due for two months and that they qualified for a $600 rebate, which could be used for the first payment, according to the suit. Tyrone also assured them that by the third payment, the payments could be refinanced to an amount closer to $300 per month, which the Cantleys believed they could afford.
The Cantleys claim when Tyrone asked if they had money for a down payment, they further advised him that they did not and Tyrone then told them that they needed to confirm to the bank that they had put down $1,300 for the Maxima.
The plaintiffs refused to lie to the bank, but Tyrone assured them there “was a way around that” without elaborating further, according to the suit.
The Cantleys claim when they received their first bill, they called Santander and asked about refinancing as they had been told by Howerton and Santander told James Cantley that they should be able to afford the vehicle since their income was $4,500 per month and should be adequate.
However, the income reported by Howerton was false, as the Cantleys combined income was approximately $1,555 per month, according to the suit.
The Cantleys claim they also learned from Santander that there was no opportunity to refinance after three months, like Howerton had told them.
In a subsequent review of the documents generated from their purchase of the Maxima, the Cantleys further noticed that Howerton had falsely indicated that the Cantleys traded in a 1995 Honda Accord and received a trade-in allowance of $1,300, which they did not, according to the suit.
The Cantleys claim seeing no alternative, they surrendered the vehicle to Santander and, when the repossession company arrived, it was the middle of the day in open sight of the Cantleys’ neighbors and landlord.
The defendants’ actions constitute fraud and unfair practices, according to the suit.
The Cantleys are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Paul W. Roop of Roop Law Office.
Raleigh Circuit Court case number: 16-C-744