BECKLEY –A woman is suing John Howerton Honda after she claims it committed fraud and violated West Virginia code when it used illegal practices in the sale of a vehicle.
Santander Consumer USA Inc. was also named as a defendant in the suit.
On Nov. 25, 2015, with the encouraging of James and Chera Cantley, Dillie Pettry called an employee known as James at Howerton and discussed trading in her 2011 Chevrolet Malibu for another vehicle, according to an amended complaint filed in Raleigh Circuit Court.
Pettry claims James took information for a credit application over the phone and then called her back to tell her she was approved for a loan, so she traveled to the dealership.
While at Howerton, Pettry dealt with James and another employee known as Tyrone, according to the suit. After being at the dealership for more than three hours, she left the lot, but was encouraged to return to complete the deal. When she returned, it took another 45 minutes to conclude the paperwork.
Pettry claims she informed the defendants multiple times that her actual income was only $8.05 per hour for 21 hours per week for a monthly income of $732.55, which an additional $850 per month from Social Security.
The plaintiff had previously been told by another car lot in the Beckley area that her income was not adequate to obtain financing for a vehicle purchase, according to the suit.
Pettry claims she expressed interest in trading in her vehicle for a Nissan Altima that had approximately 20,000 miles on it.
The defendant presented Pettry with documents to sign to close the transaction and she noticed that the payment was $540.55 per month, which she complained about and said she could not afford, according to the suit.
Pettry claims she informed the defendants she could only afford $320 per month and was told to ignore the $540.55 figure since the vehicle would be refinanced in three months.
Howerton also refused to accept Pettry’s Chevrolet Malibu as trade, but never suggested any other trade was contemplated and, as she was walking to the vehicle she thought she had purchased, the Howerton employee lead her to a 2015 Nissan Altima that had 40,000 miles on it and told her she had just purchased that vehicle instead of the one with 20,000 miles.
Pettry claims after missing the first payment, she communicated to SCUSA and told its representative she simply could not afford a monthly payment of $540.55 and SCUSA’s agent replied that in light of her stated income of $5,000, she should have no problem with the payment.
The plaintiff advised SCUSA’s agent that her net income was only $169.05 per week, plus her monthly Social Security, according to the suit. Thereafter, she inspected her purchase documents and learned that Howerton had falsely indicated the trade-in of a 1999 Nissan Maxima, which she had never owned and which was a sham and a complete misrepresentation by Howerton.
On April 5, seeing no alternative, Pettry voluntarily surrendered the 2015 Nissan Altima, which caused her to suffer annoyance, aggravation and stress, according to the suit.
Pettry claims Howerton’s sales tactics were unconscionable and were unfair practice, which violated West Virginia code.
The defendants’ actions constitute fraud, according to the suit.
Pettry is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Paul W. Roop of Roop Law Office.
The defendants were previously named in a similar lawsuit filed by James and Chera Cantley, who had purchased a Nissan Maxima and were told the $639.09 monthly bill would be closer to $300 once the payment was refinanced after three months.
The Cantleys income was also inflated on the loan application and they were not able to pay the monthly bill. They also had to surrender the vehicle the SCUSA, seeing no allernative.
Raleigh Circuit Court case number: 16-C-743