(RAVENNA, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced lawsuits against Keep It Moving Auto of Cleveland and Auto Finance/Auto Finance South of Columbus. The lawsuits charge the dealerships and their owners with multiple violations of Ohio’s consumer laws.
“In both of these cases, we found blatant violations of consumer financing laws,” Attorney General DeWine said. “The purchases were often one-sided, heavily favoring the dealer and lacking required disclosures.”
According to the Attorney General, “buy-here-pay-here” dealers are used motor vehicle dealers that offer consumers financing directly through the dealerships. Such dealerships often cater to lower-income consumers and charge high interest rates.
Keep It Moving Auto, Inc. is a used motor vehicle dealer with locations at 8941 Broadway Ave. in Cleveland and 8948 SR 14 in Streetsboro, Ohio.
After several consumers filed complaints against the business, the Attorney General’s office discovered numerous violations with the dealer, such as failing to notify consumers of payment due dates, failing to notify consumers of the total cost of credit, and including an acceleration clause for consumers who defaulted, meaning the total amount consumers owed would be due immediately without notice to consumers.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, charges Keep It Moving Auto, owner Ronnie Simmons Jr., and employee Chester Leonard with violations of Ohio’s Retail Installment Sales Act, Consumer Sales Practices Act, Odometer Rollback and Disclosure Act, and Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Law.
A second lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, charges Auto Finance LLC, Auto Finance South, and owners Donald G. O’Connell and Christopher Allison with multiple violations of Ohio’s Retail Installment Sales Act, Consumer Sales Practices Act, and Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Act.
In the last two years, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received more than 50 complaints against Auto Finance of 3178 Cleveland Ave. or Auto Finance South of 1414 Parsons Ave., both in Columbus. According to the Attorney General, the business failed to give consumers proper disclosures about their financing and failed to obtain certificates of title in the time required by law, among other violations.
In both lawsuits, the Attorney General seeks injunctive relief, civil penalties, and consumer restitution.
“Consumers need to understand their full financial obligations when buying from a buy-here-pay-here dealer,” DeWine said. “In some cases, consumers’ vehicles are repossessed within days or weeks of the purchase because the dealer didn’t clearly disclose when their payments were due.”
DeWine offers consumers the following tips:
- Get everything in writing. Take your time to read the contract
- When financing, ask about payment schedules. Make sure you understand when the payments are due and obtain a receipt each time you make a payment. Find out the total amount you will pay for the car if you finance.
- Make certain all parts of the contract are completed. Do not sign a contract that has blank spaces for finance or other terms.
- Research a dealership’s reputation. Check with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau before doing business with a dealership.
- Watch for “auto refinancing” scams. The Federal Trade Commission recently took action against businesses that made false promises to lower consumers’ auto loan payments. Ohioan should be wary of businesses that make such promises.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or by calling 800-282-0515.
Keep It Moving Auto, Inc. (PDF)
Auto Finance, LLC (PDF)
Lisa Peterson-Hackley -- 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller -- 614-466-3840