Finance Company sues Missouri Consumer, instead of the dealer who committed fraud.
A Missouri customer purchases a vehicle from a dealer but the dealer does not provide the title. Under Missouri state law, the sale is void and no money is due but few consumers know this. Without the title, the customer cannot register the car and cannot legally drive it. He tries and tries to get the title from the dealer to no avail. The dealer is later charged with multiple felonies for defrauding his customers. The company that financed the deal tells the customer he must pay even though he has no title, a clear misrepresentation. Under pressure, the customer continues to make payments. He drives the car as little as possible but cannot afford to pay for it and buy a new one. When he must drive, he takes backroads, must find off-street parking, and constantly looks in the rear-view mirror, afraid he will be pulled over and his car will be impounded. Finally, he gives the car back to the finance company. The finance company, knowing that the dealer has defrauded the customer, sues the customer – not the dealer – for money the customer does not owe on a car he never even owned. The customer is forced to hire an attorney to defend this lawsuit, to recoup his money and fix any false reporting.
After hiring a Missouri Consumer Attorney, a case is filed using the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
SB 5 would leave this consumer unable to hold the companies responsible.