Marine Corps Veteran and Golden Gloves boxing champ, sold scam warranty from dealership, then sued by debt buyer
Brian Cook is a Marine Corps veteran. He is a Golden Gloves boxing champ. Grew up in STL and has lived in Columbia for many years now. He is a pillar of the community. He teaches kids boxing and devotes time to youth in many, many ways.
On June 3, 2006, Brian had the misfortune of buying a 2000 Jeep Cherokee from Columbia Car Classics. The contract was then assigned to Fireside Bank, who financed the deal. Columbia Car Classics was a notorious outfit and the owner ultimately went to federal prison for fraud. Not the fraud it perpetuated against regular people but fraud against the banks that financed its inventory, which is typical for the government – more concerned with protecting banks than people.
Brian’s car was stolen and wrecked, totaled. Brian had his insurance, which paid for the market value of the Jeep, and he was also charged for GAP insurance, which was supposed to cover the difference. Well, in this cast of characters, Fireside Bank went out of business after receiving at least one insurance check on Brian’s wrecked car. But, just before closing its doors, Fireside sold its accounts to Cavalry Investments, a “debt buyer.”
Cavalry then sued Brian on August 10, 2012, claiming he owed $453.11 on the car. Brian decided to hire and attorney to fight back against Cavalry. The attorney fought to get basic deal documents and lo and behold, once he did, they found out Brian was charged $1,700 for a service contract company with a company called SafeData. In Brian’s deal, this added $1700 to a $13,000 deal at 12% APR.
Once the attorney got the service contract, he discovered that the fine print required consumers to write to the company and request a bottle of fluid. Then, have the company send the customer the bottle of fluid. Then, take the bottle of fluid to a mechanic. Then, have the mechanic “install” the fluid by pouring it into the engine. Then, obtain a receipt from the mechanic. Then, mail the receipt to the service contract company and have them acknowledge receipt of the receipt. Only then would the “benefits’ be “activated.”
Of course, no one did this because no one knew to do so. This scam was fairly prevalent in the early 2000s and it is known as an “additive contract.” The MO AG and Dept. of Insurance actually sued some companies who sold these bogus products but none of the consumers ever got relief. Brian was willing to step up and be a class representative for other Missourians who were charged for this bogus product. Judge Oxenhandler granted class cert on August 26, 2015 and after much additional litigation, the attorney were able to settle with Cavalry, returning $600 to each consumer who was charged for this b.s. and wiping out these purported “debts.” If SB 832 were law, Brian wouldn’t have been able to bring his claim under the MPA.