GREER, S.C. (WSPA) – The sudden closure of a car dealership has left some buyers frustrated and wondering if they will even get to keep their cars.
On Friday, Feb. 24, American Car Center, a subprime auto lender with dealerships in 10 states, abruptly closed all of its dealerships, including one in Greer.
Buyers who spoke to 7NEWS said they were not notified of the closure, and some didn’t know anything had happened at all until they went online to pay their bill.
“It’s just very frustrating because I have no idea what is going on,” said LaToya Fields, who purchased a car – or thought she did – from American Car Center in 2019. “We do not know how to pay the bill, if they are coming to take the car. We are just so out of the loop.”
When signing for the car, Fields said she was told she would have it paid off in three years. Since the closing of American Car Center, Fields said she discovered she actually agreed to lease the vehicle, with an option to buy at the end of the lease period.
“I was told it would be paid off in three years, but it ended up being closer to four,” she said. “But now I don’t know if I’ll even be able to buy it at the end of the lease. I’ve put the money into it; I want my title and I don’t know who even has my title or how to get my title.”
A few days after closing, American Car Center posted a message on its website saying customers could continue paying for their cars directly to American Financial, however customers would not be able to pay through a live representative.
On Wednesday, the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission released a memo stating all of the loans issued by American Car Center were purchased by Westlake Financial Services.
Until the company completes its process of taking over the dealerships’ books, some customers are left in limbo.
“I’ve tried going through email, I’ve tried paying through the portal and I have nothing, ” said Terrance Wofford, who purchased his car from American Car Center in Greer in 2019.
With only three payments left on his car, Wofford said he needs answers from someone about the status of his loan.
“I called [American Financial] and the phone just rings and no one answers. I called [Westlake Financial Services] and they said they don’t have my car on file. It doesn’t seem like it exists.”
Fields said she is in a similar bind.
“They told me to check back with them next week. My payment is due tomorrow,” she said.