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26th of May 2018


Title violations for Michigan Chevy dealership lead to suspension, then stay

UPDATED: 5/14/18 3:10 pm ET - adds lawyer's response

A Michigan dealership was granted an emergency stay to continue buying, selling and trading vehicles despite a 15-day suspension it received last week based on customer complaints and numerous title-processing violations.

Patsy Lou Chevrolet, in Flint Township, Mich., operated by Patsy Lou Williamson and Ted Merrill Gans, was suspended from selling vehicles until May 25 due to violations in providing vehicle titles to buyers, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said.

But on Friday, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey Neithercut ordered the secretary of state to allow the dealership to continue business until its appeal of the suspension can be heard.

No title after 2 months

The Department of State's statement on Friday detailed a series of complaints received by customers against the dealership. In the most recent complaint, made in December 2016, a customer said she hadn't received a title for her vehicle. An investigation found the buyer had not received the title after two months, and the paperwork submitted by the dealership after the sale "contained false information," the statement said.

The buyer was given a dealer plate in the interim as she was unable to provide a title and registration to get a license plate. Dealerships are to use dealer plates only for business purposes, the statement said.

"Despite multiple attempts to address the dealership's violations without a suspension, the owner and the department were unable to reach an agreement, and Department of State staff then was forced to seek this penalty," Johnson said in a statement Friday. "Our duty is to protect consumers by holding dealers accountable for their actions. State law applies equally to all auto dealers, whether they're small used-car lots or large new-vehicle dealerships. No dealer is above the law."


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