Rawls Law Office, PLLC
Public Roundtables: Protecting Consumers in the Sale and Leasing of Motor Vehicles, Project No. P104811
Recently I represented a military enlisted woman, Angela Roberts, who attempted to purchase an automobile for her returning disabled Iraq war veteren husband, Jack Roberts. The local dealership financed the transation through its own finance subsidiary/lender. Although the couple made their first payment timely and drove the auto for 44 days, the dealer wanted to force them to pay more so they threatened her security clerance if she did not return the vehicle. The dealerhsip then sold their automobile with no notice or UCC compliance and sued the couple for the deficiency balance. This lawsuit further threatened Ms. Roberts job, eventually resulting in her discharge from the Air Force. Once Rawls Law Office entered an appearance on behalf of the Roberts, the lender moved to stay the proceedings and to compel arbitration, even though they were the ones suing in District Court. Although the stay was denied, Ms. Roberts lost her automobile as well as her job. They were forced to move in with family. The experience is one example of how dealerships take advantage of our military, utilizing predatory lending and causing immense stress and even job loss. We eventually settled the lawsuit but my client was not adequaetly compensated for the losses they sustained. Dealerships need the oversite of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and arbitration clauses should not be binding unless both parties give informed consent.