Rutledge Files Lawsuit Against Vancurens Auto Sales
December 17, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a consumer-protection lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against northwest Arkansas-based Vancurens Auto Sales LLC, Infinity Auto Sales Inc., Infinity Towing and Recovery Inc., John Michael Vancuren, Michelle Nicole Vancuren and their officers and owners.
Those named in the lawsuit are accused of multiple violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. By acting in concert with one another, the defendants deceived Arkansans into taking out multiple third-party loans to purchase used vehicles, failed to apply the proceeds of returned vehicles to outstanding loan principals, towed and repossessed vehicles by using high-pressure tactics and commonly failed to deliver the titles of sold vehicles to consumers.
“The Vancurens are swindling consumers by accepting vehicles on trade while not paying prior lienholders,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These types of deceitful actions by an Arkansas business, which harms customers and the overall business community, cannot stand.
According to the complaint, the Vancurens typically submit a customer’s loan application to a third-party lender, and, if approved, the lender deposits the loan into the bank accounts of the Vancurens, leaving them with a lump sum of the loan proceeds and the borrower with the obligation to repay the lender. However, in many cases, the customer has returned the purchased vehicle due to mechanical issues, but the Vancurens fail to return the loan proceeds, which leaves the customer with a debt to pay and no vehicle. In other situations, the Vancurens convince the consumer to purchase another vehicle with financing from a different third-party lender, but again the Vancurens fail to refund the original loan proceeds so the consumer is left with two loans on two different vehicles but only have one vehicle.
Twelve consumer complaints have been received at the Attorney General’s office in response to the negative business practices of the Vancurens. One Arkansan described a June 2013 purchase of a Ford truck for which his sister co-signed. The consumer returned the truck to the lot six weeks after purchase because of mechanical issues. John Vancuren promised the consumer that his loan with Westlake had been paid off. Three years later however, the consumer’s sister learned through a separate credit application that her credit report showed 24 months of late payments to Westlake for the aforementioned truck. The Vancurens’ failure to pay off the transaction as promised has resulted in a ruined credit history for the consumer and his sister who has been unable to purchase a new car for her growing family.
A Spanish-speaking consumer purchased a Honda Civic from the Vancurens in August 2013. In September 2014, John Vancuren arranged to meet the consumer and her son, who spoke some English, at the dealership. Knowing that the consumer was not fluent in English, Vancuren took the consumer’s son inside and slipped out the back door to present the Spanish-speaking consumer with a document stating she “returned the car to the dealer instead of paying the balance on the car.” He told her if she would sign it, he would give her a $5,900 check for the equity in the car. The check never arrived, and the consumer was left without a car.
Rutledge is asking the court to impose civil penalties, restitution, attorneys’ fees, costs and other relief against these individuals and companies.
Victims of these business practices should contact the Attorney General’s office to file a consumer complaint at (800) 482-8982 or go to ArkansasAG.gov.