Customers wait for auto dealer to pay his judgment

August 29, 2011 7:09:12 PM PDT
A San Ramon man is facing criminal charges in connection with his now-closed car dealership in Pittsburg and while he awaits trial, many of his former customers are waiting for refunds. It's a frustrating situation for them.

7 On Your Side has been following this story for more than a year now. Many who bought cars at this dealership say the vehicles were in disrepair and the registration was never transferred to their names. The good news is some of them have found ways to get their money back, but the bad news is: most are still waiting.

7 On Your Side caught up with Monty Slavens before a recent court appearance in Contra Costa County. The owner of Elite Auto in Pittsburg is a little camera shy. 7 On Your Side asked Monty, "When are you going to pay Shirley Jones on that small claims case?"

Shirley Jones took Elite Auto to small claims court after she bought a car from them, but said police towed the car after Elite failed to transfer it to her name. Elite still owes Jones the $5,000 judgment the court ordered it to pay in April 2010.

7 On Your Side asked Monty, "You got a judgment. When you going to pay the judgment? "

Slavens never answered our question.

Tameka Burse, from Pittsburg, had a similar problem with the registration of her car she brought from Elite. On top of that, she says the car broke down right after she drove off the lot.

Burse said in April, "I want justice to be served. I want my money back. I'm not asking for anything more or anything less."

Since then, she filed a claim with Elite's bond company, CNA Surety and won a $3,500 claim. Dealerships are required to post bonds to guarantee customers are protected from any problems with the contract.

"Oh, my gosh, it's a relief. It was a lot of work, but I'm glad it's over," said Burse recently.

Onesha Oliver also filed a claim with the bond company and won $3,500.

"It was shocking that they called me back or that they even responded to the letter of demand that I sent in," said Oliver.

Today Elite Auto is shut down and the parking lot is empty. We were there in February when cars were being driven off the lot.

Slavens' defense attorney, Brooke Harris, declined our request for an interview. A jury trial to 10 counts of failing to transfer the registration of vehicles is scheduled for Nov. 17, 2011.


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