Latest on Momentum Auto Group and advice for customers

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- In November, Momentum Auto Group abruptly closed its eight stores in Vallejo and Fairfield and consumers were left feeling stranded.

If you check on Facebook, at first glance it appears Momentum Auto Group might appear to be a going concern-- but in person, not so much.

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Momentum's Vallejo and Fairfield dealerships looked deserted. Cars were there and the place looks ready for business, but doors are locked.

This even though a Momentum news release dated Dec. 24 has Momentum Auto Group President Rahim Hassanally upbeat.

In that Christmas Eve release, the self-identified team behind Momentum Auto Group foresaw obstacles in the near future, conceded they are going through a transition with new management.

Hassanally is quoted in part, "We're confident, however, that Momentum Auto Group will be fully-functional and ready for a new, lucrative chapter by the end of the year."

The release says a new customer assistance center has been opened. No address is given. We left phone messages and sent emails, so far no contact.

At one of Momentum's Fairfield dealerships Mary Morgan pulled up in a pick-up truck, "Where the heck are they," she asks.

RELATED: Eighth auto dealership closed in Fairfield and Vallejo

Morgan says the truck she bought from Momentum's Fairfield Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership needs repair, which was very obvious. The car had trouble and needed a jump start when we were talking with her.

"I have been calling for two weeks," she tells me, "I figured it was because of the holidays maybe they took off."

We made a Public Records Act request. What we get back appears to throw some shade on Momentum's plan of quickly reopening.

Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen have all moved to strip Momentum of dealership agreements. Momentum responded by filing official protests. The state says it could take as long as a year for this to work its way through the system.

The California Bureau of Automotive Repair tells me cars that had been stranded in Momentum repair shops have been released. That apparently helped dozens of customers, still, there are others like Cecilia Jackson.

Jackson bought a car from Momentum and is now having trouble with registration.

"They did not register the car," she tells me, "I paid all the money, but they did not register the car."

RELATED: 7 auto dealerships close without explanation in Fairfield, Vallejo

There is help, potentially, for Jackson and others. A little known private organization-- The Consumer Motor Vehicle Recovery Corporation-- has a website that can help you. The California legislature created it to pay consumers who suffer losses when a dealership closes. This would seem like the exact kind of help consumers would need. We reached out to the CMVRC, but our interview request has been denied. Consumers can file complaints and ask for reimbursement by going to this website.

The DMV acknowledges complaints are being reviewed. The Attorney General's office won't "confirm or deny" there is an investigation.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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