Story updated on March 13
Less than a week after this story posted, Undra Foster said his car was finally paid off.
Foster said he was contacted by Fortunes O’Neal, who met him at his bank in Arlington.
According to Foster, O’Neal walked into the bank and paid off roughly $8,000 on the remainder of his car loan.
Foster said O’Neal apologized for the ordeal, but O’Neal did not respond to calls or requests for comment.
Tanner Lontine said someone from 360 Smart Car contacted him about his trade-in following our story, but the issue has still not been resolved.
ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A used car dealership in Arlington is under investigation by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles after numerous customers filed complaints alleging the company never paid off their trade-in vehicles.
Customers said they thought they were trading in their old cars for newer ones at 360 Smart Car in Arlington. But they got stuck paying for both vehicles.
Undra Foster visited 360 Smart Car last December to buy a new SUV that could fit his family of seven.
“I wanted to give my wife something a little bit bigger, more space,” said Foster, who swapped his Buick Enclave for a Ford Expedition.
“[An employee] said, ‘OK, I can give you $6,000 for the trade-in’ when I owe $8,200,” Foster recalled.
He paid extra the difference, signed the paperwork and drove away in his Ford Expedition.
Foster thought it was a done deal, until a month later.
“I get a phone call from my bank saying I hadn’t made a payment on that car yet,” Foster said.
He said 360 Smart Car never paid off his original loan.
“To see it and know I’m still liable for paying the note?” Foster said. “Oh, it drives me crazy.”
Tanner Lontine traded in his Toyota Tacoma last October.
“At first I thought there was a mistake,” Lontine said.
He, too, gave 360 Smart Car thousands of dollars to pay off what he owed on his old vehicle. But the truck never got paid off.
“It’s horrible,” Lontine said. “I can’t make both payments.”
Lontine’s credit score dropped more than 80 points after missing his car payments, which dashed his hopes of refinancing his home.
“Even though I did nothing wrong, I have to suffer the consequences for it,” Lontine said.
When Foster and Lontine called the company to complain, they learned 360 Smart Car no longer existed.
Employees told the customers that the person who was in charge was gone.
“It’s really heartbreaking to be in this situation knowing there’s nothing you can do,” Foster said.
But The Ones for Justice discovered these customers never actually dealt with 360 Smart Car.
The company went out of business last June, selling its assets and renting the property to Prosper Plano Automotive or PPA, according to documents provided by 360’s attorney.
The attorney claims Prosper Plano Automotive used 360 Smart Car’s name and dealer’s license without their knowledge until December, when PPA fell behind on rent.
In December, the landlords asked PPA to vacate the premises.
A DMV spokesperson said state records do not indicate PPA had its own license to sell used vehicles.
“It’s not right they think they can take advantage of people and get away with it,” Lontine said.
Fortunes O’Neal is listed as PPA’s managing member, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
State records show the business went “inactive” January 25, 2019, forfeiting its existence.
O’Neal is now the general manager at Kia Central Plano.
When O’Neal did not return calls or messages, we caught up with him one day before work.
But O’Neal did not want to catch up with us.
“What happened to the money from the trade-ins,” CBS 11 asked.
O’ Neal hopped into a pickup truck, taking unanswered questions with him.
A spokesman for Kia Motors America initially said he was not aware of the situation.
“We ask our dealers to uphold our own high standards of hiring and performance, but as franchises, we are legally limited on ability to influence,” wrote James Bell, the director of corporate communications at Kia Motors America.
O’Neal called 15 minutes later, saying he was trying to liquidate the assets of his “failed business” and pay off all the debts.
The manager said he could explain everything in an interview. But after numerous attempts to follow-up and schedule a meeting, O’Neal never responded.
The DMV confirmed it is investigating 10 open cases involving 360 Smart Car.
Another business, Kamkad Direct, started leasing the Arlington property in late December, according to leasing agreements provided to The Ones for Justice.
The sign at the dealership simply reads, “under new ownership.”
KamKad’s CEO said he has allowed several customers to retrieve their old vehicles from the lot if the title remained in their name. Call 972-846-4172 for more information.
Lontine and Foster said they were eventually able to recover their old vehicles, but they still need to make the payments.
To file a complaint with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, click here.