JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation filed an official complaint late Thursday afternoon against the Jacksonville Chevrolet dealership at the center of an I-TEAM investigation.
The I-TEAM first reported May 3 that Riverside Chevrolet on Philips Highway was accused of ruining customers' credit by failing to pay off the loans on their trade-in vehicles. Following our reporting, several state agencies, including OFR, launched investigations into the dealership.
OFR filed an administrative complaint against the dealership for violations of Chapter 520, Florida Statutes. The agency wants to pull its license to finance vehicles and fine the dealership and its owner, Andrew Ferguson Jr., $40,000.
OFR’s administrative complaint alleges that Riverside Chevrolet not only failed to pay off liens on vehicles which were traded in, in violation of the retail installment contracts, but then resold trade-in vehicles, despite not having legal title to sell the vehicles.
“This examination is ongoing. Consumers who suspect questionable business practices are encouraged to file a complaint with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation online at www.flofr.com or by calling (850) 487-9687,” said Division of Consumer Finance Director Gregory Oaks in a statement.
As the I-TEAM first told you May 30, Riverside Chevrolet is now being managed by a team from Beaver Toyota -- although the dealership is still owned by the Ferguson family.
Beaver Toyota's Nick Reuther, who is serving as a managing partner of Riverside Chevrolet, told the I-TEAM this filing is fair and warranted, but is all about the Fergusons and not about new management.
He said ultimately, Beaver Toyota wants to purchase Riverside Chevrolet and is concerned this filing by OFR could delay the transfer. However, Reuther said his team is "still doing anything and everything to make sure customers and employees are not affected by this."