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I-TEAM: State files 888-count complaint against Riverside Chevrolet

Dealership accused of failing to transfer titles, pay off trade-ins

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Riverside Chevrolet in Jacksonville was served Friday with a nearly 900-count complaint from the state, accusing the dealership of breaking the rules related to motor vehicle sales, the I-TEAM has learned.

Friday's filing from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the agency that oversees dealerships across the state, comes two months after the I-TEAM began reporting on the troubled dealership.

Of the 888 counts filed by DHSMV against the dealership and its owners, 799 are for failing to transfer titles within the required 30-day deadline. More than 100 of those titles took longer than three months to transfer. The longest took 423 days.

The remaining 89 counts against the dealership include failing to pay off the loans on trade-in vehicles within the required 10 days, failing to notify the state of vehicles acquired by trade-in, and failing to keep and maintain records of purchases and sales.

DOCUMENTS: Read the first three pages of the complaint | List of delayed vehicle title transfers

The I-TEAM began reporting on the troubled dealership May 3, with dozens of customers -- many of them active-duty military and veterans -- worried that their credit scores were ruined after Riverside Chevrolet did not follow through on its promise to pay off bank loans on their trade-in vehicles.

Following our initial I-TEAM investigation, several state agencies began looking into the dealership and the Ferguson Family that owns it. Besides DHSMV, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation filed a formal complaint June 7 against Riverside Chevrolet, threatening to pull its license to finance vehicles. The Attorney General's Office has also launched its own investigation.

Since then, Beaver Toyota management stepped forward and has taken over management of the dealership, vowing to right the wrongs for impacted customers. We've reached out to Beaver Toyota for comment on this 888-count complaint. We will update this story when we get a response.

Riverside Chevrolet has 21 days to respond to this 888-count complaint, or the state will move forward with disciplinary action, which could include suspension or revocation of its license, along with fines.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.