Vroom is a No-Go when it Comes to Title Transfers

If you bought a car from Vroom but cannot get good title to the vehicle after delivery, we are to help. And you are not alone.

On August 30, 2021, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning titled, “Vroom, an online car retailer, receives an influx of consumer complaints.”  The BBB warning noted that “Customers have submitted well over a thousand complaints to the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas, where Vroom is based.  During the past year, BBB received 1,696 complaints, a significant uptick in complaint volume over previous years. Vroom has received 1,817 complaints in the past three years.”[1]

Disgruntled consumers have formed a Facebook group titled, “Vroom.com Horror Stories” that has over 3,100 members.[2]  Many of the complaints on the Vroom.com Horror Stories Facebook group concern the issue Vroom’s failure to transfer good title after a sale.

Recently, Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has filed an administrative complaint against Texas-based online car dealer Vroom alleging that in 47 cases, the dealer failed to transfer titles to consumers within 30 days.[3]

Wave 3 News recently aired a troubleshooter spot concerning multiple instances of Kentucky consumers fed up with and frustrated by their inability to good title from Vroom after an online sale.[4]

Under Kentucky law, a dealer has at most 30 days to transfer title to a buyer after a vehicle sale.[5] Failure to promptly transfer good title can be grounds for voiding the sale.[6] Further, a temporary tag is good only for 30 days from the date of issue. KRS 186A.100. And a temporary tag “shall not be renewed.” 601 KAR 9:140.

If you have run into a brick wall for Vroom’s or another vehicle dealer’s failure to transfer title we can help. Failure to transfer title gives rise to violation of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act and a claim for breach of contract. The failure to promptly transfer title can be grounds for cancelling the sale all together.

We have helped thousands of Kentucky consumers fight back against abuse, malfeasance, neglect, and various violations of the law. We have several important court victories create favorable precedent for consumers and Kentucky consumer law.

If you have not been able to get good title from a dealer after the purchase of a vehicle, please call or email us today. We can help. We work on a strict contingency basis such that we only get paid if we win or settle. We take the entire risk of loss.

[1] https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/24809-bbb-warning-vroom-an-online-car-retailer-receives-an-influx-of-consumer-complaints

[2] https://www.facebook.com/groups/784888658945089/

[3] https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/better-call-behnken/florida-files-47-count-complaint-against-car-dealer-vroom-over-title-issues/

[4] https://www.wave3.com/2022/03/17/troubleshooters-customers-furious-after-buying-vroom/

[5] Sandoval v. Auto Venture, Inc., No. 2018-CA-000133-MR, 2020 WL 504960, at *3 (Ky. App. Jan. 31, 2020) (“KRS 186A.215(3) commands titling documents to ‘promptly be submitted to the county clerk…’ by the dealer.”).

[6] Harlow v. Dick, 245 S.W.2d 616, 618 (Ky. 1952): Brooks v. Williams, 268 S.W.2d 650 (Ky. 1954).

Stop Credit Card and Insurance Junk Mail

How do banks and insurance companies know to send you credit card and insurance-policy offers? Because banks and insurance companies buy your personal information from consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”), which are glad to sell your information and profit from it. To the CRAs, you are the product—not a user, not a customer. The CRAs monetize your personal information that companies pay the CRAs to collect, coordinate, and synthesize. But you do have a limited right to control the sale of your personal information by the CRAs without your permission, and to stop the junk mail and spam credit card and insurance offers.

How to Opt-Out

            Straight from the FTC, here’s how you can opt out of unwanted junk mail and the uncompensated sale of your personal information.

            The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FRCA”) gives you the right to “opt out” of prescreened offers of credit, which are what the credit card and insurance offers cluttering you mailbox and inbox are called.

To opt out for five years: Go to optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688). The major credit bureaus operate the phone number and website.

To opt out permanently: Go to optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) to start the process. To complete your request, you’ll need to sign and return the Permanent Opt-Out Election form (which you get online) once you’ve started the process.

When you call or visit optoutprescreen.com, they’ll ask for your personal information, including your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information you give is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out.

Opting out for minor children

Even though the credit bureaus don’t keep credit files on minor children, if you suspect an identity thief used your child’s information for fraud, you can submit an Opt-Out Request for them. You must send a written request to each of the credit bureaus. Your letter must include your child’s full name, address, and date of birth. Include a copy of their birth certificate, a copy of their Social Security card, a copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued proof of identity.

P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 505 
Woodlyn, PA 19094-0505
Equifax, Inc.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0495

            If you opt out online, please be aware that your first option is to opt in. You must affirmatively change the selection to opt out. After you opt out, you will get a confirmation screen affirming you selection and date of your selection. SCREEN SHOT AND SAVE the confirmation screen. This is important to verify that you opted out and to prove that you did so in the not so-unlikely event that the CRAs fail to honor the opt out.

            According to the FCRA, the opt out should go into effect within five days of your election to opt out. But the CRAs may continue to sell personal information in spite of your denial of that right to them. If you continue to get prescreen credit card and insurance offers, if there are “soft” promotional inquiries by banks and insurance companies on your credit reports after you opt out, you have the right to sue the CRAs for violating your rights and profiting from your personal information. You can recover statutory damages of up to $1,000 for these violations.

            If a CRA has violated your right to control the sale of your personal information, please call or email us today. We can help. We work on a strict contingency basis such that we only get paid if we win or settle. We take the entire risk of loss.

Buy Here—Pay Here: The Carnival Game of Buying a Used Vehicle

            Buy here—pay here “’is not the car business. This is the finance business,’ said Ken Shilson, an accountant who founded the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers in Houston. ‘Not everybody has the stomach for it.’” These words are true. And they should sound a warning bell.

Private equity firms are investing in chains of used-car lots, and auto loans are being packaged into securities much like subprime mortgages. They’re attracted by the industry’s average profit of 38% for each car sold.

            Buy here—pay here is also a wheel that rolls over many consumers. The graphic below taken from a L.A. Times article lays out the cycle:

            The first thing to note is that the price you pay for a vehicle at a buy here/pay here lot is usually much greater than the blue book or NADA value of the vehicle. Indeed, you have probably noticed that most buy here/pay here lots do not advertise the price of the vehicles on their lot. This is because these dealers sell a payment not a vehicle. That is, the dealer finds out what you can pay on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis and steers you to vehicles that fall within those payment parameters.

            The next thing to note is the interest rate. It will be much higher than you would pay if you purchased a car with a bank loan or with traditional financing. This again is byproduct of selling a payment rather than a vehicle.

            The final thing to note is the wheel turning and crushing you. At the first opportunity, a buy here/pay here dealer will repossess the vehicle and sue you for the deficiency balance. As explained by the L.A. Times:

A key reason for the industry’s growth in tough times is that dealers can come out ahead whether or not customers keep up with their loan payments.

About 1 in 4 buyers default. In the real estate and credit card industries, that would be bad news. In the world of Buy Here Pay Here, it’s just another avenue for profit: The car can be repossessed and put back on the lot for sale in short order. A new buyer makes a down payment, takes on a high-interest loan and the cycle starts anew.

Provided they don’t get wrecked, these recycled vehicles just keep paying dividends. At some dealerships, cars have been sold and resold over and over — three, four, even eight times apiece, motor vehicle records show.

            And of course, when it sues to collect the deficiency balance on the defaulted loan, the dealer can get a judgment against you, which is a super debt that allows the dealer to garnish your wages and bank account. That is, you’re stuck paying for a car you no longer have. When you default on your car loan, the dealer profits.

If a buy here/pay here dealer has sued you to collect a deficiency balance due on your vehicle loan, please call or email me today. We may be able to help.

Have you been sued by Service Financial Company? If so, we can help.

Chances are, you don’t even know who the heck Service Financial Company (“SFC”) is. SFC is an assumed name for the River City Adjustment Bureau, Inc. Does that clear it up of you? Didn’t think so.

                SFC is in the business of buying defaulted car loans from buy-here-pay-here used car lots like Circus Auto and Autosmart II and suing to collect the underlying debt. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because SFC has sued you too. DO NOT LOSE HOPE. You can fight back. We can help you do so.

                Most likely, SFC’s lawsuit simply states that you breached a contract and that you a responsible for the balance due. If SFC repossessed and sold your vehicle, this is NOT TRUE. SFC’s lawsuit is not for a defaulted loan. SFC’s lawsuit is not for non-payment of loan. Rather, SFC’s lawsuit is for a deficiency judgment under Kentucky’s UCC laws.

                In order to obtain a deficiency judgment against you under the UCC, SFC has the affirmative burden of proving that it disposed of your vehicle in a commercially reasonable manner after repossessing it. This is where SFC is the most vulnerable.

                “Kentucky law requires that “[e]very aspect of a disposition of collateral, including the method, manner, time, place, and other terms, must be commercially reasonable.’ Ky.Rev.Stat. Ann. § 355.9–610. The purpose of the provision is to protect the debtor’s interest by ensuring he will ‘receive the market price of his collateral.’” Layne v. Bank One, Ky., N.A., 395 F.3d 271, 279 (6th Cir. 2005).

                We can make the disposition of your repossessed vehicle the central issue of SFC’s lawsuit against you by forcing SFC to produce evidence that it in fact sold or resold your vehicle in a commercially reasonable manner. We will move to dismiss SFC’s lawsuit against you on grounds that it failed to plead that it disposed of your vehicle in a commercially reasonable manner. We will serve discovery on SFC to uncover what evidence, if any, it has on this crucial question.

                In addition to challenging the reasonableness of the post-repossession sale of your car, we will examine the terms of the loan to make sure that it conforms to the Federal Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”). If there is a TILA violation, we will file a counterclaim on your behalf.

                We will also look at what information, if any, concerning the underlying debt is being reported on your credit reports. If the information is wrong, we will work with you to develop claims against SFC under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act.

                Most likely, you have been abused and ripped off by the car dealer. Because of difficulties qualifying for credit, you probably paid way over book value for a vehicle that has mechanical problems and paid an outrageous interest for the “privilege” of doing so. The car dealer set you up for failure. SFC is the vulture circling to pick your economic corpse to complete the cycle of abuse.

                A few years ago, the L.A. Times published an excellent series of articles that explain how this vicious cycle works.

                If the above sounds like something that’s happened to you, please

Call or text us today at 502-473-6525

Or email me at james@kyconsumerlaw.com.

For a very reasonable fee, I can defend you in this lawsuit and give you a reasonable chance to win or have the suit against you dismissed.

Have you been Sued by Mariner Finance, LLC?

If you’re here, it’s mostly likely because Mariner Finance sued you. We may be able to help. We’ll evaluate your case at no cost to you. Specifically, we will look for counterclaims you may have against Mariner Finance for violations of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act (“KCPA”), the Federal Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), and other state and federal laws. If you have a viable counterclaim, we can represent you at no costs.

            Mariner Finance is not regulated by the federal government. It is not subject to over by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). (Though, there are over 560 complaints about Mariner Finance registered on the CFPB complaint data base.) Rather, regulation is left to the states. In Kentucky that means Kentucky’s Consumer Loan Company Statutes and the KCPA.

            The Washington Post recently did a scathing expose of Mariner Finance. The article explains that Mariner Finance is predatory lender that exploits the poor and the desperate:

“It’s basically a way of monetizing poor people,” said John Lafferty, who was a manager trainee at a Mariner Finance branch for four months in 2015 in Nashville. His misgivings about the business echoed those of other former employees contacted by The Washington Post. “Maybe at the beginning, people thought these loans could help people pay their electric bill. But it has become a cash cow.”

            The article goes on to explain:

The market for “consumer installment loans,” which Mariner and its competitors serve, has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly as new federal regulations have curtailed payday lending, according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation, a nonprofit research group. Private equity firms, with billions to invest, have taken significant stakes in the growing field.

Mariner Finance is owned and managed by a $11.2 billion private equity fund controlled by Warburg Pincus, a storied New York firm. The president of Warburg Pincus is Timothy F. Geithner, who, as treasury secretary in the Obama administration, condemned predatory lenders. The firm’s co-chief executives, Charles R. Kaye and Joseph P. Landy, are established figures in New York’s financial world. The minimum investment in the fund is $20 million.

            We have defended hundreds of Kentuckians who have fallen prey to Mariner Finance. If we can, we’d like to help you to. Please call or email us as soon as possible to see if we can help you too.

An Unconstitutional Statute that Refuses to Die

In Kentucky, husbands are legally responsible for their wives’ medical debts, but not the other way around. Please help me change that.

            KRS 404.040 provides:

The husband shall not be liable for any debt or responsibility of the wife contracted or incurred before or after marriage, except to the amount or value of the property he received from or by her by virtue of the marriage; but he shall be liable for necessaries furnished to her after marriage.     

            Because the “wife” is not likewise liable for the necessary expenses of the husband, the statute violates equal protection on its face. For over two decades at least, the statute has evaded a judicial decision on its constitutionality for any number of technical reasons. Last year, I lost a challenge because the courts concluded that a hospital’s promise not to collect a debt from my client rendered the constitutional challenge moot. Lessons were learned. The path forward may be a class action. But I won’t know until I try. This is where you come in.

            If a debt collector or doctor or hospital is trying to collect a medical debt from you that was incurred by your wife, please call or email me. I’ll represent you at no cost with the hopes of finally getting a ruling on the statute’s constitutionality.

Lexington Judge Says NO to UK HealthCare using the KY Dept. of Revenue as its Debt Collector

Since 2006, the UK HealthCare has been using the Kentucky Department of Revenue as its collection arm. This cozy relationship empowered UK HealthCare to garnish bank accounts, wages, and tax refunds without any judicial oversight. This essentially practice essentially strips the consumer of all due process rights. In addition to the recovery of debts, the Kentucky Department of Revenue tacked on a 25% collection fee. But no more, maybe.

Judge James Ishmael recently ruled that “UK is not eligible to use the revenue department as its collection agency.” Judge Ishmael’s decision turned on whether UK HealthCare was a state agency within the meaning of applicable state statutes.

This is good news, especially for poorer residents of the Commonwealth, who often depend on tax refunds and tax credits for basic needs.

UK HealthCare has not decided yet whether to file an appeal.

Don’t Let ID Thieves Steal your Tax Refund

According to a report from CNBC, tax-refund theft is expected to “hit a whopping $21 billion.” ID thieves could steal your refund. Cyberscout postulates that “[w]ith more than a billion personal records “out there,” identity theft has become the third certainty in life, right behind death [and taxes].” Tax-refund theft could hit the poor and the lower middle class (who often use tax refunds as emergency savings) the hardest.

Clark Howard recommends that you take these steps to safeguard your information from ID thieves:

  • Use a password-protected Wi-Fi connection when filing your taxes. Use a long and complex password — not just for your Wi-Fi but also for any accounts you’re using during the tax-filing process.
  • Get your return via direct deposit. If you must receive a return check via mail, have it sent to a locked mailbox.
  • Ask your tax preparer to use two-factor authentication to protect your documents and personal information.
  • Use an encrypted USB drive to save sensitive tax documents.
  • Never give information to anyone who contacts you by phone or online claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS will never contact you this way.
  • Monitor your accounts and online identity for any signs that your identity has been stolen. For example, if you see a sudden, unexpected change in your credit scores, it could indicate your identity has been stolen. You can easily get a look at your credit by using our free credit report snapshot, which is updated every 14 days.


The Five Sections of a Credit Report and the Types of Errors Found in Each

Your credit report has five main sections. Error can occur in each. The errors in each section are of different type and require different means and methods to correct. At Lawson at Law, PLLC we know how to identify and fix errors in all sections of your credit report.

I.     Personal Information

The personal information section often appears at the beginning of a credit report. The information in this section almost always contains some sort of error or incomplete information. Personal information includes names, name variations, addresses, and employers. Creditors use the information this section to hunt you down.

Credit reporting agencies gather and report this information directly. Errors in the personal-information section are usually these easiest to correct. But these errors seldom hurt your credit score or your ability to obtain credit. To correct this information, you need to directly dispute it with the credit reporting agencies.

II.     Accounts

The account section of your credit report contains your credit history. Both open and closed accounts appear in this section. Often this section is separated between positive and negative accounts. Account information is furnished by subscribers (creditors) that pay the credit reporting agencies to report this information. A variety of errors can occur here, including:

  • Incorrect payment histories.
  • Erroneous late payments.
  • Wrong number of days a payment has been late, usually appearing as 30, 60, 90, or 120 days or more late. Any payment history showing a late payment of 90 days late or more is counted a “severe delinquency,” which has a substantial negative effect on your credit score.
  • Incorrect bankruptcy information.
  • Incorrect drop-off dates, e. the date that a negative account will be removed from your credit report
  • Accounts that are not yours arising from identity theft or merged reports, e. information that belongs to someone else appearing on your credit report.

To correct errors in account section of your credit report, it is critical that you dispute the information with the consumer reporting agency reporting the information. This is the only way to trigger a furnisher’s liability under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).

III.       Collections

Anything appearing in this section of your credit report is bad and will hurt your credit score. Information in this section is furnished by debt collectors. Medical debt appears in this section. If the information is false or if a debt collector fails to note that a debt has disputed, the debt collector may be liable for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). The collection section of a credit report usually doesn’t contain a credit history. Rather, the information is limited to basics like the original amount of the debt, the current amount of the debt, the date the collection account was opened, and the last date that the debt collector furnished information about the account to the credit reporting agency. Often the information will include the name of the original or current creditor on the debt.

In order to correct errors in this section of the report, it is critical that you dispute the information with the consumer reporting agency reporting the information. This is the only way to trigger a furnisher’s liability under the FCRA.

IV.     Public Records

Like collections, anything appearing in this section of your credit report is very bad and will substantially hurt your credit score. The main items of information in public-record section of a credit report are judgments, tax liens, and bankruptcies. The main types of errors in public-record section of credit reports arise from (a) credit reporting agencies failure to update judgments to reflect that they have been satisfied or vacated or to timely remove the information, (b) credit reporting agencies failure to update tax lien information to reflect that it has been paid or to timely remove the information, and (c) inclusion of someone else’s bankruptcy information on your credit report.

Credit reporting agencies gather and report this information directly. These errors can devastate your credit score, lowering your score by up to forty (40) point. In order to correct this information, you need to directly dispute it with the credit reporting agencies.

V.     Inquiries

There are two types of credit inquiries: hard and soft. An inquiry occurs whenever a subscriber requests your credit report. As a general rule, hard-credit inquiries only occur when you apply for a loan or credit. Usually, you must authorize a hard-credit inquiry. (But be careful, the authorization is usually buried in the fine print.) Only hard credit inquiries are published to others who request your credit report. Hard inquiries could lower your credit score by a few points and may remain on your credit report for two years.

Soft inquiries occur when you pull your own credit report and when others pull report for almost reason other than a credit application.

You can dispute inquiries on your credit report directly with the entity that requested your credit report. (The inquirer’s address should appear in the inquiry section.) Or you can dispute inquiries with the credit reporting agencies. It is unlawful for someone to request your credit report without a permissible purpose. You can recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages for each impermissible request.

Multiple credit inquiries often arise from online loan applications and financing applications with car dealers. You can protect yourself from multiple inquiries, but you must be vigilant.




Student-Loan FDCPA Collection Case

A Colorado District Court recently denied a debt collector’s motion to dismiss the complaint in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) case concerning the collection of student loans. Breckinridge v. Vargo & Johnson, P.C., 16-CV-1176-WJM-MEH, (D. Colo. Dec. 7, 2016).

Even though the Higher Education Act does not create a private cause of action for consumer-borrowers, the court ruled:

Third-party debt collectors acting on behalf of guaranty agencies to collect federal student loans must comply with the FDCPA.

Id. at *4

The plaintiff in Breckinridge alleged that the debt collector added collection fees to the amount of past-due student loans that were not allowed under the terms of the applicable Perkins loan program. The Breckinridge Court ruled that complaint stated a valid claim for relief under the FDCPA.

The Breckinridge Court turned to the Student Financial Aid Handbook published by the Department of Education (“DOE”) to address the question of whether the defendant debt collector had collected or attempted to collect collection costs that it was not entitled to.

The Breckinridge case is important. Increasingly, the DOE is turning more student loans over to private collection firms. Indeed, the DOE recently referred hundreds of millions of dollars of delinquent student loans to private collection firms. With the increase in debt and debt referred to debt collectors, there is bound to be a rise in abuse and overreach.

Stay vigilant.