Better Business Bureau issues auto auction alert

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued an alert about an auto auction, and the Attorney General?s Office is also investigating that business. (WLS)

The ABC7 I-Team got results for a woman who says she lost a $600 deposit when trying to buy a car.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued an alert about an auto auction, and the Attorney General's Office is also investigating that business.

The BBB says it has gotten several complaints alleging additional fees being tacked on to the bill and that the sticker shock may result in people losing deposit money.

"I felt like I've been done a disservice," Yvette Willis, said.

Yvette Willis called the I-Team after losing a $600 dollar down payment. She was trying to buy this 2004 Nissan from the First Marshall Auto Auction LLC, in Harvey.

"I felt devastated. I felt like they took something from me," Willis said.

She says when she went to pay in full, she was told that her $600 didn't go toward the original price of the car.

"They didn't put the deposit towards the amount of the car, so that is when I changed my mind, but they did not give my 600 back," Willis said.

The Better Business Bureau issued this alert this week saying it has gotten similar kinds of complaints.

"They put a deposit down and told to sign all the paperwork and when they get the final papers sometimes the car is almost double," Steve Bernas, Chicago area Better Business Bureau president, said.

Bernas said the First Marshall Auto Auction has an "F" rating for 31 complaints filed in the last three years.

"Seventy-four percent of the complaints were filed in the last 12 months. That's a warning to us that something is wrong," Bernas said.

Some of the BBB complaints, he says, are also about the quality of the cars, but pamphlets and signs warn consumers that all vehicles are sold "as is."

The Attorney General's Office says it's investigating and has gotten 61 complaints on First Marshall since 2014, most about the quality of cars. The Attorney General's Office says it has been able to get money back for some consumers.

Two years ago, the I-Team investigated similar complaints at a neighboring business a stone's throw away, with the same style of brochures. The BBB and Attorney General's office say it closed a year ago.
This week, we went back to that same location and nearby was a sign for First Marshall.

A man told us to leave but an attorney which represents both Auto Auctions told us the vast majority of the First Marshall complaints made to the BBB and the Attorney General "have been resolved" and after our inquiries, Willis showed us a refund check for $600 dollars.

Consumer experts say you should avoid cash deposits. You should make sure you first review a contract which lists the full and final price of the vehicle. You should also get all used vehicles checked by a mechanic and research their history by running VIN numbers.

More information on researching vehicles:

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

Google the VIN



People should check both as sometimes one service might have more crucial info that the other doesn't.

Click HERE for more tips from the BBB along with full news release on First Marshall Auto Auction.
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