La Quinta resident Christine O’Kelly loves her brand new Kia Sorento but now wishes she’d gone elsewhere to get it.
She bought the vehiclein October at Kia of La Quinta for around $16,000 after a rebate.She owed $8,000 on her old car, which was worth about $4,000.
The dealership gave Christine $4,000 in a trade-in thenrolled the other $4,000into her new loan.
She drove off the lot satisfied, but last month,the dealership went out of business.
Last Monday, Christine got a call from a former Kia employee and found out Kia failed to transfer ownership for her trade-in.
“They told me they didn’t have the money to pay off my car and I needed to pick it up in San Bernardino,” O’Kelly said. “I was still financially responsible for it.”
O’Kelly said the bank seized Kia’s accounts and refused to pay off any of the deals they made.
When the Shaver Auto Center Group shut down Kia of La Quinta last month, it also shut down a dealership in San Bernardino. News Channel 3 has learnedthat’s where the trade-ins in question are being held.
Christine was told she has until Friday to pick her car upor else it will be picked up and sent to auction by Chrysler Financial, the bank that shut down Kia of La Quinta.
She says it’s a nightmare made even worse by the tough economic times.
“I’m either going to have to maketwo car payments on a car I don’t have or it’s going to hurt my credit,” O’Kelly said. “It’s Christmas time. I’m a single mom. I don’t have the money to be makingtwo car payments.
“I don’t understand how a big bank can treat regular people getting by in this economy and tell them ‘too bad.'”