Alabama customers continue to ask questions after nationwide closure of American Car Center

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 7:51 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:13 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The nationwide company American Car Center folded last week, leaving buyers from the locations in North Alabama worried about what happens next.

The Memphis-based chain has nearly 50 locations, with one on University Dr. in Huntsville, and one on Florence Blvd. in Florence.

While the company is shut down, customers cannot make their necessary car payments online or over the phone. When dialed, the number displays a message saying the building is closed. The message asks the caller to contact their direct payment line, which automatically ends the phone call.

Car owners Vannessa Fowler and David Mayo bought a car from the center three years ago. Now, the couple worries their car can be repossessed because they can not make their payments. Their contract suggests this could be the case.

“There’s nothing,” she said. “I can’t pay it to a company that doesn’t exist.”

Fowler is twelve payments away from paying off the car.

“I have not received anything from there,” she said. “We tried to give it a day or two, and then I was going to reach out to the Better Business Bureau to possibly seek an attorney if need be. At this moment, anybody I’ve reached out to has no answers.”

Mayo said the couple tried to trade out the car at dealerships, but they were denied when the dealer tried to reach an American Car Center representative.

“They’re just worried about what’s going to happen,” he said. “They’re worried about losing their title. They’ve probably gone to car lots like we have seen if there’s a possible trade-in. We were told that’s not even possible, they have nobody to get in touch with. It’s just a very frustrating situation.”

When asked what they plan to do for the payment on Saturday, the couple had no answers.

“Saturday morning, the best thing I can do is hold my payment over, and when somebody comes available, I’ll have the money for it,” Fowler said.

Faced with an impossible situation, the couple asked for more transparency.

“The numbers you’ve made possible to reach you guys at, you’re not answering any of them,” Mayo said. “It causes all the people that the loyal customers who have paid in on time, it’s just doing us dirty, to be honest.”

A spokesperson from the Alabama Attorney General’s office told WAFF 48 that they have received multiple complaints about the American Car Centers. They said if you are a customer looking to file a complaint, you can click here.

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