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Secretary of State Closes 5 Detroit Used Car Dealerships Pending Investigations

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Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced last week that her office has suspended the licenses of five Detroit used car dealers after finding evidence of suspicious transactions.

“Most auto dealers are reputable business people, but if we discover illegal activity, we will take swift action to protect Michigan consumers,” Johnson said in a May 28 news release. “We will not tolerate businesses that take advantage of unsuspecting consumers and will hold these bad actors accountable.”

The office’s investigation found that the used vehicle dealers had kept fraudulent records, had sold stolen parts and vehicles, and had misled consumers.

The five dealerships in question are:

    • A One Auto Sales, Inc., which sells used vehicles. It has been licensed since 2013.
    • Best Price Auto Sale, Inc., which sells used vehicles. It has been licensed since 2014.
    • Big 3 Auto Sales, Inc., which sells both used vehicles and used parts. It has been licensed since 2011.
    • Hende Auto Parts, which sells both used vehicles and used parts. It has been licensed since 2012.
    • Sold Auto Sale, Inc., which sells used vehicles. It has been licensed since 2011.

Criminal charges were also filed against the licensee of Hende Auto Parts and people from Best Price Auto regarding stolen auto parts. There is a pending investigation regarding the possibility that Hende Auto Parts employees sought to obtain clean Michigan titles for salvaged vehicles — which would allow them to be sold to unsuspecting consumers despite being unsafe to drive.

Revoking the licenses of the dealers effectively closes them for the time being. “The summary suspension, a step not often taken against dealerships, is used to protect the public,” Johnson’s press release explained. “The dealers are entitled to an administrative hearing to contest the suspension, but until then they are closed for business.”

The used auto sales and repair industry in the U.S. is worth billions, with nearly $10 million in used car sales in the first quarter of 2015 alone, and repairs bringing in an estimated $58 billion each year.

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