Former Knoxville used car lot owners' license suspended over failure to provide titles

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The state of Tennessee has taken action against the former owners of a used car lot in Knoxville. The license once held by Knoxville Auto Brokers has been revoked.

Knoxville Auto Brokers closed in late April without warning to its customers. The dealership's lot on Clinton Highway had once been filled with vehicles.

The owners of the lot were Brad and Crissy Hensley. Last week the state revoked their motor vehicle sales license on charges of failure to provide the titles to 24 vehicles.

Melissa Smith and her husband bought a 2007 Chevy Tahoe from Knoxville Auto Brokers in mid-April. Within two months, they were sent a final payment notice from their credit union. Smith said the car they had traded in, a Ford Fusion, was never paid off. However, the couple's bill of sale stipulated Knoxville Auto Brokers would pay it.

Previous story: Knoxville car dealer closes, customers' car loans in limbo

"We were confused. We didn't know why we got this because we had a legal binding contract through the dealership," she said.

It turned out the Fusion sat on an auction lot for two months and was never sold. The Smiths' loan company got it back to them since it was still their car. Now they owe on both vehicles more than $23,000.

"I should not be upside down $23,000 when I have a contract," said Smith.

WATE 6 On Your Side in June went looking for Brad Hensley at a detail shop, which is now closed, on Maynarville Highway. At a nearby garage, Crissy Hensley said her husband is working with the Smiths.

"In the state of Tennessee there is a consumer protection act where all the consumers have to get their titles," said Hensley.

The Hensleys never got those titles to their customers. Now the Hensleys have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy papers in which a company stops all operations. Court documents show they've listed their company debt in excess of $1 million to as much as $10 million. A trustee will be appointed to liquidate, or sell the company's assets and the proceeds will be used to pay off the debts.

Just last week, the Smiths filed papers with the court to get the title for their car.

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