After car dealer closes, vet is left with an extra car payment

After car dealer closes, vet is left with an extra car payment

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The parking lot at Epps Nissan is now empty. The parking lot at Epps Nissan is now empty.
"The deal was they were supposed to pay off the Tahoe. They were giving us $7,000 trade in allowance," Ken Koke said. "The deal was they were supposed to pay off the Tahoe. They were giving us $7,000 trade in allowance," Ken Koke said.
Dale Epperson told Koke he hoped to have the car paid off within the next 30 days. Dale Epperson told Koke he hoped to have the car paid off within the next 30 days.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WATE) - A retired Air Force sergeant found himself with an extra car payment, two months after a car dealer was supposed to have paid off his vehicle in a trade-in.

To everyone's surprise, the Nissan dealer in Middlesboro, Kentucky closed its doors in early April, leaving no information behind about how customers can get in touch with management.

One former customer tells 6 On Your Side he now owes an extra car payment, but doesn't have the vehicle.

Ken Koke traded in his SUV at Epps Nissan two months ago for a 2011 Kia. He last saw his truck in March, when the dealership was last in full operation.

When you peek inside the showroom these days, it looks like the sales people could be out to lunch. But there are no vehicles on the lot and the doors have been locked for more than a month.

Koke's contract signed on March 3 was for the purchase of the Kia and trade-in of his SUV.

"The deal was they were supposed to pay off the Tahoe. They were giving us $7,000 trade in allowance," he said.

Koke said in late March he got a call from his loan company saying he still owed money on the Tahoe. He said he immediately got on the phone to Epps.

"I called them up to find out why the Tahoe had not been paid off. They said they were running behind," he said.

But the payoff never happened. By early April, the local newspaper reported the dealership was closed.

"So now I have three vehicle payments, but only two vehicles in my possession," Koke said.

The license for Epps Motors is still active according to the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission.  

The commission's director tells 6 On Your Side they've received no notification yet from the owner that the dealership is closed, but they're doing no business in the area.

"I went to the district attorney at Bell County and he told me it is a civil case, to go get a lawyer," Koke said.

We caught up with Dale Epperson at the lot in Middlesboro.

Not eager to talk and while he did not give details, Epperson did say he would not be back in business.  

We then introduced him to Ken Koke, who asked Epperson whether his vehicle would be paid off.

"Yes," Epperson said. "Hopefully within the next 30 days."

But Koke said Epperson told him in March that the payoff transaction would be completed by the end of April.

"I'll believe it when I see it," Koke said.

While Epperson would not say how many other customer vehicles were not paid off, and since Ken Koke never received any news from the owner about his car, it is doubtful others will get any information either.

In light of the problems at the dealership, a state official in Kentucky tells 6 On Your Side, former customers with Epps Nissan who have a dispute with the company need to formally lodge a complaint with the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission.

The form can be found on their website.


Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports can be seen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on 6 News at 6:00.

If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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