The Ghost of Bill Heard Haunts Trade-Ins

the ghost of bill heard haunts trade ins

Now that Bill Heard’s Chevy-heavy dealership chain has entered Chapter 11, thanks to gas prices the consumer credit squeeze the economic meltdown increased floorplan costs the owner’s greed, avarice and criminal business practices, you’d think it was time for the pain to stop. As if. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs has issued a postmortem Consumer Alert. As much-missed tipster Frank Williams puts it, “apparently, Bill heard is screwing over some customers when it comes to paying off their trade-ins.” More technically, “If you are a consumer who has recently purchased a vehicle from one of these dealerships, and traded in a car or truck as part of this purchase, but the dealership has failed to pay off your trade-in, you may have some recourse under what is known as the Federal Trade Commission’s “holder” rule, 16 CFR 433.” How screwed are these people? How would you like to be looking at the following advice?

“First, contact the company that is financing your trade-in, and explain the circumstances, that the car you are financing with them should have been paid off by Bill Heard, and that the car is physically in Bill Heard’s possession. Provide any documentation to this effect (such as any contracts you have signed with Bill Heard) to the finance company, and be able to provide the street address and phone number of the dealership. Ask them to work with you so that the situation does not negatively impact your credit, if, for instance, there are outstanding payments owed on the trade-in vehicle due to Heard’s failure to make the pay-off. Remember that you are still legally, contractually bound to make payments to the finance company on your trade-in, even though Bill Heard has taken possession of it. You are also legally responsible to maintain insurance on the vehicle.”

Question: do you think Honda or Toyota would have knowingly allowed their dealers to get away with this shit? Do you think GM execs were oblivious to the lawsuits, judgements and penalties against “Mr Volume?” Once again, I smell a class action lawsuit against GM on this one.

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  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Oct 24, 2008

    Payton-Wells (Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Kia) did this in Anderson, IN, a few years ago. They defaulted on a huge loan, the bank came in and took over one day. If your trade wasn't paid, you were screwed until your day in court. Since the bank came at lunch, there were a lot of cars in the service garage that were locked up for weeks until the owners were finally able to get them back.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Oct 24, 2008
    Uncle Bo: Read the book, “Arrogance and Accords”. That there were kickbacks and corruption because Accords and Civics were in demand is a 'good' problem. Much different than outright fraud. Besides, given state franchise laws, yanking dealer chains over 'extra$' will always be problematic.

  • FreedMike In unrelated news, my left shoulder has gotten used to me patting it with my right hand, while saying “man, were you smart for buying last year before this all got out of hand.”
  • FreedMike I’d like to say I’m outraged and won’t buy anything from GM, but aside from a Stingray or a CT5 V Blackwing, they don’t make a damn thing I want anyway.
  • FreedMike Well, given that the plastic “wrap,” featuring any number of colors ranging from off-the-wall to utterly obnoxious, is now a thing, maybe these guys figured they’d get a piece of the action.
  • SCE to AUX Hyundai still gives 3 years of Bluelink for free, then it's $99/year after that. I like it, and I pay for it.I agree that GM is just finding a way to raise prices, but what happens after 3 years - does OnStar disappear?This isn't different from other moves by mfrs. For instance, many drop the FWD option and standardize on AWD, while raising prices $1500. Few people complain about that.
  • KevinB I have three vehicles with OnStar solely for the purpose of accident response. Everything else they offer is useless to me because Bluetooth pairs my phone and car for hands free calls, Android Auto pairs with my newest car just fine, and if my car gets stolen, I don't ever want to see it again. The monthly diagnostics report in my email are also a good thing, but roadside service is a joke. My older cars, however, will cease operating by the end of the year because 2g/3g will go away. GM has no plans to retrofit an upgrade to these cars. It makes me wonder how many subscriptions they will be losing because of this.