Dawgged: Idaho Dealership Customers Scream Scam

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

ByrdDawg Motors in Idaho is at the center of accusations that it has scammed customers.

One car buyer claims he was out $20,000.

There's now a class-action lawsuit against ByrdDawg Motors in Boise. It alleges that over 30 customers were sold cars without titles.

One customer, Hunter Allen, claims that he bought a 2016 Infiniti Q50 and took out a $20,000 loan from a credit union (Idaho Central Credit Union) to do so. But neither he nor the credit union ever received the title. Normally, the title would be given over during the transaction.

Instead, another bank holds the title. That bank holds a lien on the car, which was repossessed in September 2022.

Now, Allen is legally obligated to pay off the loan -- yet he doesn't have the car. Did we mention that he bought it in June 2022?

The lawsuit was filed by Byrddawg's insurance company. It names Allen and another 34 customers who appear to have been sold a car without a title. The insurance company, of course, doesn't want to pay any of these folks.

Since the insurance bond is worth $20,000, customers might get peanuts, even if they win. Allen, for example, might get only a few hundred bucks.

That's because the legal fees for fighting the insurance company might not be worth it.

Neither bank, of course, is willing to forfeit the title. It appears the only way that Allen can get out of the loan is through litigation -- and that will likely run him more than the cost of the car.

This isn't ByrdDawgs first brush with the legal system. The State of Idaho filed suit against owner Adam Bain for a "vehicle dealer lien satisfaction violation" in March of last year. Bain missed a court date in September and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The state stripped the store of its license in July.

KTVB TV in Boise says that an auto-detail shop now sits where the dealer was located, and while this shop has nothing to do with ByrdDawg, people show up to complain about ByrdDawg.

Allen's lawyer says his client will struggle to pay back the loan, and that it's the credit union's fault for not following the suggestion of state officials and running the VIN through a database that Idaho maintains. This database would show if a car's title has a lien against it. The Infiniti shows as being already owned by a bank.

Allen seemed a little more forgiving of the bank, saying the loan officer was new and didn't know what he needed to know to do the job correctly, but he's also stopped payments on the loan since the bank started to charge him more for not having insurance on a car he doesn't possess.

The Idaho Attorney General is investigating.

What a mess. Allow me to switch from news reporting to editorializing here -- it looks like multiple parties are behaving badly. The dealership appears to have engaged in shady behavior -- why did ByrdDawg claim the car didn't have a lien? -- but the banks don't seem to be helping their customer out, at least in Hunter Allen's case. Why is the bank (Farm Bureau Insurance) that held the lien unwilling to let it go? Why is the credit union holding a customer to account for a loan on a car that he never took possession of, instead of going after the dealer for claiming the title was clear for sale?

It's bad enough when dealerships act unethically or illegally. It's even worse when others in the industry add to customers' hardships.

This whole situation is a mess, and we'll keep an eye on it.

[Image: Jon Rehg/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 37 comments
  • Daniel J Daniel J on Feb 28, 2023

    Sure, and private parties never ever commit fraud.

  • Ecl65707135 Ecl65707135 on Mar 09, 2023

    I think it would be a criminal fraud case at the point where the credit union gave the dealership owner money for the car that the dealership misappropriated or con gamed to get. If I was the victim car purchaser I would file a criminal complaint against dealership owner that my money was stolen.

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