State investigating The Car Center's sudden closure

Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 19:44:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Secretary of State’s office is investigating the sudden closure of used car dealer The Car Center after receiving multiple customer complaints.

Records obtained by Call 6 Investigates show the state fined The Car Center, located at 3520 South Post Road, $3,650 between June 2015 and April 2016 for issues like failing to properly deliver titles, failing to pay off loans on trade-ins, failing to notify customers in writing of rebuilt titles, and failing to deliver their dealer license plates back to the state.

Car dealers are supposed to notify the Secretary of State if they are going to cease operations at a location. 

The state cited The Car Center in June 2015 for closing its Avon location and failing to notify the state.

Company president James Landwerlen told Call 6 Investigates the closing of the South Post Road location had nothing to do with recent enforcement actions by the state.

“We just didn’t have a successful business and had problems with employees and theft,” said Landwerlen. “We weren’t perfect but we did everything we could to resolve issues.”

Car Center customer Domino Turner told Call 6 Investigates the closure is making it difficult to get a title and license plate for her car.

Turner said she went to the lot on Post Road on August 18, and the lot was “completely wiped out.”

“The car lot left that quick, basically overnight,” said Turner. “No cars, no desks, no computers.”

Landwerlen vowed to help any customers with their needs.

“We’ve paid for all of the titles and they’re being recorded now,” said Landwerlen. “No one should have any title issues. We are processing them”

Landwerlen blamed another company for not releasing the titles in a timely fashion.

“We aren’t running away from any problems,” said Landwerlen.

The Indiana Secretary of State’s office wants customers to contact their office if they’re having issue getting their title. Help is available through the Title Assistance Plate Program.