The state has revoked a Colville used car dealership’s license, saying the business prevented customers from receiving car titles on time.
The Car Lot, owned by Linda Brown of Colville, also accepted a car on consignment without a written agreement, failed to pay the people selling the car on time, and mixed personal and business funds, according to the state Department of Licensing.
“This is major. The consumer harm here is profound,” said Chuck Coach, the department’s license service manager.
Brown, who has sold cars in Colville since 1974, has since sold the dealership. She said the state’s investigation was flawed because it didn’t examine her side of the story.
“I’ve been in the business for 24 years and I’ve never had any problem other than that,” Brown said. “I feel they unjustly took my license.”
Though the state said it received at least four complaints about Brown’s dealership, Brown said the dispute arises from one transaction in which she couldn’t clear a loan with a bank in the time the state requires.
Coach said the state revokes between five and 12 licenses every year. Problem companies represent a small percentage of the state’s dealers, he said.
The state also fined two other dealerships, one in Spokane, the other in Omak, and announced that another dealership, in Spokane, had paid a $2,000 fine assessed last year.
East Sprague Motors and RV, Inc., 3711 E. Sprague, was fined $500 for violating the state’s requirement that a car dealership either solidify a bank loan or return a customer’s down payment within 48 hours.
“We’re more aware that we need to get the loan closed a little quicker,” said John Kapelac, coowner of East Sprague Motors. Still, he added, “Sometimes you can’t get in touch with (customers)” on time.
Kapelac also pointed out that the state legislature recently extended the amount of time a dealership has for those transactions. The law goes into effect July 27, increasing the time period from 48 to 72 hours.
K-Gan Automotive, a used car dealership at 2904 N. Monroe, paid a $2,000 fine assessed in 1996. The company was fined because it didn’t pay a person selling a car within the allotted 10 days and didn’t transfer a title within 45 days, the licensing department said.
K-Gan owner Terry Feidt, who has twice been cited by city zoning officers for selling cars on public streets, said the licensing department’s fine was fair.
“I know one thing, (titles) all get transferred on time now,” Feidt said. “We messed up. It’s our fault.”
Specialized Auto Sales, of Omak, also was fined $500 for allowing someone not associated with the company to put a dealer plate on a personal vehicle, the licensing department said.