This is a new low even for car dealerships. Back in March Olivia Vera was having problems with her 2019 Hyundai Kona. So she did what we all normally do in those cases; she dropped it off to her local Culver City, California, Hyundai dealership. But the next day the dealership closed because of the coronavirus shutdowns. The dealer; Nissani Brothers Hyundai, had the car towed away. No muss, no fuss. The problem is that Vera was never informed, nor were at least 11 other people with a similar outcome at this dealer. Now they are facing thousands of dollars in back fees. But you won’t believe what else went wrong.
The storage facility has been charging $150 per day
This week her Kona might get sold out from under her for back storage fees. She either needs to come up with six thousand dollars in cash only, or her car gets auctioned off. The storage facility has been charging $150 per day. Hyundai corporate is aware of the problem and has terminated its relationship with the Nissani Brothers dealership.
“This is absolutely not what I thought would happen when I dropped off my car at the dealer,” Vera told the LA Times. “Who would have expected something like this?” This doesn’t seem to be the first time that the Nissani group, specifically Hooman Nissani, has been in trouble.
The owner was ordered by a judgment to pay $2.4 million in back pay and penalties
Nissani owns a number of dealerships in the LA area. Last year he was ordered by a judgment to pay $2.4 million in back pay and penalties to 64 employees. It was the largest California wage-theft case ever prosecuted in its history. The settlement paid workers at a Nissani carwash he allegedly cheated out of wages and overtime.
The Times contacted someone at the Nissani Brothers Hyundai dealership to get some answers. The contact said “fewer than five” cars were towed away. He claimed it was only after multiple tries to inform the owners. The contact said, “There are two sides to every story.”
The dealership “no longer represents Hyundai as one of its dealers and is closed”
Hyundai says the dealership voluntarily stopped doing business with Hyundai on April 6 in what a spokesman calls a “deteriorating business relationship.” The spokesperson said the dealership “no longer represents Hyundai as one of its dealers and is closed.”
Another customer had his 2018 Elantra in the Nissani shop for transmission work. Jared Scott-Ransom lives near the dealership and after a few days he popped in to see how the work was coming along. He was told the dealer was waiting on parts to finish the repair. He is also facing thousands of dollars in storage fees.
Hyundai vowed to take care of those affected by the Nissani Brothers dealership
Hyundai vowed to take care of those affected by the Nissani Brothers “situation.” A spokesman said, “As soon as Hyundai learned of this situation and of these storage fees being charged to our customers, we quickly took steps to get all Hyundai cars out of E3’s facility and sent to a nearby Hyundai dealership where the service work would be made and our customers would be well taken care of.
“All customers who made any form of payment to E3 Towing during this situation have been, or will be, fully reimbursed.” The cars have now been sent to South Bay Hyundai in Torrence. But the story doesn’t end here, it gets weirder.
All of the cars the dealership received from Nissani were torn apart
The service manager there says all of the cars it received from Nissani were torn apart. And the engine in Vera’s Kona was supposed to have been replaced but it wasn’t; it’s the factory engine untouched.
Hyundai headquarters says the issue was of a franchisee who treated customers poorly. It says Nissani used the coronavirus to cover up shoddy work.
If you have bad dealings in California with car dealerships you can contact the state attorney general’s office. They take up cases like this. We’re sure there are similar resources in most states.