Troubleshooters Investigation: Car dealership under renewed scrutiny by PA Attorney General

The Troubleshooters first told you about Drive Here eight years ago.

At that time, Pennsylvania authorities accused the dealership of misleading customers and putting them in unroadworthy vehicles.

Now, Pennsylvania's top law enforcement officer says the dealership is "failing to live up to its previous commitments."

Drive Here advertises: "Just $1 down at signing even if you have bad credit" and promises "a great program with great vehicles for great customers."

But, Caitlyn Dubois questions that commitment.

Dubois said the 2005 Chrysler Sebring she leased from Drive Here continuously breaks down.

"It needs two front struts. The transmission is about to fall out and it's completely rusted," she said.

Dubois refers to the vehicle as "the Satan car" because of the problems she said she's had since entering the lease agreement in August 2016.

Dubois is now in arbitration with the car dealership.

In her complaint she alleges the Sebring broke down at least seven times and that repairs have cost her $6,394.

"Most of the time on the highway I would have to get picked up and then come back to meet the tow truck," she added.

She told the Troubleshooters she cringes when she makes a payment to Drive Here for $159 twice a month.

"Every time I make the payment I feel hatred," Dubois said.

Drive Here's attorney told the Troubleshooters that Dubois' allegations are "false" and "frivolous."

Drive Here also said Dubois is "violating the terms of her lease by putting dramatic excess mileage on the vehicle" and said the alleged repair costs are "neither unusual nor unreasonable for a vehicle with that kind of mileage."

The dealership also said that Dubois drove the car 7,541 miles in just 28 days, or around 270 miles a day.

That would be roughly the equivalent of driving from Philadelphia City Hall to the White House and back every single day for almost a month.

Drive Here said it had GPS records to prove the excess mileage but has not produced those records to Dubois' attorney or to the Troubleshooters.

Dubois also said she disputes the excess mileage.

"They're failing consumers," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

In 2015, the Attorney General's Office sued Drive Here. In 2017, Drive Here settled providing restitution to some customers.

That included $465 to Danielle Byard who back then told the Troubleshooters:

"I went to turn the heat on and I smell burning. And it was just a loud clunking, crashing noise."

Byard told us she spent hundreds of dollars to fix her Drive Here vehicle and that is why she filed a complaint with the Attorney General's Office.

As part of the 2017 settlement, Drive Here did not admit to any wrongdoing but agreed it would "not engage in fraudulent or deceptive conduct" or "sell or lease any vehicle that is not roadworthy."

Shapiro said Drive Here has not done that.

"We've received over a hundred complaints since we entered into an agreement with Drive Here a couple years ago," he added.

The Attorney General told the Troubleshooters Drive Here is violating its agreement and his office has sent a notice of default to them.

"I expect that those who have complained to our office are going to be made whole and that their business practices, that I think are predatory in nature, are going to cease," Shapiro said.

Drive Here's attorney told us: "...we are in full compliance with all these agreements, and are operating our dealership in full accordance with all applicable laws and regulations..."

Drive Here also provided this statement:

"We are a highly reputable car dealership serving thousands of Philadelphians for over 14 years. We employ over 140 local residents in full-time positions.

We adamantly deny that we breached our prior agreements with the AG Office. There are no current court proceedings in which this is even alleged. On the contrary, there is a standard "Notice" procedure between us and the AG Office in which we are currently engaged. This procedure was designed for us to provide proof that we are acting appropriately.

As part of this procedure, we have provided a thorough response and records that clearly demonstrate our strict compliance with all agreements. We are confident the AG Office will find this response more than acceptable to disprove any unfounded allegations."

Update:

After our broadcast, we heard from DriveHere's attorney who asked that we make clear that the alleged excess mileage for Caitlin Dubois' car is reflected in the vehicle's Car Fax report and supported by a report issued by an expert in connection with the ongoing litigation. We expect to provide a further update when the parties resolve their dispute.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office said you can contact its Consumer Affairs office if you have a complaint against Drive Here.

Here are more tips from the Attorney General's Office on buying a used car.
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