CULVER CITY, Calif. - A local Hyundai dealership is under fire after it allegedly closed down due to coronavirus, then had customer vehicles towed without ever giving them notice, resulting in thousands of dollars in holding fees.
One of those customers was Jared Scott Ransom.
“It was stressful, frustrating,” Ransom said.
He told FOX 11 he brought his car to Nissani Bros. Hyundai in Culver City in February, before coronavirus lockdowns.
“My check engine light was on,” Ransom said. “They told me it needed a bee transmission. I was told this process would take about a week, a week goes by I don’t hear anything.”
Ransom says a week turned into a month, a month turned into two months, and all of a sudden, it was May.
“This past Thursday I get a call from Hyundai motor finance asking me if I plan to pick up my vehicle,” he said. “And I was kind of lost. Like what do you mean? They told me that the vehicle was at impound in Long Beach and that if they repossess the vehicle it’ll be negative on my credit.”
Ransom would later find out that Nissami Bros. had closed down in the middle of the pandemic.
His car had been towed away on April 4th and had been sitting in a lot in Long Beach for 40 days, racking up a $6,000 holding fee.
“When you find out all of this at once, it’s upsetting,” Random said. “They never told me they were closing down or that they were towing my car.”
And he wasn’t alone.
The L.A. Times interviewed other Nissani Bros. customers who say the exact same thing happened to them at the hands of the dealer owner, Hooman Nissani, and that it was only made right after Hyundai corporate intervened.
When FOX 11 reached Nissani by phone on Tuesday, he declined repeated requests for an on-camera interview, said the Times story was inaccurate and said he wasn’t involved in much of the day to day operations.
A Nissani Bros. spokesperson released the following statement to FOX 11:
“Contrary to the LA Times story, none of the people named in the article paid a penny in towing or storage fees to get their cars back from the storage facility. One customer left their car on the lot for more than two months and the other for over a month -- both after being contacted to pick their cars up. Another car we had moved was there for two years. Before any car was moved, customers were called and/or emailed.
Some customers didn’t respond, despite several attempts to reach them.“The fact that there were no charges to our customers was our decision, it was not because of any intervention by Hyundai and not because of a pending LA Times story. As soon as we learned the towing company was charging our customers, we took corrective action. And to be clear, this was before we knew there was going to be an LA Times story.
“Aside from not being able to store cars for customers who don’t pick them up for weeks, months or years at a time, there is construction on the property. To protect the cars, after several calls, we had them towed and then brought to another dealership where the people could and did pick it up.“Finally, Nissani Brothers Hyundai voluntarily decided to end its relationship with Hyundai because it had other plans for the property.”
But it’s Hyundai who says they took the action to make things right.
Their corporate office also sent FOX 11 the following statement:
"This dealership voluntarily ended its relationship with Hyundai on April 6, no longer represents Hyundai as one of its dealers, and is closed. Prior to the closing of the dealership, this dealer moved vehicles that had been dropped off for service to an off-site facility, E3, in order to vacate the property, without informing Hyundai nor the customers who had vehicles at the dealership for service and repair.
E3 then was trying to charge customers storage fees for the time their vehicles were on their premises. 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 during this situation have been, or will be, fully reimbursed. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to the impacted customers and we pledge to make this right."
Ransom tells FOX 11 that Hyundai kept its word, and covered all of his costs.
He also said he has filed complaints against Nissani Bros. with several agencies.