Consumer Alert: Local auto dealer forced to pay back customers
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – We have an update on a consumer investigation we followed for months. A Rochester car dealer stands accused of taking full payment for cars he didn’t deliver. Those jilted customers then called me. The name of the dealership is United Auto Solutions located on Hudson Avenue. Customers tell me they paid thousands, and the owners always had an excuse. Then the owners disappeared. So I contacted the DMV, then joined the search for those missing car dealers.
It was a snowy day last March when I went looking for the owners of United Auto Solutions in Rochester. The building was vacant, and the owners were gone.
And they had taken Azhari Williams’ money with them. In September of 2021, the recent high school graduate paid in full for a car, $6,589 dollars. But she says the dealership gave her nothing but excuses and eventually disappeared.
“She didn’t want to get out the bed. She didn’t want to eat. She didn’t want to talk,” said Yantise Fulton, Azhari’s mother.
The very same thing happened to Lou Micelotta. He paid $6,200 for his car, but he says the dealer stopped answering the phone. When I interviewed Micelotta last March, he had two key questions.
“Will I be getting my money back? And will there be any repercussions for these individuals for doing what they’ve done?” he asked.
We can now answer both those questions. Months after our interview, out of the blue, Micelotta got $6,000 in the mail.
“I was dumbfounded, said Micelotta. “I didn’t expect to see any money from these people period.”
Micelotta was unaware that after our investigations aired, eight other victims contacted the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. An administrative judge held nine hearings, the last of which was this spring.
A DMV spokesperson wrote, “The facility’s dealer license has been revoked. The administrative law judge awarded consumer restitution in each case.”
Williams also got a full refund. She and her mother sent me a text message that read in part, “We just wanted to say thank you again. We have been made whole. UAS finally returned our funds.”
As for Micelotta, he’s now sporting a used Honda he bought from a reputable dealer.
“I love it and I’m surprised this happened in this case,” he said. “And I’m surprised to actually see the system working for the little guy for a change.”
I’ve reached out to the owners since they were ordered to pay restitution. They’ve not answered my emails. And I asked the DMV if this case rises to the level of criminal prosecution. They told me cases like this are usually referred to the DMV because it has the means to force restitution, and if the dealer still won’t pay, a claim can be made against the dealer’s surety bond.
If you have a complaint against a dealer, it’s important to file a formal complaint with the DMV.