Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday sued a now-defunct used car dealership in Akron on allegations that the dealer employed “unfair and deceptive” business practices that cost consumers $160,000.
DeWine is asking a Summit County judge to order Phoenix Indoor Auto Sales to reimburse the state the $160,016.31 that DeWine dispersed to the dealer’s customers to cover expenses incurred as a result of Phoenix’s alleged misdealings. If a judge rules in favor of the state, the owners also could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Dave and Lisa Severy, who owned Phoenix, would be barred from doing business in Ohio until all fines were paid.
Phoenix formerly operated at 903 E. Tallmadge Ave. The building is now operated by KNH Wholesale under different ownership.
According to the lawsuit, Dave and Lisa Severy failed to deliver vehicle titles within 30 days of sales, as is required by Ohio law. DeWine said the couple, formerly of Peninsula and now living in Wisconsin, also failed to honor warranties they promised to customers and either sold or would not return vehicles placed in their care for repairs.
Customers alleged similar deception in interviews with the Beacon Journal in January.
DeWine said more than 100 customers of Phoenix filed complaints with his office.
“We found a pattern of violations in this case,” the attorney general said. “Those responsible must be held accountable.”
Interviews by the Beacon Journal earlier this year revealed Dave and Lisa Severy had practically vanished in the midst of customers demanding that their business deliver titles and honor warranties. Their son, General Manager Austin Severy, told a reporter his parents had gone missing.
DeWine’s lawsuit listed an address in Oshkosh, Wis., as the couple’s current address.
The couple could not be reached for comment via messages on social media and did not have an attorney listed in court records on Tuesday.
This isn’t the first time Dave Severy encountered legal trouble while operating Phoenix. He was convicted of passing bad checks in 2008 and had charges dismissed related to motor vehicle titles. He had also been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars by other private businesses.
Reach Nick Glunt can be reached at 330-996-3565 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGluntABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ngfalcon.