TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Off Lease Only, a popular used car dealership, abruptly closed earlier this month, laying off hundreds of employees and leaving customers in a lurch.
Just days before the sudden closure, a Brandon family forked over $3,200 for a car they never received. They want their money back.
Bill and Misty Berger helped their 16-year-old son buy a 2012 Hyundai Elantra from Off Lease Only in Bradenton.
On September 4, they plunked down $3,200 for the down payment, and the car was supposed to be delivered to their home a few days later.
Instead, three days later, they saw a note on the dealership website: it closed and filed for bankruptcy.
“You have to know as a company that you may be filing bankruptcy, something’s wrong. Why would you take my money?”
The next day, their $3,200 check cleared the bank.
Off Lease Only was based in South Florida and had five dealerships throughout the state, including the one in Bradenton.
The company disclosed assets and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million, and between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors, according to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken reached out to a public relations firm working with the company and was told the company is working to return deposits for deals that weren’t financed yet.
That would include the Bergers. They say the loss of the down payment hurts even more because their son earned the money himself.
“He’s actually working at a local pizza place delivering pizza,” he said. “He absolutely loves it and he’s been saving tips and all his money to go towards this car.”