Woman waits for refund from car dealer as dealer’s license gets suspended

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) – A Richmond woman paid for a car a year ago and it is still not sitting in her driveway.

After Nannette Motley purchased a Hyundai Sonata in November 2021 from Marcus Auto Sales, the Henrico dealer took it back in early 2022 and promised a refund.

Marcus Auto Sales
Marcus Auto Sales(NBC 12)

After getting in an accident in her old Toyota Corolla, Motley’s insurance gave her $4,000 to get a new car. Hoping to get something from a used car lot, she test-drove and liked a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

Motley says the owner, Marcus Smith, said yes to a $4,000 sales price. She paid him $2,500 and agreed to no interest financing to pay the remainder. She made two payments after the additional down payment.

“I drove the car for about three weeks and it started acting funny, so I actually called Hyundai (dealer) on the Midlothian Turnpike, and I took the car to Hyundai. They looked it over and said that I needed a new transmission,” Motley explained.

“I took the car back to Marcus and probably the middle of December, and he kept the car til February (2022),” she said. “He claimed he was getting the car fixed. In February, when I called him and asked him, what’s going on, you know, he said, ‘I don’t want to sell you the car anymore because it is not drivable. I don’t think you’re going to like it. I want to take it back and give you your money.’”

Nannette Motley purchased a 2011 Hyundai Sonata from Marcus Auto Sales. She later learned it...
Nannette Motley purchased a 2011 Hyundai Sonata from Marcus Auto Sales. She later learned it needed a new transmission. Marcus Smith took the car back and agreed to a refund.(Nannette Motley)

By October 2022, Motley still did not have her money or the car back. When the NBC12 On Your Side Investigators met her, she was driving her father’s car.

“He does want his car back. You know, he has to get around too,” she said.

For months, Motley attempted to contact Smith, mainly via text. As she continued to wait for a refund, she decided to reach out to the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board, a regulatory agency, that works with car dealers and consumers.

“I just feel embarrassed, first of all, that I even trusted him that. That bothers me the most. I actually still keep trusting that he’s going to give me my money back,” Motley said. “It took me this long to decide to even go to anybody, because I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.”

The On Your Side Investigators reached out to Marcus Smith and spoke to him on the phone. During a five-minute conversation, he said, “I can resolve that, not a problem.”

On Oct. 13, the executive director of the Motor Vehicle Board also confirmed the following: “(Mr. Smith) had reached out to Ms. Motley last week as instructed. He assured me that he would take care of this financial situation by the end of this month.”

Smith agreed to an Oct. 31 deadline to pay Motley back, but by Nov. 1, Smith told her he could only pay $1,000 and would need to pay the remainder of the refund in installments.

After he failed to pay Motley on time, the Motor Vehicle Board wrote: “Mr. Smith’s dealer’s license is suspended, indefinitely.”

Motley is still hoping Smith will return the money owed to her.


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