AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An Aurora auto dealer has been shut down after an undercover investigation by CBS4, and the attorney general’s office has now filed criminal charges against the dealership.
The undercover investigation began when Annette Martin reached out to CBS4. Now the State of Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board has closed CMC Auto.
“I ran my own Carfax and right at the beginning it showed ‘total loss,'” Martin said.
She bought a used Hyundai Tucson from CMC but claims she was not told the SUV was salvaged, and the 44,000 miles on the odometer was actually supposed to be 83,000. She discovered the vehicle’s problems after the purchase.
Martin eventually got her money back, but within days the vehicle was back up for sale by the dealer.
“That made me very upset,” Martin said.
With a hidden camera an undercover CBS4 producer looked at the SUV after Martin returned the Hyundai. The manager, Martin Bernuy, never told the undercover producer the SUV was salvaged or about the odometer’s replacement. In fact, now the odometer replacement sticker was removed, which is a federal offense.
CBS4’s Jennifer Brice confronted Bernuy.
“But you were still trying to sell it after she brought it back knowing the problems with the car,” Brice said. “Why did you think that was okay?”
“I didn’t think it was okay, that’s the reason I didn’t sell it here,” Bernuy replied.
Bernuy told Brice he sold the Hyundai back to the auction.
The state’s Motor Vehicle Dealer Board began investigating CMC Auto after CBS4’s story aired. Bernuy also told an investigator he sold the car back to the auction but they discovered the Hyundai was sold to a man named Jim. Jim says he was not told about the odometer or salvage issue.
The state’s full investigation looked into 160 deals sold by CMC Auto. Seventy-three of those cars contained documents indicating CMC’s business model includes buying collision and hail damaged cars from auctions, repairing the cars, and then selling them to customers without written disclosure about the damages.
“You’re going to be on the news, on CBS4. Do you have anything to say about your business; how you’re running things? This is your opportunity,” Brice said to Bernuy.
“I like people (to) be happy with the car. If you are not happy with the car, come to me, I fix it,” Bernuy replied.
In the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board’s affidavit it says CMC Auto violated eight Colorado laws, from defrauding buyers, failing to disclose damages, and false odometers, among others. The board voted to suspend the dealer’s license.
“They have engaged in willful and deliberate acts and their conduct imposes a threat to public health, safety and welfare,” Motor Vehicle Dealer Board Agent in Charge Matt Heap said.
Knowing a car’s actual mileage and prior damage not only affects safety, but the car’s value — something Martin learned the hard way.
“It was very much a hassle and I was very afraid that were not going to get our money back and we were stuck with an 83,000-mile car,” Marin said.
CBS4 tried reaching out to the owners and manager of the dealership. They did not respond. The Motor Vehicle Dealer Board says the dealership has a few options — relinquish their license, attempt to negotiate a settlement, or request a hearing.