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Some victims of rolled-back odometers in Springfield get money back from dealer's bond

Tired of waiting for the attorney general's office to act, they went their own route.

November 19, 2012|by Sara Forhetz, KY3 News | sforhetz@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A KY3 News investigation this past summer led to the state shutting down a car dealer in Springfield.  Since then, at least three victims got their money back.

The owner of Excel Auto Group, Ashley Bolton, is headed to a criminal trial.  Excel Auto Group, formerly B and B Motors, was shut down in June after KY3 alerted the Missouri Attorney General's Office that it was selling cars that had false odometer readings.  Many of them had the mileage lowered by hundreds of thousands of miles.

Scores of customers have been waiting for some kind of restitution from the Attorney General's Office in the way of getting their money back, but they are still waiting.

Mary Taylor took matters into her own hands -- and it has finally paid off.

"There is my check -- $2,420!" Taylor said on Monday.

It was a sight whe thought she would never see.

"I got the judgment but I thought, 'Nah,' cause he (Bolton) doesn't pay his bills, and I found that out when I tried to get him to pay for part of the repair of the brakes on the car because they were bad from the day he sold it to us, very bad," she said.

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She bought a car from Bolton for her daughter to drive.  Our story about false odometer readings last June tipped her off to check out her mileage.  It was 100,000+ miles off.

"I was pretty mad, so I stuck with it."

Tired of waiting for help from the Attorney General's Office, Taylor filed a civil suit against Bolton, and won.  But still, she wasn't actually expecting to see the money.

But after a long wait, and a letter from the Department of Revenue to Bolton's bonding company in South Dakota, the check has arrived.

"The day I got it I was like, "It is actually here, I actually got it!'"

Court filings show two of three other victims who have also gone after their money in small claims court have gotten it back.  Taylor says she thinks small claims court is the best, and perhaps only shot, at ever getting money back.

"Absolutely."

The Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office recently filed two criminal charges against Bolton -- both for operating a business without a license.  That was before he was ordered to stop selling cars.

The way the bonding company works, Bolton was bonded for $25,000, and once that money is gone, it's gone.  Customers who are going to try to get money, the sooner, the better.

Experts at Nixon and Lindstrom Insurance, which is not involved with Bolton or his businesses, say it absolutely pays for consumers to make sure the companies with which they do business are bonded, and ask to see their paperwork and how much money they are bonded for.  Bonding companies protect you -- even against intentional acts.

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