MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Customers who financed their vehicles through American Finance, the lending arm of American Car Center (ACC), have questions about the future of their loans after the company went belly-up on Friday.
“My payments are not behind and I’d like to keep it that way,” said Alma Williams Linsey of the loan she secured through American Car Center.
Her concerns stem from the company’s announcement it would be ceasing all business operations on Friday.
This announcement was sent, by email, to the 288 employees who worked at the ACC’s corporate headquarters on Knight Arnold Road. The email went on to say all employees must vacate by 5 p.m. on the same day.
At this time, it’s unknown how many worked for the company nationwide — but they do own 50 dealerships across 10 states.
Stephanie Berry, who worked in ACC’s Loss Mitigation Department, said her former employer had “subprime service and subprime leaders.”
“I sat on the phone for three hours this morning trying to sign up for unemployment,” Berry told Action News 5. “Just to find out American Car Center never reported my earned wages to the State of Mississippi.”
Berry says she was then told to reach out to the State of Tennessee. She said Tennessee representatives said she’s welcome to apply, but it will almost certainly be denied because she’s a Mississippi resident.
“So I do not have, and potentially will not get unemployment,” Berry said. “This is such a mess.”
Meanwhile, Linsey said she has a car payment due on Friday. But she has trepidations about sending a payment to a company that’s defunct.
“Their customer support line was cut off with the rest of the company,” Linsey told Action News 5. “And I don’t know who to talk to about this. We just want answers.”
Kevin Walters, the communications director for the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, which includes the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission, shared consumer tips regarding the American Car Center closure that have since been added to the department’s website.
“It is the Commission’s understanding that all loans made through American Car Center’s Subsidiary, American Finance, are in the process of being purchased by Westlake Financial Services. Once the purchase of the book of business is complete, Westlake Financial Services will reach out to each individual purchaser to advise of next steps.”
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