GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - The owner of Kia of Gastonia sold his business after mounting legal issues and months of reporting by the WBTV Investigates team. Kia of Gastonia was facing accusations that employees and contractors for the dealership falsified customers’ income without their knowledge to get vehicle loans approved by lenders.
Several former employees at Kia of Gastonia told WBTV that numerous banks would no longer work with Kia of Gastonia because so many clients were defaulting on their vehicles.
WBTV spoke with dozens of customers who said they were given several thousand dollars to help make monthly payments on cars they otherwise couldn’t afford. Many of those customers later had the vehicle repossessed when they could no longer make payments.
One bank sued Kia of Gastonia after identifying a pattern of customers who had inflated incomes on their loan applications.
Attorney Larry Serbin at the Law Office of Jason E Taylor says he will be filing more than ten lawsuits against the dealership on behalf of customers.
The new dealership is called Courage Kia and is owned by the Keffer Automotive Group.
An attorney representing Keffer provided WBTV with the following statement.
WBTV tried reaching out to an attorney for former Kia of Gastonia owner Chris Hafer but did not get a response. Hafer previously gave WBTV the following statement.
“At the time while I was recovering from heart surgery some alleged irregularities took place at Kia of Gastonia. I was made aware of these issue I have attempted to resolve those issues and have been involved with and cooperated with all investigations. I am unable to comment further due to privacy laws and the investigation.”