If you run a car dealership, it’s expected that people will seek you out for service. What’s not expected, is that they will have to spend time seeking their cars.
Both Jared Scott-Ransom and Olivia Vera brought their cars to Nissani Brothers Hyundai, only to be contacted later by towing companies that were demanding money for storage and release of their vehicles. There may be as many as a dozen others trying to rescue cars that they thought they had left in responsible hands.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Vera dropped off her car at the Culver City dealer in March because of engine trouble. The dealer subsequently had the car towed away as businesses throughout the region closed because of the pandemic. The towing company then billed Vera with thousands of dollars in fees for taking in the ‘abandoned’ vehicle.
While Nissani owns a number of car dealerships throughout Southern California, his reputation as a businessman is less than stellar.
Nissani was ordered last year to pay $2.4 million in back pay and penalties to settle what state officials called California’s largest wage-theft case. A carwash he owned allegedly cheated 64 workers out of minimum wages and overtime over three years.
Jim Trainor, a Hyundai spokesman, said the closure of the Nissani Brothers dealership had less to do with the coronavirus than it did a deteriorating business relationship. He said the shutdown followed weeks of bad blood between the dealer — with Hooman Nissani running the business — and the corporate headquarters.
“This dealership voluntarily ended its relationship with Hyundai on April 6, no longer represents Hyundai as one of its dealers and is closed,” Trainor said.
“As soon as Hyundai learned of this situation and of these storage fees being charged to our customers, we quickly took steps to get all Hyundai cars out of E3’s facility and sent to a nearby Hyundai dealership where the service work would be made and our customers would be well taken care of,” Trainor said.