Viewer calls 12 over issue with used car dealership's questionable financing

Viewer calls 12 over issue with used car dealership's questionable financing

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond woman says it happened to her and called "12 On Your Side" - she's claiming Oliver Lawrence of Chamberlayne Auto Sales took her car and kept her money too.

If the name sounds familiar, it's because we just profiled him earlier this week when authorities deemed him a fugitive from justice.

The convicted slumlord, once sentenced to live in his own rundown property, never showed up for a court case this week. In that case, Lawrence is accused of defrauding a potential renter of $1,700.

The new complaint involves a questionable used car sale.

Keishaunna Harris says Chamberlayne Auto Sales accepted her $1,000 deposit and told her she was approved for financing. Four weeks later, she says the dealership was calling her, demanding she return the car or they would file a felony warrant against her.

Harris had keys to a gold 2004 Nissan Morano. Driving was liberating, but it only lasted a month. The mother of six is back walking and riding the bus now.

Harris, an alleged victim of so-called YoYo Financing says, "When they called one day, they said bring in the vehicle or we're filing a felony warrant against you. They refused to give me my money. They told me to bring in the car. They were keeping my money."

Abused and bilked out of a thousand dollars is how she feels.

"They told me no refunds," said Harris. "My point was, I was denied, so go ahead on and give me my thousand dollars back. Just give me my money back."

Harris believes she's owed a refund since Chamberlayne Auto Sales did not secure financing and never even gave her a sales contract. She says they told her they would mail it but never did.

Harris called police to the dealership to try to get a refund.

"The man, Oliver, he told me when I went up there with the police, 'give me the keys back to the car and I can give you half your money back, because you've been putting miles on my vehicle anyway.' Like really?"

Consumer law attorney John Gayle says YoYo sales exploit people with poor credit and few options.

"Do not let them say, 'well, you have to pay mileage' because that's not what the law says," said Gayle. "You get your entire down payment back. Not the down payment minus mileage."

Gayle says the Virginia Consumer Protection Act requires dealerships to return your entire down payment or trade in, if they can't get financing. Those "No refund" signs posted around the business are irrelevant. Gayle says the signs don't change the law.

"She simply needs to have the wherewithal to say, 'I'm not going to take this anymore. I'm not going to slink away like they hope I will. I'm going to fight,' and get a lawyer and stand up for her rights," said Gayle.

Harris says late one night, Oliver had her car towed. NBC 12 Investigators went to Chamberlayne Auto Sales hoping to hear from the company after calls to the General Manager the day before went unanswered.

Several employees scurried off, not saying a word. The receptionist tells us Lawrence knows we want to talk with him and he knows we were at the dealership. She answered a call while we there in - which the caller instructed her to ask us to leave the business or call police. We were given time to leave my number but got no answer to whether Keishaunna Harris will get her thousand dollars back.

According to, an online small business directory, Chamberlayne Auto Sales was established in 2010 and has an estimated annual revenue of $1 million to $2.5 million.

We'll stay on top of this and let you know if Oliver Lawrence answers Ms. Harris' complaint. Chamberlayne Auto Sales has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau. B.B.B. records show eight complaints against the company and failure to respond to five.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.