722 Redemption Funding & Jake Sweeney Smartmart, Cincinatti, Ohio
I live in Kansas City. I attended a mandatory bankruptcy class at the courthouse in February 2008. I am currently in a Chapter 13. During the break, I inquired of an attorney hosting the class regarding what to do about my vehicle. He referred me to a company by the name of 722 Redemption Funding in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 722 redemption program is suppose to help people in bankruptcy. On their website the 722 Redemption Funding Program stated that they sold deeply discounted low mileage vehicles using the NADA clean trade-in value to people in bankruptcy. I called 722 and they referred me to Jake Sweeney Smartmart in Cincinnati, Ohio (This was sometime in late January or February 2008).
When I was first introduced to William Lackey at Jake Sweeney it was via the telephone. During my conversation with Mr. Lackey I specifically stated that I did not want a vehicle that had prior body damage or that had ever been in a collision - This request was adament and VERY important to me. William assured me that none of their vehicles had been in prior collisions and that they ran a vehicle report stating this. He then gave me a website and told me to choose a vehicle from their inventory. I looked through the vehicles and found a burgundy 2005 Ford Taurus. It looked great in the photos. He quoted me a total cost of $11,315.00 (this was suppose to be the total amount of my loan - It would have been $12,212.00 with a warantee. I choose the 2005 Ford Taurus. He would not give me any paperwork or information about the car and told me that I would get all the paperwork at the time the vehicle was delivered to me and not to worry.
Note: At first I thought the 722 Redemption Funding program was a federally funded program for people going through bankruptcy - I did not realize until just recently that Jake Sweeney and 722 are one and the same. I thought Jake Sweeney was a participant in this program to help folks in bankruptcy. I completely trusted them and felt that I was in good hands. I never dreamed that this was a private company.
The vehicle was delivered to my door at my Kansas residence. I looked over the vehicle and immediately felt very apprehensive as I noticed that there may have been some prior body damage. In fact, I confronted the delivery girl and she stated she didn't know anything. I imediately called William Lackey with Jake Sweeney voicing concern and he immediately told me not to worry. He told me that I have 30 days to return the vehicle if there is anything wrong with it. Mr. Lakey told me to sign the paperwork and take their delivery driver to the bus station. Mr. Lackey did not provide any documentation to me before the delivery of the vehicle. I felt they were completely trustworthy and that they were there to help. I did not have a car at the time of the delivery and of course I am thinking, "What am I going to do? I need to get to work." That was on March 7, 2008.
The following day, I had CCC Valuescope (Experion) run a report for me. I got the report the following monday and found out that the vehicle had been in a prior collision. In fact, State Farm had a claim on it. They paid an indemnity. I took the vehicle to the nearest Ford dealership close to my work and they wrote an estimate for damages of almost $1,000 stating that the damages were never repaired correctly. (The defects in the paint and workmanship became glaringly obvious to me.). In addition, the driver's side passenger door does not open and close correctly - this repair or replacment of the door was not included in the most recent estimate, rather an adjustment. However, the probabiltiy of a supplement replacing the door is more realistic.
The following Monday after the vehicle was delivered (4 days later), I called William Lackey at Jake Sweeney and told him that I had ran a report and had verifiable information the vehicle they sold me had prior body damage and had been in a collision - I further explained to him that the repairs were not done correctly. I aked him to pick up the vehicle. He refused stating that any body shop can write an estimate. I sent a formal certified letter to Jake Sweeney on March 24, 2008 requesting that the vehicle be returned to them.
I was able to make contact with S____ at Jake Sweeney several days after my May 24th letter. At first he would leave me on hold for long periods of time. I kept calling back and finally he took my call. He refused to take the vehicle back stating that Jake Sweeney did their "due diligence" in running a Carfax that showed the vehicle had never been in a collision. He further stated that I should have rejected the vehicle at the time it was delivered if I knew it had prior body damage. I explained that I was uable to verify this at the time of the delivery and needed a vehicle to get to work. I further explained that William Lackey told me to sign the paperwork and that if anything was wrong with the car that I could return it . I asked to be put on a 3rd party call with William - but Scott refused this. Scott said that William would never say that I could return the car in 30 days. He then put me on hold for a long period of time, came back on the phone and said that he asked William if he had said that to me...and of course, William said he did not.
The experion report I ran 4 days later confirmed my suspicions and the verifiable information trumped their data. But Jake Sweeney didn't care. The transaction was done.
Important Note: Jake Sweeney and 722 Redemption Funding are in the CAR BUSINESS! They are quite aware that the vehicle had been in a collision regardless of what report they ran! It is my suspicion that Jake Sweeney buys these vehicles at an auction for next to nothing and then they turn around and sell their vehicles at an escalated value, all the while posing to help people in bankruptcy and using Carfax or other unreliable vehicle reports to justify their actions. They are making a lot of money by taking advantage of people in immediate need - people that have next to no resources, people in bankruptcy. They have found a way to cheat people. My vehicle had been registered in several states before it got to Ohio. Everyone is entitled to a profit. I am sure we can all agree to that, but does anyone feel that Jake Sweeney Smartmart is there to really help people in bankruptcy?
Scott at Jake Sweeney admitted at that time that they purchased ALL of their vehicles at auction.
Complication: When the vehicle was delivered to me, I was told to write a personal check for the remaining balance of the Kansas Sales Tax (another story in itself) in the amount of $275. After I realized the vehicle had been in a collision, I put a stop payment on the check. Mr. William Dubois with 722 Redemption Funding is treatening me with criminal prosecution for the stop payment. He calls my work, sends letters to my home and has recently sent a letter to my elderly parents. My parents are devastated by this action. The contact information for my parents was taken from the US Bank application I submitted through Jake Sweeney.
My bankruptcy attorney, Kansas Chapter 13 Trustee - (the office that recommended the 722 program) state they cannot help me. US Bank (sponser of the 722 Program and my lien holder), Jake Sweeney Smartmart and the 722 Redemption Funding Management all state they cannot help me and that Jake Sweeney did their due diligence by running a car fax. Interestingly enough, when I talked with Scott at Jake Sweeney he told me ALL of their vehicles come from auctions.
Just today, because my father called me utterly mortified, I have filed a consumer complaint with Kansas and Ohio and have also filed a complaint with Ohio Better Business Bureau. I have contacted several TV stations and radio talk show in the Kansas City and Cincinnati area.
Since my complaint, Jake Sweeney and 722 Redemption have changed the wording on their websites. However, I printed off the old website and can verify what they were telling people. I am absolutely certain they have done this to numerous people. I wonder if predetory lending applies to car sales. I have way overpaid for this vehicle by approximately $4,500.
I want Jake Sweeney to take my car back and refund me the cost that I have incurred while I have had it. I have made both my car payments to US bank since I have had the vehicle.
I would only be a victim if I take no action, however, I know there have been other people that have been abused by this program and I want to see justice done.