American Car Center closes dealerships suddenly, customers left with questions

CHARLOTTE — American Car Center went out of business across the country. The dealership had a location on North Tryon Street in Charlotte. It’s not clear why, but it posted an apology on its website to customers.

A lot of customers have questions about payments, tags, titles, mechanical issues, and more.

Tnequa Watkins was “genuinely happy” the car she bought from American Car Center runs well, but her temporary tag expired. She says her brother’s did too — he also bought a car from the dealership.

“So, what am I supposed to do, drive around illegally or leave my car parked and not have a job that I have, to find the money to continue to pay these car payments?” she asked. In the meantime, Watkins says she’s paying for a car she can’t legally drive. “I have no other transportation,” she said.

Here’s what anyone in this situation should know:

1. If you have a temporary tag, contact the DMV. Have your bill of sale or lease agreement handy.

2. Keep making payments. You don’t want to hurt your credit. You can pay these four ways.

- Pay online at amfinancial.com.

- Pay by phone at 877-720-4477.

- Pay in person at a CheckFreePay location. Find a location here.

- Pay by mail. Make checks or money orders payable to Westlake Portfolio Management. Include your billing payment slip or write your Westlake account number on the check. Allow seven business days for delivery if using standard mail.

• Regular mail:

Westlake Portfolio Management

P.O. Box 847405

Los Angeles, CA 90084-7405

• Overnight mail:

Westlake Portfolio Management

ATTN: LBX # 847405

3440 Flair Drive

El Monte, CA 91731

3. As you may have noticed in No. 2, a group called Westlake Portfolio Management is handling the payments for American Car Center. If that company contacts you, take it seriously, it is not a scam.

For general questions, customers can contact WPM at 877-854-1898 or wpmcustomercare@wpmservicing.com.

For credit inquiries associated with WPM reporting contact creditbureaus@wpmservicing.com.

4. American Car Center is based in Tennessee, where dealers are required to be bonded. If you have a problem with your car, there may be money you can tap into. File a complaint with the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission here.

5. You can always talk to a lawyer if you think you need more help.

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