JONESBORO — A local car dealer is being sued by several Northeast Arkansans on several civil grounds, including fraud, negligence and deceptive trade practices.
Civil claims against Wesley Abernathy, his companies Abernathy Motor Company and Instant Auto Credit Corporation, were filed in Craighead County Circuit Court, records show.
In all three cases, Abernathy and his companies are being sued for fraud, breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, deceptive trade practices and conversion.
The plaintiffs are represented by Anaicka Ortiz-Reed of Legal Aid of Arkansas. Abernathy is represented by Martin Lilly of the Jonesboro-based Lilly Law Firm. Lilly did not return calls for comment.
The most recent civil complaint filed by a Tennessee resident in April claims that Abernathy sold him a faulty vehicle in August 2019 and avoided making repairs under the warranty. In spite of the mechanical issues, the plaintiff continued to make payments on the vehicle.
In his dealings with AMC, the plaintiff claims his vehicle was repossessed twice for nonpayment despite paying the dealer and having personal items stolen from the vehicle during a faulty repair, the complaint reads.
Suits filed this March and in October 2019 note that employees at Abernathy Motor Company called police on the plaintiffs and one encounter resulted in an arrest.
When a Craighead County man went to the Jonesboro dealer to inquire about repairs on his Hummer it had for months, he saw the SUV on the front row of the sales lot. He told the staff that he would get a lawyer if he didn’t get his car or the money he paid for it back.
They told police in February that he threatened to bring acquaintances back with him and shoot them during that encounter. Police sought him for first-degree terroristic threatening and executed a warrant days later at a residence in the 100 block of Ranchette Drive.
“Police broke down the door, ransacked the house and left it unsecured. … Officers confirmed that they had kicked her door in because (the plaintiff) was on federal parole and had a warrant. They explained that they left a paper on the table for reimbursement for the door,” the complaint reads.
The plaintiff’s female household member claims she was harassed by police, but the officers involved were cleared of wrongdoing, documents show.
“AMC also has a history and pattern of making exaggerated or outright false police reports when their customers challenge AMC’s business practices,” the complaint reads. “Because many AMC customers are disadvantaged in some way, or are fearful of police, these false and exaggerated police reports are especially damaging to customers and used to to get customers to drop their issues and let MAC and IACC get away with their unfair and deceptive business practices.”