Months after a suburban car dealership lost its license and was shut down, NBC 5 Responds has uncovered documents that show Nissan of St. Charles owes millions of dollars to the IRS and the State of Illinois.
The investigation began in April, when the state shuttered the dealership for failing to pay trade-in loans. Customers reported receiving auto loans for cars they had previously traded in. When those loans weren’t paid back, their credit was put at risk.
NBC 5 Responds has learned the Internal Revenue Service slapped a multi-million dollar lien on Nissan of St. Charles on March 5. Government documents reveal the corporation owes more than $2.32 million in withheld taxes between March 2017 and June 2018, as well $52,000 to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
News of the investigation triggered a firestorm on social media. More than 400 people sounded off on NBC 5's Facebook page after our exclusive report about the dealership. Many former customers complained about their experience, while others expressed concern for loved ones who made purchases from the dealership and may not be aware of the consequences.
One former customer said it took extreme measures for her to be able to pay off her loans.
"I had to go to the dealership and refuse to leave for it to happen," Carrie Gatske shared with NBC5 on Facebook. "I actually documented almost all of my calls to the dealership until I went there and demanded that the payoff was handled that day. When everything was said and done it took almost a month of me hounding them to get my payoff handled."
Although it was difficult, Gatske said she was thankful she was able to handle her payoff prior to the dealership’s closing. But she is still impacted today. Her credit report shows that she has late payment notices because the payoff was not handled in a timely manner.
Nissan North America sent a notice of termination to Nissan of St. Charles in late April, which revoked the dealership’s license. Nissan sent NBC 5 a statement, saying it regrets any inconveniences caused.
“We have attempted to help customers financed through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, but cannot offer further details because of pending litigation," the statement read. "Under the circumstances, Nissan believes customers with issues relating to this dealership’s closure are best directed to contact the Illinois Secretary of State licensing division which is responsible for enforcing laws governing dealership conduct."
Calls to the owner of Nissan of St. Charles went unanswered.
The state has set up a hotline and email for any questions and concerns regarding Nissan of St. Charles. Customers can call (630) 693-0551 x248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.