Thought you guys might want to know about this. I saw it on the local TV News.
RV dealer's assets frozen after complaints
Sold consignment vehicles without paying original owners, victims charge
Tom McMillan, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, August 15, 2008
A Vancouver Island RV dealer has been suspended from doing business amid allegations of selling dozens of RVs on consignment and failing to pass on the profits.
The Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. recently issued a "freeze order" on the sales licence, bank accounts and assets belonging to Southwest RV and Sport Ltd. The company is one of the largest RV dealers on the Island, with locations in Sidney, Chemainus and Duncan.
"The problem's a lot bigger than we ever thought," said Margaret Myatt, one of those accusing Southwest of improper dealings. "We're out thousands of dollars and lots of other people are too."
At least 38 complaints have been filed against Southwest's consignments -- a practice the company was not authorized to perform. RV owners say they consigned with the company, but then had difficulty tracking the vehicles or receiving any profits.
"We've received a lot of complaints and the number is growing," said senior compliance officer Bruce Forbes. "Units have been sold and then the dealer has not reimbursed the original seller."
Myatt put her used trailer on consignment with Southwest on May 10, signing a contract asking $38,500 for the RV. On June 15, she was travelling through Chemainus with her husband and stopped in to see the trailer.
"We went and can't find it, and that's when the first little red flag went up," Myatt said. "My husband called the president, Kersti Clark, and she had more excuses than anybody."
The couple eventually learned the RV had been sold without their being notified. Myatt said Clark refused to help locate the trailer and has since become unreachable.
To date, they've received $7,000 for the trailer, but the balance was never delivered, Myatt said.
Southwest RV customers are also accusing the company of wrongdoing. The sale authority is investigating at least one case in which a person bought an RV for about $150,000 only to learn there was an $87,000 bank lien against the motor home.
Notably, Southwest RV has a satisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island. To rate as "satisfactory," a company must be in business for at least 12 months, and be free from "an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action."
Calls to Southwest RV's Vancouver Island locations went unanswered.
Myatt said there is no word on whether they will be reimbursed or if their RV will be returned. Customers who have consigned with Southwest are encouraged to contact both the sales authority and Campbell Saunders Ltd., the receiver for Southwest's assets.
"It's just sad because the trailer was the only thing given to me by my late father," Myatt said. "This whole process sort of backfired on us."
tmcmillan-Do Not Post Email Addresses-tc.canwest.com
RV dealer suspended and "freeze order" issued
BURNABY, BC, July 23 /CNW/ - Southwest R.V. and Sport Ltd., with
Vancouver Island locations at Sidney, Chemainus and Duncan has been suspended
from doing business by the Registrar of Motor Dealers. A "freeze order" was
issued July 15, 2008 on all of the dealership's assets and bank accounts and
the salesperson licence of the company's dealer principal, Kersti Clark, has
also been suspended.
Southwest and Ms. Clark have been a subject of concern for the Motor
Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. (VSA) since they were first denied permission
to conduct consignment sales, shortly after the company obtained a dealer
licence in 2006. The recent action concerns multiple complaints involving
Complaints since March 2008 involved consigned recreation vehicles worth
approximately $225,000, subsequently sold by Southwest, but the complainants
reported difficulty tracking either their vehicles or their money. A portion
of the proceeds were paid to the consignees after the VSA commenced its
investigations, but there is still an outstanding amount of approximately
$100,000 yet to be accounted.
"Consignment issues cause our investigators a great deal of concern,
which is why the regulations award the privilege only to experienced,
established dealers with an impeccable track record," said Denis Savidan, the
VSA's Manager of Compliance and Investigations. "In this case, there is an
allegation that one of these RVs was rented to another customer by Southwest
with no remittance of cash to the rightful owner."
Consignment sales are frequently approved for established dealers who
have a documented history of professional conduct, no consumer complaints or
compensation fund claims, subject to letter of credit requirements and the
dealer complying with the Motor Dealer Consignment Sales Regulation under the
Motor Dealer Act.
Southwest RV & Sport Ltd. had been denied such permission because they
lacked the obligatory three years of experience and demonstrable credibility.
A Judicial Review to appeal the Registrar's ruling was filed by Southwest
RV & Sport Ltd. in the British Columbia Supreme Court in early 2007. That was
ultimately rejected by Justice Wong, who ruled that the Legislation empowers
the Registrar to establish appropriate criteria before consideration of an
application to accept and sell vehicles on consignment and, if those
conditions are met, to then decide each case on its own merit.
The company subsequently filed an appeal of this ruling in the B.C. Court
of Appeal, a case which is to be heard in September. This is a completely
separate issue from the alleged egregious matters that have led to the
suspension of both the company's dealer license
and Ms. Clark's salesperson
Consumers who have had consignment dealings with Southwest RV & Sport
Ltd. are encouraged to call the following number.
For further information: Bruce Forbes, Senior Compliance Officer, VSA at