GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Breanna Echols said she's had pretty good luck with her nearly 30-year-old car, which is a 1984 Toyota Camry. However, she knew it was time to upgrade.
"I got two jobs and I need a reliable car," Echols said.
So, Echols went to a car lot called Auto World USA located at 5017 W. Glendale Ave. Echols said the company had plenty of low-cost vehicles available. She even brought along $1,000 to give as a down payment on a used car.
"I actually wanted a lower down payment," she said. "It started at $1,200 down, but he said, 'I lowered it to $1,000.'"
Echols picked out a car and said she was told to come back in a week to pick it up following some minor repairs. But when she did, what she found was an empty lot. Not only that, but Auto World USA was completely shut down and cleaned out.
Echols said she couldn't believe it and is still in shock.
"I feel like they just stole it from me," she said.
Echols isn't the only one. Other consumers say they gave Auto World USA down payments, but when they went to pick up their vehicles, the place had been cleaned out.
3 On Your Side got involved and discovered Auto World USA is run by a businessman named Gustavo R. Anaya.
According to documents 3 On Your Side obtained, Anaya's name is pretty familiar with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. In fact, he's currentely being sued by the AG for allegedly running a fraudulent loan modification scheme and violating Arizona's Consumer Fraud act.
We went to the last known address Anaya listed on court documents, which turned out to be a modest apartment with a mop by the front door, but no one answered.
As for Echols, she said she's not surprised to hear of Anaya's trouble with the attorney general and she intends on turning up the heat by filing her own complaint regarding what happened at Anaya's car lot.
In the meantime, she's out $1,000 and is left driving a 30-year-old car she was trying to replace.
"They just stole $1,000 from me, from my pocket," Echols said.
3 On Your Side has confirmed that the Arizona Department of Transportation is also investigating Auto World USA. ADOT officials said if you had similar trouble with the business, you should file a complaint with their agency. Doing so can help consumers file a claim against Auto World USA's bond even though they are no longer in business.
You are also encouraged to file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. You can find more information, including those complaint forms, at the following links:
Arizona Title Complaint Form:
For quicker service, attach and email completed complaint form to MVDLU@azdot.gov.
Arizona's Department of Transportation Dealer Licensing:
602-712-7501 and use option 7
Arizona Attorney General's Office Consumer Complaint Form: