Valley man fights to have key returned from car title company

Posted at 6:03 PM, Aug 16, 2016

A Valley man says he hasn't been able to get his car key back, even after paying off the title loan company that was holding them as collateral.

In 2011 Tom Gilliam, of Avondale, took out a $1,500 loan from Southwest Title Loan.

He used his 1968 Plymouth VIP as a collateral and had to turn over the spare keys as part of the deal.

After some financial and medical hardships he was finally able to pay it off in April 2016.

He got the title back, but he says he couldn't get any information about his keys.

"I went back the second time in person they promised me they'd have the keys in a week.  I waited to two weeks, went back--we don't have them they're in a storage facility we don't have the manpower to go look for them," Tom says.

So he checked again. This time an employee agreed to have the car re-keyed but would need to get approval.

"That was probably the end of April and I haven't heard nothing from them since," Tom says.

"That's not a good feeling to know that at anytime somebody could stick a key in a door put it in the ignition and walk off with something that is yours," he says.

So Tom let me know.

We contacted Southwest Title Loans and they responded almost immediately.

In a statement a spokesperson says in part:

"An internal investigation...concluded that an administrative error resulted in both the misplacement of Mr. Gilliam's key as well as the oversight in our communications. These matters have since been addressed with staff and have been implemented as part of our training curriculum..."

A few days after we contacted them Tom got the call he had been waiting for.

"He ended up reimbursing me enough money to buy the locks and have them put in," Tom says.

Thanks to Southwest Title Loans for getting on this quickly.

The company says it no longer requires that people leave a spare set of keys with them.

If you have a title loan issue, go to the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.

Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an email or attach a video explaining the problem.

And you can reach me on Twitter  or "like" the Let Joe Know Facebook and tell me about it there.