Arizona Dealer is a victim of aggressive tactics and poor management

By: DavidPage

What if the U.S. Army forbids military personnel from shopping at a car dealer? Do you want to buy a car from someone who has a history calling police on customers and lying about their warranty?

No? No.

Rick Johnston and his sons Beau, Heath and Heath own and operate two Arizona auto dealerships. Recent allegations against the Johnston family suggest that Johnston’s days of operating car dealerships may be over. Fort Huachuca Army Base banned military personnel from purchasing cars at any of the Johnston’s dealerships last month. Tanja Linton, an Army spokesperson, stated that “we were concerned about our service members being taken advantage of.”

Victims of aggressive and illegal dealership sales tactics are often reluctant about sharing their experiences. However, James Tuman, a U.S Army soldier has been openly speaking out about his experiences.

Ideal Automotive used car

Tuman owned a motorcycle, an SUV and traded it in for a Johnston’s Ideal Automotive used car. Tuman soon discovered that the car had many mechanical issues after he drove it. Ideal Automotive refused to accept Tuman’s return and denied him a refund. They offered to return the car and then sell it to him. Tuman was not satisfied and said that he would file an official complaint. Ideal Automotive threatened to retake the car if Tuman didn’t meet his obligations. Tuman’s security clearance could be affected by a repossession (military rules prohibit soldiers with repossessions from holding high security clearance), so Tuman had to either accept the dealer’s mistreatment of him or risk his career.

Tuman isn’t the only one. The Arizona Business Bureau has received 30 complaints from Johnston Shield, Inc., against Tuman since 2005.

These dealerships are accused of selling unwanted trade-ins, refusing to refund deposits, and falsely claiming that parts covered by warranty. The Arizona Star reports that there are claims that Johnstons sold damaged cars and called the police on customers for unjustified reasons.

Company filed for bankruptcy

Johnston’s are under fire for not only their customer issues. The company filed for bankruptcy in July, stating that it owed $2.1 million to unsecured creditors. This includes more than $1,000,000 to the IRS and approximately $283,000 to Arizona Department of Revenue for payroll tax and sales tax.

Another example is making finance deals for less than two years without a license. The dealership may face serious penalties of up to $5,000 per day even though they have a valid license. The Transportation Department is taking heat from the dealership for continuing to issue temporary plates. The Transportation Department placed an order to stop them from issuing temporary plates. This was because the dealer had issued plates with incorrect VINs on five occasions. More fines are likely to follow this violation.

Johnston Shields, Inc.’s future is uncertain due to rising expenses, a shrinking customer base, and poor publicity.

A quick Google search will bring up many negative reviews. This review: “If I could give the business negative stars, I would.” Ex-cons ran this company and they have wronged many customers. They also violated several laws.

There are also positive reviews on sites such as Although I don’t want to suggest that everyone had a terrible experience at Johnston’s dealerships I can tell you that most people who speak up aren’t very nice.

What is the lesson? The lesson? Negative reviews are inevitable for every business, but be aware of dealerships that have a lot of complaints.