Sensing something was amiss several months prior to Arrow Trucking’s chaotic collapse in December 2009, OOIDA Member Mark Miller of Portland, OR, made the decision to pay off his truck early and cut all ties with the company.
In July 2009, he called Arrow’s financing department to find out what the payoff amount was on his 2006 Kenworth T600. For more than four years, he had been making payments on the truck through Arrow’s lease-purchase program.
Then on Aug. 13, 2009, after selling stock to come up with the remaining amount of $23,500 that he still owed on the truck, he paid the truck off and was told by Arrow that the truck was his.
“At that time, I was mailed a signed title that’s notarized and signed over to my wife and I, and a signed and notarized bill of sale that says the truck’s paid in full,” Miller told Land Line on Monday, Jan. 11.
However, Miller added there was also a sticky note on the title, stating that the lien holder would release it in six to eight weeks.
In October 2009, Miller said he started inquiring about why the lender had not released the lien yet. After being transferred through various departments at Arrow for more than three months, Miller said he was never given an explanation about why he hadn’t received the lien release for his truck.
By that time, he had already leased on with another carrier.
Then on Dec. 22, 2009, he received an alarming phone call from another Arrow driver with the news that the company was unexpectedly shutting down.
“This guy called me because he knew I had been fighting to get my (clear) title from Arrow. So after he called, I immediately called Arrow and got that ridiculous recorded message telling drivers to turn in their trucks,” he said. “So then the next day I called Daimler to ask about a title release for my truck and I was told, “What release? That’s our truck. We didn’t know Arrow sold it.”
Miller said Daimler went on to confirm that they have no record of him making payments on the truck, even though his records show he paid a little more than $130,000.
“The options they are giving me are to fill out a credit application for financing on a truck I already own or turn it back in,” he said. “But I am not willing to do that because this is my truck.”
Miller was also told by a Daimler representative that Arrow had refinanced the terms on his truck, as well as other drivers’ trucks with lease-purchase agreements without notifying them. He was also told that in November 2009, three months after his truck was paid off, Arrow was attempting to negotiate another loan that included his truck.
He also has had to cancel his lease with his new motor carrier because he can’t drive his truck until this “mess is cleared up.”
Numerous lawsuits have already been filed against Arrow and its former CEO Doug Pielsticker. On Jan. 8, Arrow filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and estimates the number of creditors as between 1,000 and 5,000. In the petition, the company reports both assets and debts as between $100 million and $500 million.
Miller has filed criminal charges with the city of Tulsa, OK, where the company was based, related to the complicated legal issues surrounding his truck’s title. He said he was contacted by an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation a few days ago about his case against Arrow. He was told that local, state and federal agencies are all working together to determine whose jurisdiction this falls under.
“I may starve in the meantime, but I am determined to see this through,” he said.
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer