Tuesday

Car Dealer Pays $600,000+ to Settle 16 Lawsuits, 5 Complaints

The headline reads "Auto Dealer Target of Lawsuits"

Burdge Law Office has been fighting car sales fraud in Ohio and Kentucky for more than 25 years and the consumer complaints about Ohio and Kentucky car dealers haven't stopped coming into the office. Headlines in local papers, like the one above, seem to just keep happening.

In fact, we are seeing more complaints about vehicle sales fraud than ever before, many of them alleging a "systematic and organized pattern" of deceptive practices that sometimes have cost consumers thousands of extra dollars in each sale.

Allegations include the use of a "5 finger close" where the finance salesperson holds their hand on the paperwork while getting the customer's signature on a contract that includes extra charges they were not aware of, charging $1,249 or more for rust-proofing that may not even on the vehicle being sold, charging exorbitant prices for window "theft deterrent" etching that consumers and others allege is nearly worthless, among other things.

Some consumers explain that the extra charges occurred in a way that is called "payment packing" in the auto sales industry - where extra charges are added in the dealer's payment amount quoted early in the process without the customer knowing about it. The customer thinks buying the car will cost, for example, $400 a month because that is what the dealer said. But in fact the dealer knew that it would only cost $350 a month but they said $400 so that the finance office would have $50 of "leg" in the deal --- where they could add extra cost products without surprising the buyer when they hear the finance office quote the precise monthly payment amount for the vehicle.

We have seen charges on sales papers that seem exorbitant compared to what other dealers charge for the same or similar products and services. Dealers charge extra for what they commonly call "soft add on" products. They are called that because they add no real "hard" value to the vehicle being sold in the deal.

Soft add on's may include such things as "Personal Assistant," Gap insurance (which in Ohio is not really insurance at all), extended warranties, "dent" repair services, "security coding" (which is really just window stickers or hard-to-see etching), and "key" replacement programs.

The tactic of a salesperson or the finance office misquoting a payment amount to a prospective buyer is widely called "payment packing" in the car sales industry and has been admitted to be deceptive.

In the summer of 2013 one dealer's general manager was quoted in an Automotive News article as saying, "If somebody's numbers have fallen in finance, they know there is a talent pool of aggressive salespeople who want their job." And, the article goes on, if the numbers fall the finance salesman can find himself back on the floor doing ordinary sales work.

The result of the rising tide of consumer complaints about sales fraud is a rising number of lawsuits involving both new and used vehicle sales and leases throughout Ohio as consumers seem to be discovering what happened to them at car dealerships who engage in such unfair and deceptive practices.

If you were ripped off by a car dealer or treated unfairly or with deception, call Burdge Law Office on their Toll Free Car Sales Fraud Hotline, 1.888.331.6422 or email them for free help getting back your money and getting justice.


Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers For Over 25 Years