Bryan Cohen Apr. 5, 2013, 5:26pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a $75,000 settlement on Thursday with an automobile performance chip dealer who allegedly engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices.

James Alifraghis operated several businesses, including Surge Performance, RS4 Performance and SLR Motorsports, and allegedly sold more than 1,000 fake automobile engine devices to consumers throughout the nation.

Alifraghis allegedly made false promises about the chips providing better auto performance and higher gas mileage and failed to abide by a no questions asked full money-back guarantee when hundreds of consumers requested a refund.

"Misrepresenting the benefits of a device and then failing to honor a promised money-back guarantee are both violations of our state's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act," Bondi said.

"I am pleased that my office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were able to provide refunds to consumers who have been affected."

Tests by an automotive engineering expert found the chips did not improve performance or mileage and could actually damage auto engines and void car manufacturer warranties.

More than 700 consumers will automatically receive a refund from the company, including consumers who made a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or Bondi's office and consumers who returned the product to the company's P.O. box.

Customers who purchased a chip after July 1, 2009, and never made a complaint may contact Bondi's Consumer Protection Division for a refund before April 30.

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