Suit filed against Fla. used car dealers

Nick Rees Oct. 26, 2009, 1:13pm


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - A lawsuit was filed Monday against several related used car dealers in Pompano Beach by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum over allegations of deceptive and unfair business practices.

The lawsuit follows numerous complaints against Hollywood Auto Gallery, Inc., and Zachary S. Kessler, the company's owner, that were filed with the Attorney General's Office in reference to warranties that Kessler and his related businesses advertised.

Hollywood Auto Gallery, Inc., allegedly advertised that all of the vehicles it sold were under warranty with Kessler verbally assuring consumers that their purchased vehicles would be covered. The warranties, in actuality, were limited warranties that were only good for a maximum of $500 in repairs.

Kessler is also alleged to have assured consumers that, following a deposit on a vehicle to hold it, a mechanic would be allowed to inspect the vehicle within three days of the deposit. Consumers who attempted to have a mechanic examine their prospective purchase were then allegedly told that their deposit, regardless of a mechanic's findings, committed them to purchasing the vehicle.

Kessler and his companies, the complaints said, sold vehicles that were in such bad condition that they were not road-worthy, including complaints of a transmission that was completely worn out and an engine in need of a total overhaul, and would often break down only miles from the car lot.

Consumers also complained that refunds for the shoddy vehicles were not obtainable from Kessler and his companies.

McCollum's lawsuit seeks injunctive relief against Kessler and Hollywood Auto as well as UltimateCarDeal.Com, CashOnlyAuto.Com and CheapestCarsIn Florida.Com, related businesses operating under fictitious names.

McCollum's request for relief includes prohibiting further business activities in the sales of used vehicles, restitution for all victimized consumers, civil penalties of $10,000 to $15,000 for each violation of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act and reimbursement for fees and costs related to the investigation.

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