McGraw says settlement must be enforced
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a used auto dealership in Beckley to enforce the terms of a settlement agreement.
The lawsuit, filed against Jack and Kathy Bishop, owners of Jack Bishop's Pre-Owned Auto Sales, follows a failure to comply with two agreements to make restitution to West Virginia consumers, McGraw says.
The Consumer Protection Division, McGraw said, strives to persuade businesses to comply voluntarily with the law and provide refunds to consumers before it takes legal action. The Bishops had been allowed an opportunity to voluntarily comply with the terms of a second settlement before McGraw filed his suit against them, he said.
The Bishops' dealership was first investigated by McGraw's office in Aug. 2006 after complaints were received that alleged the unlawful sale of "as is" vehicles as well as illegal repossessions.
"West Virginia is one of seven states that prohibits merchants from selling consumers goods as-is," McGraw stated.
"Car dealers are required to repair or replace a vehicle they have sold if it becomes defective shortly after the sale or after limited use.
"This protection, called the implied warranty of merchantability, is one of West Virginia's most important rights. My office will not hesitate to take action against merchants who violate their legal obligation."
The Bishops subsequently signed a settlement agreement on Feb. 8, 2008 with the state, promising to cease such practices.
Additional complaints were received by McGraw's office after the agreement was executed. The complaints alleged that defective vehicles were still being sold by the Bishops, who had failed to repair the vehicles in violation of the implied warranty of merchantability.
A second agreement was entered into by the Bishops on Dec. 1. Under that agreement, the Bishops promised to pay $8,750 in restitution.