Ore. AG settles with car dealers

Bryan Cohen Nov. 17, 2011, 1:15pm


SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline) - Oregon Attorney General John Kroger announced on Tuesday that two Portland auto dealerships that were the subject of 39 complaints have agreed to pay $10,000 each and change their business practices.

The agreements were made with D&M Auto Brokers LLC and NW Asset Investments LLC, doing business as Oregon Car Connection.

Kroger's office received 22 consumer complaints since 2010 about business practices at D&M, including that it required consumers to agree that automobiles the consumers purchased were "sold as parts only" rather than disclose serious defects. Kroger's office also received 17 complaints about Oregon Car Connection since 2009.

"Used car dealers need to play by the rules," Kroger said.

In addition to paying $10,000, D&M agreed to make multiple changes to its business practices, including posting the advertised price on a vehicle, not using the name "broker" when its not acting on behalf of the consumer and not misrepresenting that a consumer can return or exchange a vehicle. In addition, D&M agreed to comply with internet advertising rules for dealers and to disclose material defects.

The company also agreed to not misrepresent warranties or misrepresent inspections, sell vehicles that aren't roadworthy, finance or sell aftermarket products for vehicles sold as "parts only," place "parts only" vehicles on the lot or direct consumers to submit false credit applications.

D&M must pay a total of $5,000 to six consumers and make other restitution to an additional four consumers. D&M could pay an additional $40,000 if it fails to comply with the agreement.

In addition to paying $10,000, Oregon Car Connection is required to make multiple changes in business practices, including posting the advertised price on a vehicle, not misrepresent the "market price" in negotiations and not misrepresent that a service contract is a warranty. In addition, the company agreed to start disclosing material defects, stop selling vehicles that are not roadworthy, stop implying that it is in the wholesale business when it is in the retail business, provide required disclosures about financing offers, and comply with the state and federal collections laws.

Oregon Car Connection must pay a total of $1,445 in restitution to two consumers. Many of the other consumer complaints have already been resolved.

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