Mass. AG settles with auto dealer

Bryan Cohen May 14, 2012, 9:53am


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced an agreement on Friday with a family of car dealerships based out of Hanover and Raynham to resolve allegations of deceptive marketing tactics.

McGee Wholesale Cars, McGee Motorcars Inc. and McGee Chevrolet Inc. will pay $225,000 in civil penalties, restitution and attorneys' fees to resolve allegations of placing advertisements online and in print that misrepresented the actual prices of the vehicles sold. The advertisements allegedly listed the dealer's cost instead of the sale price for cars, misleading buyers into thinking the cars were being offered at low prices that the dealership did not meet.

"We are pleased that the company has agreed to provide restitution to consumers and has taken important steps to make sure that misleading business practices do not occur in the future," Coakley said.

Additionally, dealership employees allegedly asked consumers to sign incomplete documents that they claimed would be completed using the negotiated vehicle price, while later adding information for a higher price. Employees also allegedly charged consumers fees for undisclosed or unwanted services and warranties.

Under the terms of the consent judgment, the dealership must pay $125,000 in consumer restitution, $85,000 in civil penalties and $15,000 for attorneys' costs and fees. The judgment also prohibits sales practices and deceptive marketing and implements a formal training program for all staff members involved in the financing or sales of motor vehicles to teach them how to properly comply with state regulations.

The dealership cooperated with Coakley on this matter and implemented procedural and managerial changes to address issues raised by the case. It admits no liability or wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

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