TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a lawsuit on Tuesday against a used car dealership in Jacksonville for alleged violations of Florida's consumer protection law.
Beach Boulevard Automotive Inc., Beach Boulevard Auto Finance Inc., John King, Sr., and Barbara King allegedly took part in unfair and deceptive business practices, including affixing GPS tracking devices to cars without consumers' knowledge or consent.
The lawsuit seeks restitution for harmed consumers, as well as injunctive relief, civil penalties of up to $15,000 per violation, and attorneys fees and costs.
"According to some complaints, this business tracked consumers down using GPS devices and then repossessed vehicles even though consumers were current on payments," Bondi said. "Nearly 80 consumers filed complaints with our office, and our priority in this case is to return money to harmed consumers through restitution and to halt any fraudulent business practices."
The complaint includes eight counts, one of which alleges willfully using or threatening force or violence by using obscene and harassing language when dealing with customers, which is a violation of Florida Statutes 559.72.
The remaining seven counts alleged violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices and include requiring certain consumers to purchase credit life insurance, credit disability insurance and GAP insurance as a condition of sale; tracking vehicles via GPS tracking devices without consumer knowledge or authorization; adding to the price of a car a pre-printed, flat charge entitled "Pre-Delivery Inspection" fee using the pre-printed Used Vehicle Bill of Sale without disclosing the nature and purpose of the fee and without providing required disclosures; keeping consumers' deposits without adequate disclosure; posting false reviews on the internet; engaging in the business of selling motor vehicle retail installment contracts without a license through the Office of Financial Regulation; and wrongfully, unfairly and unconscionably repossessing consumers' vehicles.