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April 27, 2010
Everett car dealer accused of deceptively jacking up prices

Attorney General’s Office sues Performance Nissan and Kia for misleading sales and advertising practices

EVERETT – The Attorney General’s Office is suing the owner of two Everett dealerships for misleading sales and advertising practices that resulted in consumers paying higher prices for vehicles.

In its civil suit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, the state accuses Performance Jeep-Eagle, doing business as Performance Nissan and Performance Kia, of selling vehicles for above advertised prices and a “bait and switch” scheme where consumers paid for more expensive vehicles than those advertised.

“Performance Nissan and Performance Kia profited by advertising cars that had already been sold then unfairly steering consumers toward other vehicles,” Assistant Attorney General Mary Lobdell said.

Performance Nissan and Performance Kia are also accused of a variety of other illegal and deceptive practices, including:

  • Selling vehicles for thousands of dollars above the advertised price.
  • Advertising vehicles that had already been sold, resulting in a “bait and switch” scheme that the Attorney General’s Office believes led consumers to pay for more expensive vehicles.
  • Negotiating a verbal or informal sales or lease agreement then changing the contract terms without a customer’s knowledge or consent.
  • Misrepresenting contract terms to Spanish-speaking consumers. The Attorney General’s Office alleges that although the company advertises that Spanish-speaking staff are available to assist Latino customers and oral sales negotiations are made in Spanish, customers are referred to a finance and insurance employee who speaks no Spanish. The suit states the company failed to provide Spanish-speaking customers with a full and complete translation of documents, any oral translation of key contract terms or a Used Car Buyers Guide printed in Spanish.
  • Hiding the costs of extra products in payment quotes, an illegal practice called “packing.”
  • Using deceptive promotions, including a mailer that stated “Urgent Recall-Official Notice” and implied it was from a government agency, and failed to include all required disclosures in promotions.

The complaint alleges violations of the state Consumer Protection Act, the Promotional Advertising of Prizes Act and the Dealers’ Licenses Act. The state is asking the court to order the business to stop the deceptive actions and impose civil penalties and consumer restitution.

The Attorney General’s Office provides guidelines for dealers on its Web site at www.atg.wa.gov/dealers.aspx.


Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

 


 

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