Tag Archive | "dealership"

Nine-Store Los Angeles Group Charged With Payment Packing, Yo-Yo Financing


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission today charged nine Los Angeles-area dealerships and their owners with a wide range of deceptive, and unfair sales and financing practices, including payment packing and using “yo-yo” finanicng tactics. According to the FTC’s announcement, this is the first time the regulator has filed an action against an auto dealer for engaging in yo-yo financing.

The FTC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, also charges the dealerships with violating the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, as well as the Consumer Leasing Act and Regulation M for failing to clearly disclose reguired credit and lease information in their advertising. The regulator is seeking to end the alleged practices and return money to consumers.

“The car-buying process is a two-way street,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “The FTC expects dealers to honor their contractual obligations, and will pursue those who use yo-yo financing tactics and pack unwanted costly add-ons onto consumers’ contracts.”

Charged were Universal Nissan; Kia of Downtown Los Angeles; Glendale Infiniti and Glendale Nissan; Mercedes-Benz of Valencia; West Covina Toyota/Scion; Sage Covina Chevrolet; Sage Pre-Owned; and Sage Hyundai. All are owned and operated by Sage Auto Group.

According to the FTC’s complaint, the dealerships enticed consumers — particularly the financially distressed and non-English speakers — into their showrooms with print, internet, radio and television advertisements that featured misleading claims, including that vehicles could be purchased at lower prices than the dealerships were prepared to sell them for. The dealerships also falsely advertised that customers would receive lower monthly payments and be able to provide smaller down payments for specific cars, the FTC charged.

Other tactics included advertising finance offers that were really leases. The dealerships also falsely advertised that they would pay off consumers’ trade-in vehicles. The FTC also charged the dealerships with using phony online reviews, including ones posted by their own employees, to tout their dealerships and discredit negtative reviews highlighting their illegal practices.

The dealerships were also charged with violating the FTC Act’s prohibition on deceptive and unfair acts or practices for including F&I products like service contracts and GAP in customers’ deals without their knowledge. In some cases, car buyers were told the products were free.

In some instances, according to the complaint, consumers were forced to sign new contracts with different terms than the contract they had already signed. In others, the dealerships allegedly told consumers who completed finance contracts that their agreements had been canceled and that the dealerships were permitted to keep the down payments or trade-ins. If the consumers argued these claims, the FTC charged, the dealerships claimed they could take legal action them if they did not comply.

The FTC’s complaint also lists Joseph Sage, Leonard Sage, Michael Sage, Sage Holding Company Inc., and Sage Management Company Inc. as defendants. The commission’s vote authorizing the filing of the complaint against Sage Auto Group defendants was 2-1.

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Five Star Ford of Lewisville Wins F&I Dealer of the Year Award


LAS VEGAS — Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford of Lewisville (Texas) was named F&I and Showroom’s 2016 F&I Dealer of the Year. Sponsored by The Warranty Group for the sixth consecutive year, the award was handed out last Wednesday, Aug. 31, during the magazine’s annual conference in Las Vegas.

Accepting the award on behalf of the dealership was Sue Bowman. And according to Five Star Ford of Lewisville’s community relations manager, the award topped off an eventful day and year for the dealership.

“This is amazing. Thank you so much for this award,” Bowman said after accepting the award. “This just made my day … I got a call just before we came in here that our dealership had won best dealership and best new-car dealership in Denton County. So I have worked all year for that, and with this, it’s pretty good to be me right now.”

Now in its 16th year, the F&I Dealer of the Year award is handed out annually to an operation with a highly profitable F&I department that demonstrates a commitment to regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction. Five Star Ford of Lewisville was one of six finalists, or what the magazine’s calls F&I Pacesetters, vying for this year’s award.

The Lewisville, Texas, operation is part of Five Star Ford of Texas Inc., a group that consists of four Ford dealerships located in the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The group was founded in 1980 by Sam Pack, a former Ford Credit employee who was named the TIME Quality Dealer of the Year in 1988.

The dealership’s F&I department is managed by F&I Director Tom Andrews, whose F&I team averages well north of $1,5000 per copy on new and more than $1,200 on used. In 2015, the dealership was awarded Ford Partners in Quality, Ford Credit’s highest honor for customer satisfaction and loyalty.

“It’s never easy selecting the F&I Dealer of the Year, but this year was especially difficult,” said Gregory Arroyo, editorial director of F&I and Showroom and Auto Dealer Today. “This year’s field of F&I Pacesetters included San Diego County’s Best Auto Mall, as voted on by readers of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Wisconsin’s Top Dealer, as voted on by viewers of WISN TV, multiple winners of Edmunds.com’s and DealerRater’s top customer satisfaction awards, and a dealership that adopted and helped turn around a high-crime neighborhood in Abilene, Texas.

“In November, readers will discover why Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford of Lewisville is this year’s F&I Dealer of the Year,” Arroyo added.

Five Star Ford of Lewisville will grace the cover of F&I and Showroom’s November issue, which will also include a four-page profile on the dealership. To learn more about this year’s F&I Pacesetters as well as Five Star Ford, click here.

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DealersLink Completing Implementation of Retail Tools Into Several Dealer Groups


BROOMFIELD, Colo. — DealersLink announced it is finalizing full implementation of its automotive solutions into several dealer groups, including Rob Green Auto Group, Butler Automotive Group, Haselwood Auto Group, Dave Smith Auto Group, and Strong Auto Group.

DealersLink officials said the company’s line of automotive solutions should be especially attractive to small and mid-sized automotive groups that want to streamline their dealership tools into one integrated system and reduce overall vendors costs.

“We pioneered the first dealer direct platform in 2005,” said Mike Goicoechea, CEO of DealersLink. “Now we are excited to offer the best dealership solutions for less and we now run the most efficient and robust live bidding online auction platform.”

DealersLink has been eliminating wholesale transaction fees for 10 years with over $1 billion in used inventory available 24/7. Its members use the marketplace every day to stock their lots, locate hard-to-find vehicles, sell inventory without incurring wholesale losses, arrange book for book trades, and manage their inventory with analytic tools.

DealersLink’s dealer solutions include:

  • FastBook: A mobile VIN scanner and valuation guide booking tool for a dealer’s inventory and appraisals.
  • Exportpro: An inventory merchandising tool that prepares inventory to export to all online retail outlets.
  • CloudCam: A photo solution device that scans vehicle VINs, takes 16 mega pixel photos, and attaches and uploads them instantly and wirelessly through the cloud for each vehicle in a dealer’s inventory.
  • Marketplace: The largest dealer direct wholesale network where dealers can buy, sell or trade clean quality upstream inventory with thousands of dealers directly with no transaction fees.
  • AuctionLink: A live online auction sale that runs every week, with all units priced back of book and most sold under Manheim Market Report values.

For more, visit dealerslink.com.

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Holman Group Acquires Audi Willow Grove


MAPLE SHADE, N.J. — Holman Automotive Group acquired Audi Willow Grove in Willow Grove, Pa. The dealership is now the second Audi store under the Holman brand.

Audi Willow Grove was owned and operated by Don Rosen, who has been affiliated with the Audi brand for over two and a half decades. Under his leadership, Audi Willow Grove became the fastest growing Audi dealer in the Delaware Valley.

“I have known the Holman family for many years and admire their business philosophy,” said Rosen. “The Holman family shares my focus and dedication to our people, their development and their well-being and I am confident that under their leadership Audi Willow Grove will continue to grow and be a tremendous success.”

Michael Long will become the general manager of Audi Willow Grove, having previously served as the general manager of Holman Infiniti of Maple Shade, N.J. Long began as an auditor for Holman in 1985, holding a series of management positions in the company since that time.

“We are extremely pleased to add Audi Willow Grove to our family of dealerships in the Northeast,” said Melinda “Mindy” Holman, chairman of Holman Automotive. “This will be our second Audi dealership, having opened our first — Audi Pembroke Pines — in 2009, and we are very excited to be able to expand our offerings in the Northeast with such a recognized and admired luxury marquee.”

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N.C. Dealer Hit With Third Sex Charge in Two Months


RALEIGH, N.C. — A used-car dealer was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly traded repairs on a Dodge Magnum for a sexual act. It was the third time in two months that he is facing charges related to his interactions with customers, The News & Observer reports.

Thomas Jefferson Lynn, 63, is also facing charges stemming from incidents in 2010 and 2013. The charges related to the 2010 incident were second-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree sexual offense. The dealer was also charged with sexual battery involving rubbing a woman’s body and filing a false police report after he reported a car stolen that he had sold.

To read the full story, click here.

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Dealer Hit By International Smuggling Operation


MANSFIELD, La. — After Mansfield Auto World reported that a car was stolen in a fraudulent online transaction, the U.S. Customs Service seized the vehicle from a freighter bound for Africa, the Shreveport Times reports.

The dealership reported the fraud on Jan. 15 after two credit cards used to purchase the vehicle online were declined, two days after the initial approval. The stolen cards had been used by a suspect in another case who is part of international smuggling operation, police said.

To read the full story, click here.

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