Attorney General Bruce Beemer announced earlier this week that that his office has filed 29 legal action lawsuits against auto dealers who are engaging in illegal sale practices.
These lawsuits come after a 2016 investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Customer Protection. After finding businesses that were selling unsafe cars, practicing unlicensed sales, and publishing dishonest advertisements, the office sent out 130 warning letters raising their concerns.
The office is now taking legal action against those dealerships that did not change their ways. Here is a quick breakdown of what each deceptive business practice includes.
Unlicensed car sales
As per federal law, those who sell or buy more than five cars per calendar year must be licensed by their state. Additionally, those licensed persons must only sell motor vehicles at the registered dealership through which they are licensed.
Naturally, it is important that all cars that are sold are safe for the driver. But, if the salesperson knowingly sells a vehicle to someone without disclosing problems, then the sale is deemed illegal. The seller must acknowledge, prior to sale, details such as chips on the engine block, whether the car is able to pass inspection, if the transmission is deteriorated, or if the car suffered from flooding damage in the past.
Unsafe cars have the potential to increase both the number of annual car crashes across the nation and the fatality rate. For perspective, currently more than 37,000 people die in road crashes every year.
Anything, whether it is a print ad or television campaign, that knowingly creates a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding is illegal.
Civil cases have a long history of not reaching trial in the Federal courts. Back in 1962, 11.5% of all federal civil cases went to trial, a percentage that has decreased to an estimated 1%. So while there’s no way to knowing how effective the legal actions will prove to be, Attorney General Beemer has high hopes these auto sales companies will be brought to justice.