A New Hampshire Kia dealership has agreed to a payout of $1.25 million over allegations of deceptive sales practices.
The New Hampshire state Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau investigated the business after being tipped off by customers. The Attorney General’s office reported that the probe had found evidence the company was deceiving both buyers and loan agencies by misrepresenting vehicle prices and writing false income information on applications.
However, the Kia dealership was able to reach a settlement outside of court. In addition to paying the $1.25 million bill, the company was also required to pay lawyer fees, pay damages to some of its former customers, and follow specific transparency guidelines. For the next five years, the state will monitor the business to ensure compliance with consumer protection laws.
The Kia dealership’s president has made auto-industry news before, after placing in Automotive News 40 Under 40 list in 2018. However, it is not clear what his level of involvement with the alleged scheme was. A lawyer representing the company said that it would continue focusing on its customers “providing them with the best possible service.” What the next steps are for the dealer, apart from complying with the agreement, have not been announced.
Despite the events at the Kia dealership, auto-retailers are held to high standards, which, thankfully, nearly all of them meet or surpass. Regardless, it is important to learn from the mistakes of others and ensure both managers and staff are up to date on regulations. Car sellers are encouraged to constantly educate their staff, ensuring they can provide the highest level of service without the risk of lawsuits or investigations.
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