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How AutoNation®’s False Advertising And Deceptive Purchasing Process Works
With the sale of every new vehicle, AutoNation has offered its customers the “option” of purchasing an Appearance Protection package. The package, which supposedly protects against things like bird droppings, fading, and oxidation, claims to be designed to help vehicles maintain that "new car shine."
This costly “option,“ however, was not actually optional as advertised by AutoNation, but instead was automatically included as a line item on every new vehicle AutoNation offered for sale. Thus, consumers did not have the option of declining the Appearance Protection package when purchasing a new vehicle from AutoNation.
Reports And Studies Of AutoNation®’s False Advertising Cases On The Rise
AutoNation USA®, the chain of used-car dealerships run by Fort Lauderdale-based Republic Industries®, has been accused of defrauding customers and other improper business practices in Texas.
Lea Garey, an attorney for the department's motor vehicle division, said, “A complaint filed by the Texas Department of Transportation could result in civil penalties or the suspension of AutoNation's® dealer license.”
The state claims five AutoNation® dealerships in the Houston and Dallas areas and one in San Antonio failed to provide buyers with vehicle title certificates, filed false title documents, misused cardboard dealer tags, and submitted false credit applications.
Republic® operates eight AutoNation® lots in Texas.
"To have this large a case against one dealer is not ordinary," Garey said.
Republic® spokesman Jim Donahue said AutoNation® was "tardy with paperwork," and cars sometimes were sold before documents were completed.
"It will not happen in the future," Donahue said. "It shouldn't have happened in the past."
When it was formed last year, Donahue said, AutoNation® processed all titles and other paperwork at its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale–the individual dealerships now handle all paperwork, he said.
The company is confident that it can resolve the motor vehicle department's concerns without heavy fines or losing its license, Donahue said.
The Consumer Assistance Team believes that customers of AutoNation® tricked into paying deceptive fees should receive justice and compensation for losses.
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