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And car salesmen wonder why they’re hated?

usedCarGuy.jpgLast October, 10,000 Georgia owners of GM cars got a troubling flier in the mail. Labled “Urgent Potential Recall Notice,” the flier basically claimed that their cars were unsafe and that GM had issued a recall. Trouble is, it wasn’t based on any truth or facts. Instead, according to a lawsuit filed by the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, it was part of a deceptive ploy by Bill Heard Chevrolet to get folks in to the lot to either buy new cars or get new service plans on their old cars.

Bill Heard is apparently the largest Georgia-based car dealership, and the Office of Consumer Affairs alleges that this mailing is just the latest in 16 years of deceptive practices, and the agency has had enough. While this is the first lawsuit brought against Bill Heard by the agency (in fact, it’s the first lawsuit filed by the agency at all in seven years, and the first against a dealership since 1975), this isn’t their first run-in. The agency has fined Bill Heard 15 times over the last 16 years, for almost $300,000 in total penalties and, each time, the dealership promised to stop its deceptive practices. And since it hasn’t, the agency wants to up the ante, asking for a fine of $5,000 per mailing, which adds up to a whopping $50 million.

The dealership, of course, has taken the pass-the-buck approach, arguing that it wasn’t willfully trying to break any laws and acknowledging that the mailings were obviously “not appropriate,” but claiming that it’s their ad firm’s fault. Of course it is. Bill Heard Chevrolet is also planning a lawsuit of its own against the Office of Consumer Affairs, because it thinks it’s been unfairly targeted, and that most of the complaints to the agency have not come from consumers, but from competing dealerships tying to bring down the state’s Big Dog.

| Comments (1)


hmm... who does the public hate more, lawyers or used-car salesmen?