A pair of North Carolina independent dealers received a six-figure penalty from the state’s attorney general.
This week, North Carolina attorney general Josh Stein announced that his office won a consent judgment against Nathaniel Thomas Brown and Samuel Ross Ketner and their dealerships — Auto House of Mooresville and Auto House of Salisbury — over deceptive sales and business practices that violated North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The judgment requires the defendants to pay $160,000 in consumer restitution and fees and permanently bans them from engaging in any dealership business in North Carolina.
The lawsuit against Brown and Ketner alleged that they altered car bodies, emblems, interiors and accessories to make them appear as if they were of a higher trim level, and therefore of a higher value.
The suit further alleged:
— The defendants distributed promotional material to consumers that falsely implied that the recipient had won a prize,
— The defendants altered or falsely reported information on buyers when submitting credit applications to finance companies
— The defendants collected payment for service contracts with a third party but never submitted the service contracts or the payments to the third party
— The defendants sold vehicles without accurately disclosing the damage history of each vehicle.
“I’m pleased that these defendants won’t be able to take advantage of other North Carolina consumers,” Stein said in a news release. “My office will hold accountable businesses that scam customers. That’s what the law demands.”
The complete judgment can be viewed here.