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Dealer Pays for Targeting Spanish-Speaking Customers

Dealer Pays for Targeting Spanish-Speaking Customers Featured

A Washington State used-car dealer will pay $250,000 for discriminating against Spanish-language speakers at its dealerships.

Zein Automobiles Inc., which operates Best Bet Auto Sales and Independence Auto Center, and also known as ZAG Auto Group, ran ads in Spanish-language media, promising financing even for those without a credit history.
Most of the salespeople at Zein’s dealerships spoke Spanish, and half the dealerships’ sales were conducted in Spanish. The dealerships orally offered Spanish-speaking customers one set of terms, but presented a different set of terms in documents written in English.

As a result, the state claims, Zein Automobiles and its employees misrepresented loan terms, interest rates, title branding issues and warranties in violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the state Consumer Protection Act. The Attorney General’s Office estimates that as many as 3,000 customers may be eligible to receive money from the settlement.

Investigators found that Zein Automobiles targeted Spanish speakers by spending the vast majority of its advertising budget on Spanish-language airtime. The AGO’s Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit began investigating Zein Automobiles in the spring of 2015, after advocates from the Northwest Justice Project referred complaints to the attorney general.

Last modified on Friday, 05 August 2016 18:33
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