The Reynolds and Reynolds Company announced the release of the Reynolds LAW New Hampshire F&I Library, a comprehensive catalog of standardized, legally reviewed finance and insurance (F&I) documents for franchised new car and truck dealers in the state of New Hampshire.
The printed documents in the LAW New Hampshire F&I Library also are available in a digital format, which can help facilitate the conversion to laser-printed transactions and e-contracting. Reynolds Document Services maintains licensing agreements with all major providers of electronic F&I solutions.
The Federal Trade Commission announced several internal process reforms in the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection intended to streamline information requests and improve transparency in commission investigations.
The reforms are part of efforts to further the agency’s mission to protect consumers and promote competition without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.
This past April, the FTC announced new internal Working Groups on Agency Reform and Efficiency to improve processes and focus resources. As part of this initiative, the Bureau of Consumer Protection identified best practices to streamline information requests and improve transparency in investigations.
The process reforms address CIDs (Civil Investigative Demands) in consumer protection cases, and include:
• Providing plain language descriptions of the CID process and developing business education materials to help small businesses understand how to comply;
• Adding more detailed descriptions of the scope and purpose of investigations to give companies a better understanding of the information the agency seeks;
• Where appropriate, limiting the relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies;
• Where appropriate, significantly reducing the length and complexity of CID instructions for providing electronically stored data; and
• Where appropriate, increasing response times for CIDs (for example, often 21 days to 30 days for targets, and 14 days to 21 days for third parties) to improve the quality and timeliness of compliance by recipients.
A Washington State auto dealer was ordered to pay the state $240,000 after the business’ president pled guilty to stealing retail sales tax intended for public services.
Khaled E. Saad, president of American Auto & Body, LLC, of Mount Vernon, entered a guilty plea on behalf of the corporation to first-degree theft. Saad had been accused of collecting retail sales tax and not turning it over to the state.
The court ordered the corporation to pay $240,000 to the Washington State Department of Revenue and $500 for a victim penalty assessment. The Revenue Department has received that money from the corporation.
The $240,000 judgment included assessed sales taxes the corporation did not remit, and penalties and interest.
Based on a referral from the state attorney general’s office, auditors for the Washington State Department of Revenue reviewed American Auto & Body’s records spanning March 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2015. During that time, records show Saad was vastly underreporting his corporation’s income and had not remitted to the state at least $145,512 in retail sales tax.
A used-car dealership with multiple locations in Massachusetts has agreed to pay restitution to consumers and reform its business practices to resolve countless allegations.
The settlement resolves the Massachusetts Attorney General’s claims that Auto Drive One’s sales and financing practices violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act along with the AG’s regulations. Officials said they routinely sold unreliable cars, misled consumers about financing arrangements, used false advertising including bait and switch tactics, and charged excessive document preparation fees.
Auto Drive One is located at 181 South Main St., West Bridgewater, with additional business locations in Natick and East Sandwich. Auto Drive One formerly had dealership locations in Saugus, Dorchester and Swansea, which are now closed.
The Attorney General’s office alleges that Auto Drive One misled consumers about car financing that the business could obtain by claiming it would get consumers “affordable” loans, when the majority of loans it obtained for consumers were subprime loans with 21 percent interest rates. Many of the cars had serious mechanical problems and other defects that made them unreliable or unusable for more than a short period of time.
Under the terms of the settlement, Auto Drive One will pay $50,000 in consumer restitution, with an additional $240,000 in civil penalties suspended pending compliance with the terms of the settlement. The dealership has also agreed that it will not seek to collect more than $650,000 on loans that ended in repossession.
The dealership will reduce its standard “document preparation fee” by $100 and has instituted other business practice reforms.
A recently closed Missouri car dealership has been the focus of numerous consumer complaints that claim the business failed to deliver on promises made to customers and left them without vehicle titles after purchases.
The St. Louis-area Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to use caution before dealing with Eric M. Strosnider, the owner of the now-defunct The St. Peters Auto Group in O’Fallon, Mo.,
He previously owned and operated Strosnider Pre-Owned LLC, a used-car store, and Strosnider Enterprises LLC, an auto repair shop, both of which were located in O’Fallon.
Strosnider told BBB he was forced to close St. Peters Auto Group in late May after having problems with a supplier. He told BBB he would attempt to make his customers whole.
Strosnider opened St. Peters Auto Group in May 2015. BBB began to receive complaints about the business late in 2016.
The business failed to respond to 10 complaints and had an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible, before closing. The majority of those complaints centered on the business’s failure to issue titles and make good on promises to make repairs to vehicles.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a new rule to ban companies from using mandatory arbitration clauses.
Many consumer financial providers, including buy-here, pay-here dealers, use arbitration clauses in their contracts to prevent consumers from joining together in a class-action lawsuit.
Under the rule, firms can still include arbitration clauses in their contracts. But companies subject to the rule may not use the clauses to stop consumers from being part of a group action.
The rule includes specific language that companies will need to use if they include an arbitration clause in a new contract.
The rule also requires firms to submit certain records to the CFPB, including initial claims and counterclaims, answers to these claims and counterclaims, and awards issued in arbitration. The Bureau will collect correspondence companies receive from arbitration administrators regarding a company’s non-payment of arbitration fees and its failure to follow the arbitrator’s fairness standards.
The materials must be submitted with appropriate redactions of personal information. The Bureau intends to publish these redacted materials on its website beginning in July 2019.
A Louisiana woman pleaded guilty to buying several cars with fraudulent checks.
Maria Spears, a/k/a Maria Baquedano, admitted to defrauding Gulf Coast Bank in connection with writing fraudulent checks and pleaded to bank larceny.
According to court documents, Spears opened a checking account at Gulf Coast, which was then closed in 2011 and contained no funds.
From June 2015 to March 2016, Spears wrote approximately $357,000 in bad checks. Each time a check was presented, the bank declined to release the funds as the account had been closed since 2011.
On Dec. 12, 2015, Spears purchased a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette from an unnamed dealer with a check for $80,390.29 from the closed account.
On March 5, 2016, she purchased a 2016 Nissan GTR from another dealer with a check for $130,675 from the closed account.
On March 21, 2016, Spears purchased a 2016 Cadillac Escalade Premium from a third dealer with a check for $97,590.75 from the closed account.
On March 26, 2016, Spears purchased a 2016 Nissan 370Z from a fourth dealer with a check for $44,000 from the closed account.
She also used a check from the closed account to purchase $5,000 worth of real estate.
Spears faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt set sentencing for Oct 25, 2017.
Spears was on supervised release for another federal offense when she committed this crime. On Dec. 6, 2012, Spears was sentenced to serve 21 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for wire fraud. She was ordered to pay $176,267.96 in restitution and was placed on three years supervised release.
A Wisconsin couple has sued Chase Auto Finance and its third-party providers, alleging they were victims of the illegal taking of their car.
In the complaint, the defendants – Chase Auto Finance Corp., Tri-State Recovery, and Primeritus Financial Services – are charged with violating several provisions of the Wisconsin Consumer Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The suit states the defendants repossessed a vehicle belonging to Ron and Teresa Olstad. The couple claims it was completely paid for and they had a clear title in their hand.
The Olstads allege that during their protest to the repossession, they even went with the repossession agents to a Chase Bank branch. They contend the branch manager turned a blind eye to their paperwork and said their car could be taken.
After the suit was first filed in March, the defendants filed a motion to compel arbitration.
The defendants maintain that the now-complete contract between Chase and the Olstads requires that the dispute with all defendants proceed in private arbitration.
A former car dealer was ordered to pay more than double his original fines for not complying with the terms and conditions of a consent judgment he entered into with the local district attorney.
At the end of 2016, Justin Blevins and his company, Blevins Auto Group LLC of Wichita, Kansas, entered into an agreement with the Sedgwick County District Attorney to remedy over 20 used-car sales. The District Attorney alleged that Blevins failed to disclose to 21 consumers that he could not provide legal title for the car they purchased.
As part of the consent judgment Blevins waived any claim of ownership of the 21 vehicles and agreed to pay a fine, court costs, and investigative fees by Jan. 27.
A judge increased the fine June 23 after Blevins failed to make the court ordered payments.
BMW of North America LLC is recalling 92 2013-2015 740i, 740Li, 740Lxi, 750i, 750xi, 750Li and 750Lxi and 2014 ActiveHybrid 7 vehicles.
The affected vehicles may have received incorrect replacement left rear taillight assemblies. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and replace any incorrect left rear taillight assemblies, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Aug. 7.