In a recent consent order with the Florida Attorney General’s office, a Jacksonville car dealer will waive approximately $5 million dollars in consumer debt. The case may serve as a window into practices that regulators will be increasingly targeting.
The dealer in this case installed GPS devices without consumer knowledge or consent to track and repossess hundreds of vehicles. Additionally, customers who financed their vehicles through the dealership were regularly required to purchase credit, disability, or gap insurance without being given the opportunity to opt out or inquire with other insurers. Other practices included requiring customers to pay a pre-delivery inspection fee without actually conducting any inspections and increasing customers’ monthly car payments by adding optional items to the purchase without properly informing them or obtaining their consent.
As this dealer has learned, the price of regulatory non-compliance is steep. Dealerships wishing to maintain compliance with both state and federal regulations should work with experienced counsel to identify any trouble areas before a problem occurs.