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Dealerships Refund Customers for F&I Products

November 1, 2004

Two Clearwater, Fla., dealerships issued refunds totaling $1.7 million to more than 1,200 customers who claimed that products were added to their sales contracts without their knowledge.

The Florida Department of Financial Services conducted a two-year investigation of Clearwater Mitsubishi and Clearwater Toyota, reported the Tampa Bay Business Journal. According to the investigation, products such as vehicle service agreements, scheduled maintenance repairs, GAP and VIN etching were stuffed into the deals.

The Department ordered refunds for customers who bought vehicles from these dealerships between April 1998 and March 2002, according to the paper's report.

Sonic Automotive, which owns the dealerships, worked with the state on the refunds and started a corrective plan to prevent such practices, said Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer.

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