Salem, Ore.—Attorney General Hardy Myers recently filed agreements in Marion and Washington County Circuit Courts with two car dealerships and a direct marketing company for allegedly luring consumers onto automobile sales lots with direct mail flyers containing false offers of credit, reported the Salem News.
Listed in the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) filed in Hillsboro are Hillsboro Automotive Group Inc., doing business as Hillsboro Chrysler Jeep, Larry Miller Chrysler Jeep and Larry Miller Hillsboro Chrysler Jeep and Larry H. Miller Corporation-Oregon, doing business as Honda of St. Johns and Larry Miller Honda of St. Johns. The AVC admits no law violation.
Direct Marketing Associates Corp., doing business as onlinebankmanager.com and Evergreen Automotive Acceptance, and its president, John Rainey, were named in the AVC filed in Salem. The AVC admits no law violation.
Oregon Department of Justice legal staff found that both the Hillsboro and St. Johns dealerships sent out “Vehicle Buyback Notice” flyers in June offering to “buy back consumers current vehicles at 20 percent of $4,000 over NADA book value.” This violates an Oregon Administrative Rule that makes it illegal to guarantee a minimum amount that will be paid for a trade-in.
The dealership flyers also stated that recipients had been “pre-approved” for loans “of up to $42,988” at a 4.9 percent interest rate with “no money down.” This offer does not comply with the federal Truth in Lending Act.
It was also discovered that Evergreen Automotive Acceptance and Financial Services are not finance companies and cannot extend credit.
Under the settlement, the marketing company must comply with state and federal law when obtaining mailing lists for marketing “pre-approved” loans and loans must be firm offers of credit through a valid finance company.
Oregon Department of Justice has settled or is currently in settlement negotiations with all three dealerships.