WOBURN, Mass. — The Framingham, Mass.-based AutoMax group of independent auto dealerships has agreed to settle charges leveled by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office in Middlesex Superior Court. The group and its owner, Howard J. Wilner, owe $750,000 in restitution to an unnamed number of car buyers. The settlement also includes a suspended penalty of $175,000.
The group was charged with misrepresenting warranty and service contract coverage for vehicles manufactured for the Canadian market, variously claiming their factory warranties still applied or selling service contracts incompatible with those units’ origin.
“As a result of this settlement, customers who were misled by AutoMax will get money back and the company will stop its illegal practices.”
Other charges included misrepresenting the history of off-lease and -fleet units, listing inaccurate down payments, failing to disclose $100 and $200 charges to customers with negative trade-in equity, and charging additional fees to prepare the falsified documents.
“AutoMax and its owner purposely kept their customers in the dark about the condition and history of the cars they sold and charged customers illegal and unnecessary fees,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “As a result of this settlement, customers who were misled by AutoMax will get money back and the company will stop its illegal practices.”
This article was updated to reflect more accurate settlement terms and dollar amounts.