Attorney General Raoul and FTC announce settlement with Illinois-based automotive group over illegal charges and racial discrimination – The Southland Journal

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Attorney General Raoul and FTC Announce Settlement with Illinois-Based Automotive Group Over Illegal Fees and Racial Discrimination (Chicago, IL) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul and the FTC have announced a regulation which forces North American Automotive Services Inc., also known as Edward Napleton Automotive Group (Napleton), to pay $10 million to resolve allegations that dealerships charged illegal fees. The settlement was filed with a complaint alleging Napleton dealerships were unlawfully charging consumers for unwanted “add-ons,” discriminating against black customers by charging more for financing, and violating Illinois motor vehicle advertising regulations. by including coupons and free gift offers in its advertisements.

“I appreciate the FTC’s partnership in holding Edward Napleton Automotive Group accountable for its abusive and discriminatory practices in Illinois and several other states across the country,” Raoul said. “A vehicle is a major purchase, and the process can be overwhelming for consumers. We will not tolerate dealers who take advantage of customers by charging them for additional products and features that they have never accepted – or explicitly refused.

“Working closely with the Illinois Attorney General, we hold these dealerships accountable for discriminating against minority consumers and introducing unwanted charges on people’s bills,” SL said. “Especially as families struggle with rising car prices, dealerships who cheat their customers can expect to hear from us.”

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Napleton, which is based in Illinois but has dealerships in multiple states. Raoul and the FTC allege that eight Napleton dealerships and the general manager of two Illinois dealerships illegally added fees for unwanted “extra” products, such as payment insurance and paint protection. Illegal charges cost consumers hundreds or even thousands of dollars. A survey cited in the complaint showed that 83% of shoppers were charged for add-ons without permission or as a result of deception. A consumer reported that an Arlington Heights, Illinois dealership charged him nearly $4,000 in additional fees after paying a similar amount as a deposit.

According to the complaint, dealers often waited until the end of the hours-long negotiation process to introduce fees for add-on products and services into customer purchase contracts, which are often up to 60 pages long. These charges were often added when customers specifically declined the add-ons or had confirmed prices that did not include the add-ons. In other cases, customers were misinformed that the add-ons were free or required to purchase or finance their vehicle.

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Monica Gordon

The complaint also alleges that Napleton dealerships discriminated against black customers financing the purchase of vehicles. Napleton employees had wide latitude to increase the cost of a customer’s loan by increasing the amount paid in interest or inserting additions into the final contract. According to the complaint, black customers were charged about $190 more in interest and paid $99 more for similar add-ons than white customers in the same situation.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, $9.95 million of the $10 million judgment will be used to provide financial relief to consumers, and $50,000 will be paid into the Court-Ordered and Voluntary Payment Projects Fund. Illinois Attorney General. Consumers eligible for assistance will be contacted by the FTC.

The settlement will also require defendants to establish a comprehensive fair lending program which, among other things, will limit the additional interest mark-up customers may be charged. The settlement also requires defendants to charge customers additional fees only after receiving express, informed consent. Dealers are also prohibited from misrepresenting the cost or terms of buying, leasing or financing a car, or whether any fees or charges are optional.

The defendants in the case are:

  • North American Automotive Services, Inc., also doing business as Ed Napleton Automotive Group (Oak Brook, Illinois)
  • Ed Napleton Elmhurst Imports, Inc., also doing business as Napleton’s Kia of Elmhurst / Ed Napleton Acura (Elmhurst, Illinois)
  • Napleton’s Arlington Heights Motors, Inc., also doing business as Arlington Heights Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (Arlington Heights, Illinois)
  • Hitko Kadric, general manager of the two Illinois-based dealerships
  • North Palm Auto Park, Inc. of Napleton, also doing business as Northlake Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Napleton (Lake Park, Florida)
  • Napleton Enterprises, LLC, also doing business as Napleton’s South Orlando/Kissimmee Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (Kissimmee, Florida)
  • Clermont Motors, LLC, also doing business as Clermont Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Napleton (Clermont, Florida)
  • North Palm Motors, LLC, also doing business as Northlake Kia of Napleton (North Palm Beach, Florida)
  • Ellwood Motors, Inc. of Napleton, also doing business as Ellwood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Napleton (Ellwood City, Pennsylvania)
  • Napleton’s Mid Rivers Imports, Inc., also doing business as Napleton’s Mid Rivers Kia (St. Peters, Missouri)

Attorney General Raoul and FTC Announce Settlement with Illinois-Based Automotive Group Over Illegal Fees and Racial Discrimination

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