The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that the agency “has reached an agreement with Richard Perry, owner and director of a group of bankrupt auto dealerships in Arizona and New Mexico, to settle charges that he and the dealership deceived consumers and falsified information regarding vehicle financing applications. . Those affected are members of the Navajo Nation.”
According to Samuel Levine, acting director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Consumer Protection, “When Berry auto dealerships falsified income and initial payment information to qualify people for loans they couldn’t repay, they put people into failures—including defaults, Ownership and credit ruined. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission sued Perry and his agents.”
The Federal Trade Commission stated in a press release that:
The FTC reached an earlier settlement with the four dealerships: Tate Auto Center in Winslow, Tate Automobile, Tate Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, and Tate Auto Center in Gallup. If approved by the district court, the current settlement against Perry, would result in the payment of $450,000 to the Federal Trade Commission and the termination of the FTC case.
The FTC complaint, filed in August 2018, alleged that the defendants falsified consumer income and down payment information to obtain vehicle financing and engage in illegal advertising. In an earlier ruling in the case, the judge found that the defendants had violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) by failing to disclose legally required information in their advertisements.
In addition to the $450,000 payment, the proposed settlement prevents Perry from misrepresenting information in documents relating to a consumer’s purchase, financing or leasing of a vehicle, misrepresenting costs or any other material fact related to vehicle financing. The proposed order also requires Berry to provide adequate time for consumers to review and obtain a copy of the relevant vehicle financing documents and prevents him from violating TILA and CLA.”
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. Car dealers are notorious for targeting and deceiving people of color – including Native Americans, recent immigrants and others they consider vulnerable – causing extreme hardship and sometimes homelessness when their victims lose their only means of transportation to work/study/childcare/medical care.
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