Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a court action in Marion County Circuit Court against RTN, Inc. and all 17 of its Ron Tonkin dealerships requiring them to implement a number of changes in their business practices. The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, admitting no law violation, names RTN, Inc., and dealerships under the name of Ron Tonkin Nissan, Chevrolet, Honda, Acura, Lincoln-Mercury, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Dodge, Toyota, and Westside Used Cars, Ron Tonkin Leasing, Ron Tonkin Imports, Tonkin Motors and Ron Tonkin Truck Center.
"We have entered into this agreement with the Tonkin dealerships in an attempt to address past issues of misleading advertising and consumer complaints and to avoid future problems," Myers said. "This is a positive step towards implementing changes within the dealerships and in the automobile industry in general. As one of the state's largest dealers, Tonkin's changes will become standard in the industry and others will follow its lead."
Under the Assurance, Tonkin has 20 days to resolve all consumer complaints now pending with the Department of Justice, and the same amount of time to resolve any complaints filed in the future. Consumers with unresolved complaints must be offered the option of entering into mediation and, if that fails, binding non-appealable arbitration. The dealerships will pay all costs of mediation or arbitration including the services of an interpreter or translator for those not fluent in English or for those impaired by a disability such as being deaf or blind. Consumers have the option of not participating in either program and may then exercise other remedies provided by law.
The Department of Justice has successfully used this type of dispute resolution program with other automobile dealerships including the Thomason Auto Group.
The dealerships agreed that all advertised vehicles will be identified by stock or vehicle identification number or in other descriptive manners, and that during the period of sale, the vehicles will be identified by stickers or hang tags containing the same information. Personnel must inform potential purchasers before signing a purchase or lease agreement that the vehicle offered for sale is used.
All advertisements must be reviewed by a Tonkin representative for compliance with all state and federal advertising laws.
RTN, Inc. paid Justice $12,500 for its Consumer Protection and Education Fund.
Consumers wanting information about consumer protection in Oregon may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320, (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org