Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the filing of a settlement agreement against a Woodburn car dealer for conspiring with a now-defunct marketing company to coerce customers into misleading car deals. The companies targeted consumers who recently had been discharged in personal bankruptcies.
Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed in Marion County Circuit Court is RMWG Investments, Inc. that does business as Miles Chevrolet in Woodburn. Jason Fresh of Lake Oswego operated Fresh Look Finance (FLF) and was a partner in the scheme with Miles Chevrolet. Fresh and his associates ran a telemarketing operation promising financing for car purchases to consumers with bad credit. Miles Chevrolet supplied Fresh with an office at its car lot and gave him access to its inventory through which Fresh operated his scheme.
"Consumers were lied to during the entire purchasing process from the deceptive financing offer touted over the telephone to the closing facts of the purchase at the dealership," Myers said. "Customers had no chance of getting a fair deal after being duped by these misleading business practices."
Oregon Department of Justice investigators interviewed 43 customers who complained about misleading offers to finance new or used vehicles at Miles Chevrolet. Consumers told Justice investigators that telemarketers convinced them that they were one of only five selected for a special program; that the interest rates were low but they could refinance in six months and get even lower rates; and that they could pick from a large selection of cars. In fact, FLF solicited in mass, there was no special offer, the number of Miles Chevrolet cars available for purchase was limited, the interest rates were higher than earlier promised, and no refinancing was available in six months.
Under the assurance, Miles paid $21,500 to cover consumer claims and $10,000 to the Justice Consumer Protection and Education Fund. The car dealer agreed to not make false, deceptive or misleading representations of fact concerning the availability of any motor vehicle and any options to be included in the sale and the price. Miles also agreed to not mislead customers concerning credit availability, the nature of the transaction or the obligation incurred, and the availability or terms of current or future financing for a motor vehicle.
Attorney General Myers alerted consumers, who have recently gone through bankruptcy, to be wary of fraudulent businesses claiming to be able to rebuild good credit through the purchase of a car.
Consumers wanting more 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