The Massachusetts Office of Attorney General Maura Healey has settled claims against a used-car dealership and its owner for allegedly engaging in unfair and deceptive sales practices that violated the state’s consumer protection law.
Framingham, Mass.-based New England AutoMax Inc., AutoMax Preowned, Inc., and Auto Max Inc. (AutoMax) and their owner Howard Wilner have agreed to a $925,000 judgment that includes restitution to consumers to settle allegations that the dealership was violating the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. The dealership and its owner did not admit liability.
Accusations from the AG’s office include misrepresenting information about the condition, origin and history of used cars in the dealership’s inventory. Also, AutoMax allegedly sold add-on service contracts that did not cover the vehicles consumers were purchasing. The dealership was also cited for falsifying down payments and including undisclosed fees in sales transactions.
“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,” Healey said in a press release. “As a result of this settlement, customers who were misled by AutoMax will get money back, and the company will stop its illegal practices.”
The settlement includes $750,000 in restitution that will be paid to affected consumers and a $175,000 suspected penalty for any violation of the settlement’s injunctive terms within three years.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has cracked down on several cases of unfair and deceptive practices in auto lending, including one against now-defunct F&R Auto and Sensible Auto Lending in December 2018.