Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
October 11, 2011
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Pam Bondi Sues Jacksonville Used Car Dealership for Defrauding Consumers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that her office filed a lawsuit against a used car dealership in Jacksonville for alleged violations of Florida’s consumer protection law, including affixing GPS tracking devices to cars without consumer knowledge or consent. The defendants, Beach Boulevard Automotive, Inc., Beach Boulevard Auto Finance, Inc., John King, Sr., and Barbara King, are accused of unfair and deceptive business practices. The lawsuit seeks restitution for harmed consumers, civil penalties of up to $15,000 per violation, attorneys fees and costs, and injunctive relief.
“According to some complaints, this business tracked consumers down using GPS devices and then repossessed vehicles even though consumers were current on payments,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Nearly 80 consumers filed complaints with our office, and our priority in this case is to return money to harmed consumers through restitution and to halt any fraudulent business practices.”
The complaint includes eight counts. One count alleges willfully using or threatening force or violence by using obscene and harassing language when dealing with customers, a violation of Florida Statutes 559.72. The remaining seven counts, which are listed in part below, allege violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
· Requiring certain consumers to purchase credit life insurance, credit disability insurance and GAP insurance as a condition of sale;
· Tracking vehicles via GPS tracking devices without consumer knowledge or authorization;
· Adding to the price of the car a pre-printed, flat charge entitled “Pre-Delivery Inspection” fee using the pre-printed Used Vehicle Bill of Sale without disclosing the nature and purpose of the fee and without providing required disclosures;
· Keeping consumers’ deposits without adequate disclosure;
· Posting false reviews on the Internet;
· Engaging in the business of selling motor vehicle retail installment contracts without a license through the Office of Financial Regulation; and
· Wrongfully, unfairly and unconscionably repossessing consumers’ vehicles.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Better Business Bureau have also received complaints against Beach Blvd. Automotive.
Anyone who believes that a business may be using unfair and deceptive practices should contact the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or by filing a complaint online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com.
The complaint can be read here.