Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
April 4, 2013
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Bondi’s Office is Accepting Consumer Claims for Refunds in Automobile Performance Chip Settlement
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office has obtained $75,000 in consumer restitution as a result of a settlement with an automobile performance chip dealer over unfair and deceptive trade practices. The settlement alleges that SLR Motorsports, RS4 Performance, Surge Performance, and other businesses operated by Jacob James Alifraghis, sold more than one thousand phony automobile engine devices to consumers nationwide and made false promises that the chips provided higher gas mileage and better auto performance. Additionally, it is alleged that the businesses claimed to offer a "no questions asked" full money-back guarantee if customers were not satisfied, but they failed to provide such refunds to hundreds of customers.
More than 700 consumers will automatically receive a refund from the company. This includes customers who made a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office or Better Business Bureau and those who returned the product to the company's P.O. Box but never received a response. Customers who have not yet made a complaint or refund request and purchased a chip after July 1, 2009, may make a claim for a refund by sending a request and proof of purchase to the Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division before April 30, 2013.
“Misrepresenting the benefits of a device and then failing to honor a promised money-back guarantee are both violations of our state’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I am pleased that my office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were able to provide refunds to consumers who have been affected.”
According to the settlement, the businesses sold what were advertised as "performance chips" for automobile engines. Multiple web sites claimed that the chips would provide better mileage, improved horsepower and other benefits. Tests by an automotive engineering expert revealed that the chips did not improve mileage or performance, and, further, that the chips could actually damage auto engines and void car manufacturer warranties. The chips sold for as much as $79.95.
Consumers may send written requests for refund and documentation of purchase to Attn: Richard Schiffer, Office of the Attorney General, 3507 East Frontage Rd, #325, Tampa FL 33607. To be considered, refund requests must be received at this address on or before April 30, 2012.
The settlement is the result of an investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Office Consumer with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service.