N.H. Kia dealer to pay $1.25M settlement for deceptive practices

Dan O’Brien Kia of Concord, New Hampshire, has to pay the New Hampshire Attorney General $1.25 million.

settlement According to a December 19 written release from the New Hampshire Department of Justice, Dan O’Brien Kia “is subject to a stringent set of injunctions to ensure consumers are protected from similar practices for the next five years.” is needed.

These terms include:

  • Reimburse the Attorney General for legal fees of $49,209.
  • Hire an independent compliance monitor to review and report on your business practices over the next five years.
  • Record audio and video of fundraising discussions between employees and customers.
  • We will pay compensation to two consumers who were victims of fraud.
  • Implement staff training programs to educate about state consumer protection laws.

The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau was investigating Dan O’Brien Kia Concord based on a large number of consumer complaints filed between 2019 and 2021.

The department said dealership employees “used deceptive sales practices to persuade consumers to buy vehicles they couldn’t afford, falsely inflated consumers’ income information on loan applications, and misrepresented customers on loan documents.” forged the signature of

Dealers have enrolled low-scoring customers in a “credit repair” or “credit reconstruction” initiative known as a “program,” the attorney general said. This was a he 6-month loan program used when a customer told the dealer they couldn’t afford the payment terms.

Customers will be notified that they are eligible for the “program”, charged by the Office of the Attorney General, and will be able to refinance the terms if they pay their car loan on time for half a year, improving their credit score. It was just a pitch, not affiliated with or endorsed by any bank. Instead, customers were left with loans they could not repay.

In addition, Dan O’Brien Kia inflated the income of potential borrowers when applying for loans to increase their chances of being approved by lenders. If a borrower was denied a loan, the dealer would often resubmit the application with a higher monthly income than the customer actually had in order to get approval.

Upon investigation, we found one instance of a loan document with a forged customer signature. Distributor employees who forged signatures also enrolled in insurance products that customers previously declined.

In addition to other conditions, within 30 days (December 15) of the court’s approval of the judgment, the dealer must submit the name of a third party candidate to act as an independent compliance monitor. said Brendan Garrod, senior senior in New Hampshire. Assistant Attorney General.

“Once a candidate is selected, we approve that candidate,” Garod said. car news“That monitor has regular reporting requirements.”

Observers spend hours investigating dealerships and frequently submitting reports to the Attorney General’s Office, he said. Dan O’Brien Kia must review a series of randomly selected transactions by monitors, provide requested documents to monitors, and make employees available for interviews. All this to ensure that dealers are fully compliant and not involved in fraudulent activity.

Dealer president Dan O’Brien car news 40 Winner of the Under 40 Award in 2018 at age 33. Taking over a store that had an average monthly sales of 25 new cars, the company was praised for increasing sales to 137 in five months.

O’Brien also owns Dan O’Brien Kia North Hampton, also in New Hampshire. That dealer was not involved in the allegations leveled by the state attorney general.

in 2018 car news Throughout his career, O’Brien said, “I saw a general manager and a principal in an office covered in tinted windows. Only the finance manager of his store had an office, he said.

A representative for the dealer declined to comment when contacted by phone on Monday.

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