The Federal Trade Commission has reached a $450,000 settlement agreement with the owner-manager of a dealership group in Arizona and New Mexico to resolve allegations that the owner and his dealerships deceived consumers and falsified information on vehicle financing applications. Notably, this agreement follows an earlier settlement to cease business operations of the owner’s four dealership entities. According to the FTC, the owner “formulated, directed, controlled, had the authority to control, or participated in” the dealerships’ illegal conduct. This settlement concludes the FTC’s August 2018 case alleging that the dealerships falsified consumers’ income and down payment information to get vehicles financed and engaged in unlawful advertising.
This action underscores the FTC’s intention to hold dealer owners—as well as the dealership entities themselves—responsible for alleged unlawful behavior, and it further highlights the need for dealers to conduct robust training and oversight of their finance operations.