Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
California Sues Auto Dealer for False Ads, Loan Documents
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
September 23, 2019

Share

SACRAMENTO — California’s attorney general sued Paul Blanco’s Good Car Company on Monday, leveling accusations of false advertising and lying on loan documents to boost its profits at the expense of its mostly low-income customers.
Xavier Becerra’s lawsuit comes after a two-year investigation of the dealer known for its prolific TV and radio ads declaring itself the “good car people.”
“For many families, that name could not be farther from the truth,” said Becerra, a Democrat.
The company’s dealership in Fresno is among six in the state named in the lawsuit.

Lawsuit Alleges ‘Sophisticated Scheme’ to Lure Customers

A 32-page complaint filed in Alameda County accuses the company of running a sophisticated scheme to lure customers into a dealership only to later lie about their incomes and the value of the cars they were purchasing to convince lenders to approve the loans.

The complaint alleges some employees who objected to the techniques were fired while others were warned not to be a “snitch.”
The company paid for ads promising customers could get their credit checked over the phone, a tactic designed to avoid the embarrassing experience of having a loan denied in person. Call center operators had detailed scripts, which would include telling customers to “please hold while I process your application,” only to return five seconds later to congratulate them on meeting the credit criteria for “several of our lenders.”
But Becerra says an unnamed manager at the call center said operators would not process loan applications at all. Instead, the act was a ruse to collect information and generate sales leads.
Once customers arrived at the dealership, Becerra says the company would lie about how much money a potential borrower earned each year to deceive lenders. An audit by one finance company found that out of 320 incomes reported from the company’s location in Fresno, more than 78% of them were inflated by at least $500 per month.

Expensive Add-Ons Presented as Legal Requirements, Suit Says

Becerra also said the company made lots of money by selling optional add-ons, such as insurance or service contracts, by falsely telling customers they were required by law. In some cases, Becerra said customers did not know they were purchasing add-ons because employees would hide the paperwork by placing their hands over the disclosures — a technique employees at the dealership referred to as a “hands-down close.”
“We’re talking about hardworking families who make every dollar count, seeing their hard earned money swindled away by dishonest tactics that put them in unaffordable debt,” Becerra said.
All of this, Becerra says, is endorsed and encouraged by the company’s senior management, including Paul Blanco himself. The complaint said some employees who objected to the techniques were fired while others were warned not to be a “snitch.”

Seeking Restitution for Customers and Civil Penalties

“During sessions one manager called ‘lessons in larceny,’ Paul Blanco’s taught employees to lie to third-party lenders in order to obtain consumer if financing on false pretenses and boost dealership profits,” according to the complaint, written in part by Hunter Landerholm, a deputy attorney general who is handling the case.
Landerholm said the attorney general’s office is not asking a judge to shut the company down while the lawsuit is pending. But they are asking a judge to order the company to stop using these techniques and to make them pay restitution plus civil penalties.
The defendants include the company and Paul Blanco himself.
Becerra said he does not know how many customers were impacted, urging anyone who was impacted to contact his office.

DON'T MISS

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

DON'T MISS

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

UP NEXT

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

UP NEXT

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

UP NEXT

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

UP NEXT

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

UP NEXT

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

2 days ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

2 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

3 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

3 days ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

3 days ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

3 days ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have To Execute It’: FUSD Board President

3 days ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

3 days ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

3 days ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

Did you know that SNAP EBT benefits used to be called food stamps and that recipients can use those benefits to get healthy food in places o...

1 day ago

1 day ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

1 day ago

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

2 days ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

2 days ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

2 days ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

3 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

3 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend