Everett car dealer settles lawsuit claiming misleading ads

EVERETT — An Everett auto dealership has settled a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General’s Office based on complaints from customers that the business engaged in deceptive advertising and sales practices.

The 2010 lawsuit alleged that the owner of Performance Kia and the former Performance Nissan used misleading ads to attract customers, selling vehicles at a higher price than advertised, and made misrepresentations during negotiations.

Without admitting guilt, the owner on Thursday agreed to pay $150,000 in attorneys’ fees and penalties to resolve the lawsuit, according to a statement issued by the state Attorney General’s Office. Performance Jeep-Eagle, the business that operated Performance Kia and Performance Nissan, will have to pay another $55,000 if the company violates the Consumer Protection Act and other state laws, according to the statement.

Thursday the dealership issued its own news release, criticizing the attorney general’s:

“We were ready to go to trial as we felt we would prevail, but agreed to settle the dispute in order to avoid the high cost of litigation and the uncertainties inherent in any trial. The agreement does not contain any admission of violation of any law, nor does it represent agreement with any of the allegations made by the Attorney General’s office. In fact, we absolutely and flatly deny that any laws were violated. We continue to operate our business as we always have … in an ethical manner, compliant with the laws of the State of Washington.

“This is reflected with the Attorney General dropping many of its original allegations including ‘packing’ and ‘bait and switch,’ neither of which is contained within the consent decree. We are surprised by the press release by the Attorney General’s office as it is not representative of the tone or substance of our settlement discussions with them and contains innuendo and inaccuracies we feel are inappropriate.”

When the lawsuit was filed in 2010, an attorney for the dealership said it stemmed from unethical conduct by a former employee who had been fired. The lawsuit cited incidents that occurred from 2006 to 2009.

Consumers filed complaints about television commercials and print advertising that, in one example, claimed the dealership was over-stocked with cars marked down to $9,888, along with a guaranteed $4,000 for trade-in vehicles. Some of those ads appeared in The Herald.

One consumer told authorities that none of the advertised vehicles were on the lot and the company relied on language buried in the ad that noted that there was “one only.”

The consumer complained to the dealership and was told that the commercial had been approved by the state Attorney General.

“We were surprised because we don’t approve television commercials,” assistant attorney general Mary Lobdell said. “We’re not authorized to do so and we certainly don’t approve these kinds of sales tactics.”

Selling a vehicle at a higher price than advertised is a violation of state law.

As part of the settlement, the owner has agreed to meet numerous conditions, including only advertising vehicles the business possesses and not selling a vehicle for more than the advertised price. Additionally, the company agreed to clearly identify used vehicles in advertising and not engage in advertising that suggests a high trade-in value for cars in disrepair.

More in Herald Business Journal

Tulalips break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel

A 150-room hotel was added to what is now a $140 million complex expected to open in spring 2019.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the publicly owned downtown Everett events center.

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Bombardier promotes its C Series airliner as American made

It says more than half its all-new jet is made in US factories with final assembly near Montreal.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Airports want to nearly double passengers’ user fees

Delta says airports will rake in $3.6 billion in passenger facility charge taxes this year.

UPS delays mount as online shopping hobbles courier’s network

FedEx completed 97.1 percent of its ground deliveries on time in the same period.

Most Read