The owner of two car dealerships in Everett is being sued by the state Attorney General’s office for false advertising, “payment packing” and “baiting and switching” customers.
Performance Nissan and Performance Kia, collectively known as Performance Jeep-Eagle, is accused of willfully misleading customers by advertising vehicles that were no longer available, selling cars above the advertised price, changing sale agreements without consulting customers and folding products into monthly payments without the buyer’s knowledge.
The company is also accused of advertising that Spanish-speaking employees would be on-hand to help some customers. The lawsuit alleges that promise doesn’t play out in reality.
Rick Ockerman, an attorney for the dealership, said the lawsuit stems from unethical conduct by a former employee who was fired several years ago.
“This all originated with a particular finance manager at Performance Nissan who was engaging in some inappropriate activity,” Ockerman said.
According to a complaint filed late last week in Snohomish County Superior Court, the practices outlined violate several state laws, including the Consumer Protection Act and the Promotional Advertising of Prizes Act.
The dealership been talking with the Attorney General’s office for more than three years about the claims outlined in this case. Ockerman said his client recently entered into tolling agreements with the state agency, signaling what looked like an end to negotiations.
But there were still issues of contention — mainly that Performance Jeep-Eagle denies some of the alleged misconduct occurred.
Ockerman declined to comment on which claims his client is disputing, saying the dealership dealt with the valid concerns long ago.
“For a lot of other areas they have raised, the documentary evidence clearly shows these things did not happen,” Ockerman said.