Kia Dealer Fined More Than $1M for Shady Auto Loan Practices
New Hampshire’s Attorney General called the dealer’s behavior “a major problem” and “very deceptive to consumers.”
Dan O'Brien Kia of Concord, New Hampshire, was hit with a $1.25 million fine after allegedly luring car buyers into auto loans they couldn't afford. New Hampshire's Attorney General John Formella called the dealership's actions "some pretty egregious behavior" and noted that his office received a plethora of complaints leading up to this result.
As reported by WMUR9, the Kia dealership pressed consumers into loans they couldn't afford, promising a more affordable refinance after six months. The refinance program didn't exist, though, according to Formella. The result was buyers trapped in unaffordable loans.
Dan O'Brien Kia also forged at least one loan document, Formella's office said. The dealership would inflate the incomes of some borrowers to get approval for loans and submit documents without buyers' approval.
The settlement is only part of the punishment for the dealer. It must pay further restitution to two customers in particular. Also—here's the kicker—all "financial discussions" the dealership has with customers for the next five years must be recorded. The attorney general's office says audio and video will be required.
This outcome is not a guilty verdict, to be clear. As it's a settlement, it doesn't necessarily represent any admission of wrongdoing on the part of DMO Auto Acquisitions, Dan O'Brien Kia's parent company. Indeed, DMO said in a statement that it "welcomes the NH Attorney General’s monitoring process," something it claims to have already been conducting for years. Furthermore, the company's focus "continues to remain on its customers and providing them with the best possible service."
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