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Consumer Rip-Offs Destroy Respect for Auto Dealers

Feb. 3, 2004

Consumer Rip-Offs Destroy Respect for Auto Dealers

Statement by Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen

The chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, Alan Starling, said on Feb. 2 at the association’s annual convention in Las Vegas that manufacturers, government and the media must give auto dealers the respect they deserve. But for hundreds of consumers who have contacted us because they’ve been scammed while buying a vehicle, dealers have earned little respect.

Since we released our report, Rip-Off Nation, and created our Web site, www.autodealerscam.org just two months ago, more than 500 people from 36 states and the District of Columbia have confirmed our report by telling us the ways they were ripped off – from shady financing deals to useless add-ons to double-charged warranties. Attached is a report outlining what these consumers have told us.

If the industry truly wants respect from consumers, it should work with law enforcement to root out this undeniably widespread corruption. Dealers also could help shed their shady image by leading the charge to clean up their own act and make purchasing a vehicle an open and honest process.

* Note: Click here to view a summary of consumer stories. Reporters interested in contacting the consumers named in the summary can call 202-588-7715.