A lawsuit filed by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office was recently settled against F&R Auto Sales and Francis Correiro. According to the suit, the auto dealership and Correiro “sold unsafe and defective vehicles between August 2012 and December 2016 when the business closed.” It also alleged that, in doing so, both parties violated “Massachusetts laws relating to used auto sales.” As a result of the settlement, the defendants will have to pay “$450,000 in restitution and penalties to resolve” the allegations.
A lawsuit filed by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office against F&R Auto Sales and Francis Correiro was recently settled. According to the suit, the auto dealership and Correiro “sold unsafe and defective vehicles between August 2012 and December 2016 when the business closed.” It also alleged that, in doing so, both parties violated “Massachusetts laws relating to used auto sales.” As a result of the settlement, the defendants will have to pay “$450,000 in restitution and penalties to resolve” the allegations.
In a statement shortly following the settlement announcement, Healey said:
“This business and its owner cheated customers and threatened public safety by putting dangerous vehicles on the road. I am pleased that this settlement will allow us to get money back to consumers defrauded by F&R Auto.”
What happened, though? Why was the lawsuit filed in the first place? It all began when the attorney general’s office began receiving complaints that alleged “deceptive auto sales and practices by F&R Auto, including the routine sale of defective vehicles and the failure to provide proper transactional documents to consumers.” In response to the more than 100 complaints, the office launched an investigation. That investigation “revealed the defendants frequently misrepresented to buyers that vehicles were safe and reliable in order to make sales. When consumers discovered issues with their vehicles, the dealership would frequently dismiss them or refuse to make repairs,” according to the attorney general’s office.
Some of the complaints included allegations that the dealership failed to “make agreed-upon repairs to a car.” In that case, the buyer was later told at “a different dealership the car needed $15,805 worth of repairs, a price that exceeded what he paid for the car.” Another consumer was sold a faulty truck by the dealership that “broke down within 24 hours of its delivery and then refused to provide a copy of the truck’s inspection report upon the consumer’s request.” According to the complaint, the consumer took the truck to a mechanic and was informed that “several parts in the vehicle needed replacement, including the shocks and rotted-out portions of the muffler and tailpipe.”
In addition the defective vehicles, the suit also accused the dealership and Correiro of the following:
“Failure to assign titles to vehicles or provide consumers with copies of the appropriate documents relating to the sale of vehicles, thereby preventing them from fully understanding their transactions, getting their vehicles registered and inspected, and exercising their lemon law rights to get repairs or refunds.”
In addition, the defendants also allegedly failed to protect their customer’s “sensitive and private information, including Social Security and financial account numbers.”
As part of the settlement, Corriero and F&R Auto will have to pay a total of “$400,000 to affected consumers and $50,000 in penalties, and another $50,000 in suspended penalties for any violation of the settlement.” Additionally, Correiro will also be permanently prohibited from “selling unsafe and defective cars,” and he will be required to “notify the AG’s Office if he ever participates in the sale of used vehicles again.”