And who makes the money off the revenue?
“That is the first question,” said Jeff Houghton, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit group that advocates for consumer rights in the commercial arena.
The center is currently negotiating with Rover to settle a similar complaint. In that case, a woman claimed she was not paid properly for merchandise sold at the stores in Florida. She also accused Rover of using misleading advertising.
As part of the settlement, the retailer will have to pay the customer $4,000.
The complaints filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) show how Rover has been the target of complaints and lawsuits from consumers for years. (See “Is the Rover Rover Facing Trouble?”)
Car dealerships have come under fire for deceptive advertising, predatory lending practices and illegal sales practices.
In 2010, Rover was charged with over-charging car buyers about $2.6 million in losses and nearly $2 million in damages for deceptive advertising.
The department in 2010 charged the company with charging for the wrong items without permission, and for using sales tactics that violated consumer protection laws.
The suit was later dropped.
According to the CFPB, the allegations were filed in October 2008 by a Florida woman, Patricia Ann McCafferty, who claimed she couldn’t make her lease payments and was being charged high interest rates on loans she took out at multiple banks.
She also alleged that Rover had violated anti-kickback laws by making payments for certain car accessories, and had charged customers interest, fees and other expenses by using their names on websites, including one selling Rover tires.
During an initial appearance in court in Florida in February 2011, Rover’s lawyer said his client had no record of such charges and had been deceived by her personal bank account statements. The firm has yet to disclose details of the settlement amount.
The National Automobile Dealers Association, which represents hundreds of auto dealers around the world, declined to comment on the settlement.
“The National Automobile Dealers Association, like all large businesses, works to make sure it adheres to the strictest anti-kickback laws, both domestically and internationally,” the alliance said in a statement.
In April, a group of consumers filed class-action lawsuits alleging that the automobile company has engaged in deceptive advertising and illegal sales practices, including charging consumers interest if they take out loans that cover more than expected.
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