The State of Florida is taking a South Florida used car dealer, and related companies, to court, accusing the businesses of deceptive and unfair business practices.
Attorney General Bill McCollum has sued Hollywood Auto Gallery, Inc. and owner Zachary S. Kessler, in response to numerous complaints filed with the Attorney General's office, all referencing the warranties advertised by Kessler and his related businesses.
The Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division determined that Hollywood Auto Gallery, Inc., located in Pompano Beach, allegedly advertised that all vehicles sold were under warranty, and Kessler verbally assured consumers that the vehicles would be covered. In reality, the warranty was only a limited warranty good for a maximum of $500 in repairs.
Additionally, Kessler allegedly assured all potential consumers that once a deposit was made on a vehicle to hold it, a mechanic could look at the vehicle within three days of the deposit, but consumers who attempted to have their mechanics examine the vehicles were allegedly told the deposit committed them to purchasing the vehicle, regardless of the mechanic's diagnosis.
According to consumer complaints, the vehicles sold by Kessler and his company were in such bad condition that they were not road-worthy and would often break down just miles from the car lot. Mechanical problems cited included a transmission that was completely worn out and an engine that needed a total overhaul. Consumers also reported they were unable to obtain refunds for the vehicles.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief against Hollywood Auto Gallery, Inc. and several related business operating under fictitious names, including UltimateCarDeal.Com, CashOnlyAuto.Com, and CheapestCarsIn Florida.Com, as well as Kessler himself.
The relief requested would prohibit further business activities in the sales of used vehicles, restitution on behalf of all victimized consumers, civil penalties of $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 for each violation of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and reimbursement for fees and costs related to the investigation.