The Illinois attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Skokie Motor Sales Inc., which operates as Sherman Dodge, accusing the dealership of deceptive advertising and business practices that violate the state's Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
The state's lawsuit also argues the dealership is in violation of a 2016 voluntary compliance agreement with the attorney general's office.
"Under the AVC [Assurance of Voluntary Compliance], Sherman Dodge agreed to not sell a vehicle for more than the advertised price, advertise a vehicle that it has already sold or leased, guarantee a specific value for a trade-in vehicle, advertise a sale without reducing the selling price of vehicles listed in an advertisement by at least 5 percent or include limited rebates in an advertised price," the attorney general said in a statement.
The state accuses Sherman Dodge of violating each of the provisions, according to the lawsuit. Sherman Dodge did not return messages or calls from Automotive News.
The lawsuit also accuses the dealership of using illegal checks and coupons in its advertisements, failing to disclose a consumer's potential responsibility for negative equity on a trade-in, failing to promptly pay off a loan on a trade-in vehicle and advertising loan opportunities to those facing bankruptcy.
Since entering the 2016 compliance agreement, the Illinois attorney general's office has received 121 consumer complaints against the dealer, the lawsuit states.
"Sherman Dodge knowingly and repeatedly took advantage of people through deceptive advertising — even after entering into an agreement with the attorney general's office to stop using unlawful practices," Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a statement.
Raoul is seeking the following:
- To prohibit Sherman Dodge from engaging in acts or practices that violate the law.
- To rescind all contracts entered into between Sherman Dodge and consumers by use of unlawful methods.
- To require the dealership to pay full restitution to consumers.
- A civil penalty of $50,000 per deceptive act or practice.
- An additional $50,000 for each act or practice committed with the intent to defraud.
- An additional $10,000 for each act committed against a person age 65 or older.