Hundreds or even thousands of current and former Hendrick Automotive Group salespeople at dealerships across the U.S. could be added as plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that Hendrick deliberately underpaid commissions, if a Florida judge rules to certify the case as a class action.
Collier County Circuit Judge Lauren Brodie heard arguments last week on a class-action motion in the May 2017 case. It's unclear how soon Brodie's ruling could come — but it could potentially be costly to Hendrick, the country's largest privately owned dealership group.
Thirty-three former salespeople at Rick Hendrick Chevrolet Naples sued the dealership group and store, alleging commissions were cut through various schemes.
The lawsuit claims Hendrick created "three discrete, sophisticated ways to manipulate and misrepresent the accounting on deals" by inflating acquisition costs of vehicles, undervaluing a customer's trade-in and creating service "phantom work" on vehicles. That work included charges such as $299 to add nitrogen to tires when the nitrogen machine was broken or up to $700 to wash and vacuum a vehicle, a former dealership salesman previously told Automotive News.