Nissan of Albertville is among the defendants in a proposed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) class action lawsuit centered on allegedly predatory targeting of lower-income vehicle buyers in need of loans.
Filed in Alabama federal court, the 36-page lawsuit claims the defendants’ auto dealerships ran a scheme through which they targeted customers unqualified for vehicle financing loans. According to the suit, the defendants’ sales employees, among other predatory, high-pressure and fraudulent conduct, would “falsify information and submit fraudulent documents,” particularly with regard to income, to financial institutions to ensure that a customer would receive funding. In other instances, the case continues, the defendants would fraudulently inflate the value of a vehicle by “listing accessories it did not actually include” in order to increase a customer’s loan amount. Further still, the defendants, the lawsuit alleges, would even “pack” an unsuspecting customer’s loan with add-on products, i.e., vehicle service contracts, warranties, or gap contracts, without authorization.
From the lawsuit:
“These consumers thought that they were paying for a vehicle, but were unaware they were actually paying to increase the dealerships’ profit margins through unlawful markups, unwanted add-ons, inflated incomes, and fraudulently inflated sales prices.”