FALL RIVER, MASS. (WHDH) - A Westport used auto dealership and its former owner will pay $450,000 in restitution and penalties to resolve allegations that the dealership sold unsafe and defective vehicles, Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Monday.
A consent judgment was entered in Bristol County Superior Court to settle a lawsuit filed by Healey’s office against now-defunct F&R Auto Sales Inc. and its owner Francis Correiro.
The complaint alleged F&R Auto and Correiro sold unsafe and defective vehicles between August 2012 and December 2016 when the business closed.
“This business and its owner cheated customers and threatened public safety by putting dangerous vehicles on the road,” Healey said in a press release. “I am pleased that this settlement will allow us to get money back to consumers defrauded by F&R Auto.”
Healey’s office launched an investigation after receiving more than 100 consumer complaints alleging deceptive auto sales and practices, including the routine sale of defective vehicles and the failure to provide proper transactional documents to customers.
The investigation revealed that the defendants frequently misrepresented to buyers that vehicles were safe and reliable in order to make sales, failed to assign titles to vehicles or provide consumers with copies of the appropriate documents relating to the sale of vehicles, thereby preventing them from fully understanding their transactions, getting their vehicles registered and inspected, and exercising their lemon law rights to get repairs or refunds.
F&R Auto and Correiro will pay $400,000 to affected consumers and $50,000 in penalties, and another $50,000 in suspended penalties for any violation of the settlement.
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