Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Plattner Auto Dealership Sued By State
Area Car Dealer Accused Of Deceptive Practices
BELLE GLADE, FL. -- Attorney General Bill McCollum has announced his office has filed a lawsuit against a auto dealership and its owner, alleging unfair and deceptive trade practices related to vehicle advertisements. The Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division has been investigating Plattner's Belle Glade Dealership and owner Doug Plattner since 2004 for numerous advertisements in which the price of the vehicle did not include dealer fees. Dealer's fees can be several hundred dollars.
Being sued is Belle Glade Chevrolet-Cadillac-Buick-Pontiac-Oldsmobile, Inc. d/b/a Plattner's Belle Glade and Plattner's Clewiston located at 1700 East Palm Beach Road, Belle Glade. The allegations is a violation of a prior Attorney General order AG#L04-3-1153 and of Section 501.976(16), Fla. Stat. (2007) by advertising prices for vehicles which fail to reflect "dealer's fee." The office handling the case is the Economic Crimes Division in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In March 2005, Plattner's Belle Glade Dealership signed a settlement agreement stating it would disclose dealer fees in the price of its vehicles and refrain from any misleading advertisements. Additionally, it agreed that any future violations within four years of the settlement would result in penalties and sanctions against the dealership. Since the time of the settlement, Plattner's has run more than 100 advertisements which violate the settlement and Florida's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices statute.
The Attorney General's lawsuit has requested injunctive relief to prevent Plattner's from running any more misleading advertisements. The lawsuit also requests civil penalties under the statute of $10,000 per advertisement and reimbursement of attorneys' fees and costs.
Plattner also owns local automotive dealerships in LaBelle, , Clewiston, Ft. Myers, and Lehigh Acres, including LaBelle Chrysler Dodge Jeep and a General Motors dealership in Arcadia, Fl. In the past, all the Plattner dealerships had added "dealer fees" that were not disclosed up front to customers or disclosed in advertising. Currently, Plattner has been running TV ads promoting "no dealer fees."
TAMPA BAY AREA, Florida