Consumer Law Group recently obtained a judgment against Prime Auto Group, LLC- an East Windsor, Connecticut car dealership- for its wrongful conduct in connection with the sale of motor vehicles to two Connecticut residents, and its subsequent wrongful repossession attempts. The plaintiffs were awarded a combined total of $55,334 in damages. The court also ruled that one of the Plaintiffs was entitled to keep her car at no charge, and that Prime was responsible to pay the Plaintiffs' attorney's fees in the amount of $10,000.
The lawsuit alleged that Prime advertised "guaranteed credit approval" and promised a free car if it could not obtain credit approval. Both of the Plaintiffs visited Prime because of this advertising, and they each provided Prime with the necessary information for their credit applications. Shortly after Prime received their credit information (and after they had taken their new cars home), Prime notified them that their applications had been denied and demanded that they return the cars to the dealership. When the Plaintiffs refused, Prime took repossession action. Prime was successful in repossessing one of the Plaintiff's cars.
With respect to one of the Plaintiffs, the court determined that by repossessing his car, Prime was liable for conversion, breach of contract and had violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. He was awarded damages in the amount of the fair market value of his repossessed car as well as punitive damages. With respect to the second Plaintiff, the court determined that Prime's promise to provide her car to her for free was binding and declared her to be the rightful owner of the car. She was also awarded a refund of her down payment and punitive damages. The Court also ordered that she was entitled to statutory damages under the federal Truth In Lending Act, for Prime's failure to provide her with the Truth In Lending disclosures. Finally, each of the Plaintiffs were also awarded punitive damages of $10,000 under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act for Prime's failure to formally notify them of the reason(s) that their credit applications had been denied.
The court's ruling sends an important message to Connecticut dealerships that they must stand by their advertisements and honor their promises of credit approval.