Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Monday, April 16, 2001

CORNYN ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH GARLAND FORD DEALER

Prestige Ford Agrees To Disclose Auto Lease/Purchase Optional Costs

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the filing of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with Prestige Ford Garland Limited Partnership to correct its practice of charging customers for services without disclosing they are optional. The partnership owns and operates a new and used car dealership at 3401 S. Garland in Garland, Tx. This settlement was filed in the 192nd District Court in Dallas County.

The State alleged that Prestige and its dealer-principal, Jerry Reynolds, violated the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act by charging customers in 1997 and 1998 for "consumer benefits and services" without disclosing that purchasing these services was optional and not a part of tax, title and license fees. Consumers were charged $199 for services identified as discount coupons for service work at the dealership. Prestige and Reynolds deny these allegations but agree to voluntarily resolve this matter.

"My priority is to protect consumers in Texas. I commend Prestige Ford for voluntarily agreeing to the terms of the assurance," said Attorney General Cornyn.

Under the AVC, Prestige is prohibited from:

  • Falsely advertising that the amount of tax, title and license is greater than it is for specific motor vehicles for lease and/or purchase;
  • Failing to disclose that "consumer benefits and services" is an optional purchase by the customer;
  • Failing to disclose to customers the amount of the cost of "consumer benefits and services" on purchase receipts provided to the customer; and
  • Falsely representing on vehicle purchase and lease contracts that the charge for "consumer benefits and services" is mandatory by having this item and/or charge pre-printed on the form.

Prestige also agrees to provide restitution to all customers who were charged for "consumer benefits and services" in 1997 or 1998. Within 15 days of filing this AVC, Prestige will either mail 1) vouchers worth $250, redeemable within two years, to be used toward service work, purchase of parts, body work, or toward a new car purchase at the Prestige dealership, or 2) a refund request form that must be completed and returned by the consumer. The refund form will be mailed to customers who live outside of Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties.

The AVC also includes the payment of $75,000 in civil penalties, investigative costs, and attorneys fees to the State.

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Contact: Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees Shepperd at (512) 463-2050.
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