Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Friday, Sept. 20, 2002

ATTORNEY GENERAL HALTS PRACTICES OF RIO GRANDE VALLEY USED CAR DEALER

Retama Enterprises of Pharr Agrees to Stop Misrepresenting Vehicles' Condition

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn obtained several court-approved assurances Thursday from a used car dealer in the Lower Rio Grande Valley as a way to safeguard customers from mechanical breakdowns shortly after purchase.

Retama Enterprises Inc., which does business at its used car sales locations known as Grande Auto Sales and Auto Credit in Pharr (Hidalgo County), is alleged to have sold used vehicles on an "as is-no warranty" basis. However, the dealer used this provision as a disclaimer to deny new owners redress when they tried to return vehicles after breakdown.

"Our investigators have evidence that the sales people at these offices misrepresented the mechanical conditions of the vehicles to induce customers into making purchases," said Attorney General Cornyn. "You can't take refuge in a no-warranty disclaimer if you are making deceptive claims before the sale."

The company also repossessed vehicles after the new owners defaulted on payment, but did not notify these customers that the repossessed vehicles were being sold. In addition, some customers were entitled to a portion of the proceeds after sale of the repossessed vehicles, but the company failed to make these refunds.

Under the terms of the Attorney General's assurance of voluntary compliance, the company agreed to cease these unlawful activities, make customer refunds totaling $18,245, plus interest, and allow customers to rescind future sales of vehicles that break down within 14 days of the sale date, if they so desire.

The company also agrees to pay $50,000 in penalties and attorneys' fees, in accordance with the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

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