Attorney General Horne Obtains Judgment Against Used Automobile Dealer

Phoenix (Tuesday, July 15, 2014) – Attorney General Tom Horne recently obtained a judgment against Prieto’s Auto Sales, Inc. (“Prieto’s”), an Arizona used automobile dealer, and its owners Gustavo and Rita Prieto.

On May 20, 2014, Attorney General Horne filed suit alleging that Prieto’s willfully engaged in deceptive and unfair acts and practices, made false promises and misrepresentations, and suppressed or omitted material facts in violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. The lawsuit alleged that Defendants failed to inspect vehicles and repair hazardous defects, made false promises that defects would be repaired, failed to abide by statutorily mandated warranties, sold trade-in vehicles before the consumer’s purchase was completed, sold vehicles for which they did not hold valid title, sold vehicles with salvage titles without disclosing the defect in the title, sold vehicles with hidden collision damage, kept refundable deposits, failed to disclose financing terms properly, knowingly wrote bad refund checks, and failed to follow the statutory requirements for the repossession and disposition of repossessed vehicles.

On July 3, 2014, the court approved a Consent Judgment to settle the lawsuit. Pursuant to the Consent Judgment, Prieto’s Auto and Gus and Rita Prieto admit to these allegations and are permanently enjoined from committing future violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. These include selling any vehicle that is not substantially free from material defects, failing to honor statutorily mandated warranties, selling vehicles with salvage titles without disclosure, failing to return refundable deposits, failing to adequately disclose contractual terms. They also include issuing bad checks, presenting fabricated documents to consumers, making changes to contracts without informed written consent, conducting repossessions that do not comply with statutory requirements, conducting commercially unreasonable repossession sales, and several other injunctive provisions.  In addition to the injunctive relief, Prieto’s, Gus Prieto, and Rita Prieto, collectively, are required to pay $15,716 in consumer restitution and $80,000 in civil penalties.

A copy of the Consent Judgment is attached.  

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Jordan Christensen. 

If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.

Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s Website.

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