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Adam CrowellOct 27, 20231 min read

$1.1 Million Settlement with Wisconsin Dealership Group, Current and Former Owners, and general manager Over Alleged Junk Fees and Discriminatory Conduct

October 24, 2023.  A Wisconsin Dealership, the current owners and former owners, and a general manager have collectively settled an action with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Wisconsin Attorney General over alleged junk fees and discriminatory conduct.

On October 24, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Wisconsin Attorney General announced the settlement of a joint enforcement action for $1.1 million over alleged junk fees and discriminatory conduct against a Wisconsin dealership, its current and former owners, and a general manager.

The defendants were accused of regularly charging customers junk fees for add-on products or services without their consent, and in some cases, deceptively told consumers that unwanted products like guaranteed asset protection ("GAP") were required.  Furthermore, a statistical analysis by the regulators allegedly revealed that both the former and current owners discriminated against Native American customers by:

  • charging them, on average, a higher markup on interest rates
  • charging them, more often, for unwanted junk fees

As part of the settlement, the defendants are required to:

  • stop deceiving consumers about whether add-ons are required for a purchase;
  • obtain consumers’ express informed consent before charging them for add-ons;
  • establish a comprehensive fair lending program that will allow consumers to seek outside financing for a purchase and cap the additional interest markup the dealership can charge consumers; and
  • pay $1.1 million to be used to refund affected consumers.

Samul, Levine, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection stated that "we are holding these dealerships accountable for discriminating against American Indian customers and sneaking junk fees onto consumers’ bills" and "we are fully committed to ensuring that all consumers navigating the car-buying process can do so without facing unlawful discrimination or paying for products and services they do not want."

To help dealerships prevent consumer complaints, investigations, and enforcement actions, ComplyNet offers compliance solutions that guide dealerships to proactively finding and resolving issues.  To learn more about ComplyNet's Sales, F&I, and Advertising compliance solutions, SCHEDULE A MEETING.


Adam Crowell

Adam is Vice President of Legal and Corporate Development at KPA and ComplyNet and is a licensed practicing attorney with over 21 years of experience primarily representing dealerships. Adam is a frequent speaker on the local, state, and national levels, including presentations to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the National Independent Auto Dealers Association (NIADA), and the National Association of Dealer Counsel (NADC).