Rutledge Files Lawsuit Against Automatic Auto Finance
February 2, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a consumer-protection lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Automatic Auto Finance Inc. (AAF), Jorja Trading Company Inc., CashFish Motor Pawn Inc. and their officers and owners. The AAF/Jorja companies are a group of buy-here-pay-here automobile dealerships with several locations in northwest Arkansas. The lawsuit alleges that the AAF/Jorja companies are engaging in deceptive practices by selling and financing used vehicles then using prohibited collection methods against Arkansas consumers.
A buy-here-pay-here dealership is one that offers vehicles for sale along with in-house financing. Many consumers who are unable to obtain traditional financing from banks or credit unions are often forced to consider the credit options of a buy-here-pay-here dealership because of limited financial resources and poor credit ratings.
“This buy-here-pay-here dealer is abusing economically disadvantaged consumers who have little or no credit resources by selling them a low-value vehicle financed at an exorbitant price and interest rate,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, instead of helping Arkansans, these businesses only trap consumers in a cycle of debt. These egregious actions are truly unconscionable, and the Consumer Protection Division exists to protect consumers in exactly these types of situations.”
According to the complaint, the defendants’ primary business is selling and financing low-value vehicles at inflated prices to consumers who the AAF/Jorja companies know are likely to default on the financing contract; reselling repossessed vehicles in a commercially unreasonable sale to create a significant deficiency balance; using prohibited collection practices to collect on that deficiency balance; and reselling vehicles to other consumers to repeat the scheme. To date, the Attorney General’s office has identified 2,252 cases of prohibited collection practices by the defendants since 2010.
Rutledge is asking the court to impose civil penalties, restitution, attorneys’ fees, costs and other relief against these individuals and companies. The dealerships operated by the AAF/Jorja companies include Auto Now, Instant Auto, Motor Street Auto of Northwest Arkansas, On Time Auto, and All Star Auto Parts. Consumer victims of these business practices should contact the Attorney General’s office to file a consumer complaint at (800) 482-8982 or go to ArkansasAG.gov.