NJP CLEAR and King County Debt Clinic advocates contacted the WA Attorney General’s Office Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit after seeing a pattern of egregious abuse in used car sales involving primarily Spanish speaking clients statewide. Abuse of low-income individuals in used car sales is widespread and has serious consequences for the car buyer seeking affordable and reliable transportation for work, and also creates dangerous situations for the clients, their families, and the driving public when cars malfunction on the road.
The AGO’s Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit investigation found that Zein Automobiles Inc., which operates Best Bet Auto Sales and Independence Auto Center, targeted Spanish speakers by spending the vast majority of its advertising budget on Spanish-language media. Under a consent decree field in Snohomish County Superior Court, Zein Automobiles Inc. agreed to:
Pay $250,000 in restitution, costs and fees;
Make Spanish-language contracts available whenever it advertises in Spanish and provide them to customers when the sales transaction is conducted in Spanish;
Honor all warranties promised in its advertisements, including six-month and one-year warranties; and
Cease any deceptive or misleading practices in its advertising or sales, including making any statement that creates a false impression regarding the premise of a sale, the warranty available, the monthly payment, the interest rate or any other term of payment.