Attorney General Alleges Haverhill Car Dealership Charged Blacks, Latinos More For ‘Additions’
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has filed a lawsuit against a Haverhill car dealership for allegedly charging black and Latino customers more for “additional” products when buying cars.
Jaffarian Volvo Toyota of River Street, however, told WHAV in a statement on Monday that it denies the allegation and “has never received a complaint from any customer regarding discrimination in its sales, pricing or service.” .
Attorney General Maura Healey accused the dealership of ‘engaging in unfair, deceptive and discriminatory pricing practices’ by illegally charging ‘Black and Hispanic customers on average hundreds of dollars more than white customers for ‘complementary’ products. “, such as paint protection, GAP insurance and remote starters.
The lawsuit was recently filed in Essex County Superior Court.
“Purchasing a vehicle is already a major financial decision for many families and individuals – the last thing they should worry about is unfairly paying more for a product because of their race or national origin.” Healey said in a statement.
According to the attorney general’s office, “The complaint alleges that the dealership gave staff full latitude to mark up the prices of add-on products, and its sales history shows that Jaffarian appeared to charge black and Hispanic customers, on average, about $500. more and $400 more, respectively, for add-on products than white customers in the same situation. He said the practice “resulted in over $170,000 in unfair profit for the dealership over a two-year period.” .
Jaffarian’s attorney, Christopher J. Marino, said, “We categorically deny the allegations in this lawsuit and have cooperated fully with the Attorney General’s office since they first contacted us. We provided the Attorney General’s office with 36,000 pages of Jaffarian’s complementary product and policy documents. Jaffarian Volvo Toyota offered to sit down with the Attorney General’s office to show them, based on the data and documents produced, that there was no discrimination against anyone based on race, national origin , religion, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender or any other protected class. Jaffarian takes a strong stance against discrimination in all its forms.
Gary Jaffarian added, “Almost one-third (30%) of our 104 dealership employees are Latinx and 12.5% are African American, Asian or other non-white races or ethnicities. Most of these employees buy their cars through our dealerships. Our Haverhill-based dealerships cater to local consumers in Lawrence and the Merrimack Valley – areas with large Latinx populations – so we would be shy to discriminate in any way.
John Van Alst, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the organization applauds the attorney general’s office for “taking action to end these disturbing abuses.” NCLC research shows that discrimination is widespread in the car sales and finance industries. Ending discrimination is important to protect both car buyers and honest dealers who charge people the same price regardless of race or national origin.