Attorney General Maura Healey has sued J.D. Byrider, which has four buy here, pay here franchises in Massachusetts, for allegedly using predatory practices in its sale of defective vehicles with high cost installment contracts.
The AG’s lawsuit alleges that J.D. Byrider took advantage of consumers by routinely “trapping” them in an unsustainable and unfavorable sales package officials said is known as the “J.D. Byrider Program.”
According to the complaint, the attorney general’s office said consumers were unaware that J.D. Byrider priced its vehicles at more than double their retail value and required drivers to sign on to an installment contract with an annual rate of 20 percent, regardless of their credit qualifications.
Officials added that J.D. Byrider bundles its “expensive and limited” extended service contract into the contract as well, “forcing” consumers to pay 20 percent interest on that product. To get the benefit of the service contract, consumers are then required to use a J.D. Byrider service center.
The AG’s office alleges that the vehicles sold by J.D. Byrider are defective and sometimes inoperable, despite misrepresentations of time and money spent reconditioning them prior to sale. Officials said hundreds of vehicles have been returned by consumers to J.D. Byrider for repair within three months of purchase due to the mechanical breakdown of a major component such as the engine, electrical system, transmission, brakes or drive train.
The AG’s complaint further alleges that J.D. Byrider employs a faulty underwriting process that underestimates the consumer’s expenses and costs in order to qualify them for contracts they can’t afford.
As a result of these practices, the AG’s complaint alleges more than half of J.D. Byrider’s deals fail or end in repossession, causing substantial and long-term economic harm to consumers. This is not just due to the inflated costs, but also to losing transportation and suffering long-term damage to their credit.
Healey’s complaint against the defendants seeks injunctive relief and restitution for consumers, as well as penalties, costs and attorney fees.
J.D. Byrider has dealerships at four Massachusetts locations---Brockton, Dorchester, Dartmouth and Springfield.
“We allege that J.D. Byrider ripped off Massachusetts drivers by offering predatory loans for defective and inoperable cars,” Healey said. “Our goal in this lawsuit is to recover losses to Massachusetts consumers and make this company pay for the harm they caused to thousands of drivers across this state.”