Everyone’s had a bad dealer experience. Maybe you showed up to see a car that was already sold, or you were blindsided by a massive dealer markup. Or, if you’re recent Kia buyer in Concord, New Hampshire, maybe you had a dealership tell you about a credit-repair program that could lower your monthly payments after six months of ownership — a program that doesn’t exist.
Or, perhaps that dealer lied about your income on credit forms. Or forged your signature on loan paperwork. No matter the specific manner of your experience, it’s possible you had a bad time at Dan O’Brien Kia. If so, I have good news for you: The dealer has come to a seven-figure settlement for its malpractice, with steps to right its past wrongs.
According to a report from Automotive News, who just four years ago named Dan O’Brien himself to its 40 Under 40 awards list, the Kia dealer had a habit of taking borrowers for a ride with its loan application process. The most in-depth grift, called “the program,” involved telling loan applicants that their high monthly payments would only last six months — after that, their credit would have improved to a point where they could refinance to a lower rate. The refi never happened, and buyers were stuck with their payments.
It seems the New Hampshire Department of Justice didn’t look too kindly on “the program,” and reached a settlement with the dealer. Along with the monetary damages paid out to victims (and their attorneys), the settlement forced the dealer to change its business practices. It will be required to retrain staff, record audio and video of all finance discussions, and hire an independent monitor to ensure that everything’s done by the book.
Dealers often engage in shady business practices to earn a quick buck, but this settlement stands as a nice reminder: Once in a while, the dealers actually see some karma for their deeds.