Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against a South Dakota-based car dealer with operations in Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Sioux City. Attorney General Tom Miller alleges that dealerships owned by Dan Nelson preyed on people with bad credit with the promise of helping them turn things around. He says the core of the lawsuit is that the promise that they’ll rehabilitate people’s credit history is broken in multiple ways, constitution consumer fraud. Miller says the Dan Nelson Automotive group dealerships got people in by promising to improve their credit by selling them a car from their lot. Miller says the people were brought to the lot with lots of cars, but given very narrow choices. He says they allege the price offered on the two or three vehicles was much higher than it should be and the customers were given an interest rate of 25 percent. Miller says Dan Nelson use the promise of a credit clean up to get the customers in even deeper. He says once the person made the transaction, they would owe more than the car is worth. Miller says you generally don’t improve your credit history by owing more on an assett than it’s worth. Miller says the company promised people once they established a payment record, they could refinance and get a different car through a better loan agreement. He says even if that happens, the person has negative equity in the car and that negative equity was included in the loan for the new car. Miller says they believe only half of the people ever got a new car. Miller doesn’t have an exact count on how many people may’ve bought cars from Dan Nelson’s dealerships, but says they’ve had some 140 consumer complaints. He says they hope to get some of the money back for the people he says were given unfair treatment. He says they’re asking for an injunction that would prohibit any kind of illegal treatment, restitution for people who were harmed, civil penalties that could be up to 40-thousand dollars a day, and he says they’re asking for the payment of lawyer’s fees to prosecute the case. Miller says the Dan Nelson Automotive group sold cars under the name of J.D. Byrider sales, the Dan Nelson Finance Super Center, and the Dan Nelson Auto Network.
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