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March 21, 2005


Car dealerships targeted

From Automotive News, by way of trade group NADA:

Self-styled whistle-blower Duane Overholt is creating a nationwide referral service that will funnel complaints of dealership fraud from consumers and employees to trial lawyers. ... Overholt gained prominence last year when he was featured in a "Dateline NBC" report that criticized dealership F&I practices. As a former car salesman, Overholt says he cheated customers out of $33 million. NADA Chairman Charley Smith calls him "a self-described lawbreaker" who has "moved from fleecing consumers to fleecing dealers." Critics also note his participation in a fraud lawsuit against AutoNation Inc. that was thrown out of court in 2002. Overholt was a consultant to the plaintiff's lawyer. AutoNation spokesman Marc Cannon says Overholt seeks "to use the media as a tool to extract huge settlements from dealerships." Overholt says he plans to promote his service -- called Stop Auto Fraud Attorney Referral -- with a TV infomercial. The program will appear initially in California, New York, Texas, Florida and Maryland. He also has hired a public relations firm to place opinion columns in newspapers across the country.

More on suits against car dealers: Overlawyered, Nov. 30.

Posted by Walter Olson at 01:06 AM | TrackBack (0)



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