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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit in the Alameda County Superior Court against Paul Blanco’s Good Car Company, a network of motor vehicle dealerships, and its chief executive Paul Blanco (Paul Blanco) alleging that the company engaged in a variety of unlawful business practices. These practices include false advertising regarding credit and discount programs, making false statements on credit applications, and deceiving customers regarding add-on products and additional charges. The company operates a network of seven dealership locations in California and mostly sells used vehicles. Paul Blanco targets vulnerable predominantly low-income consumers with subprime credit. For many of these consumers, a vehicle is a necessity and can be the most expensive one-time purchase they ever make. Paul Blanco’s deceitful and unlawful conduct put these families at risk.
“A car is one of the largest, and most important purchases for many families, allowing people to get to work, school, and connect to their communities,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Far from a good car company, Paul Blanco’s abhorrent conduct put vulnerable families at risk, through deceitful advertising and illegal sales and lending practices. It’s disgraceful and it’s unlawful. Working families make every dollar count. Today’s action is about protecting our families from deception and unlawful practices that swindle these dollars away, leading to unaffordable debt.”
The lawsuit charges Paul Blanco with making false statements on credit applications, including by deceiving lenders about the value of vehicles and the consumer’s ability to repay the loans. This allowed the company to boost their profits through improperly financed sales and increased the risk that the consumers would be saddled with loans that they could not afford. Paul Blanco also tricked customers into paying thousands of dollars for extra add-on products, such as service contracts and GAP insurance, by telling customers that these add-ons were required by law, or by simply concealing the extra charge. These practices increased the cost of an already substantial purchase, almost always made by taking out an expensive loan.
The company also ran numerous false and deceptive advertising campaigns on television, radio and the internet promising falsely low interest rates even for consumers who wouldn’t normally qualify for such rates to lure unsuspecting consumers to their dealership.
Attorney General Becerra stands strong to protect California consumers. In October 2017, he announced a lawsuit against the retailer Curacao for unlawfully preying on consumers across California. In November 2017, Attorney General Becerra sued for-profit Ashford University for allegations that the school engaged in unlawful business practices. Attorney General Becerra sued Navient Corporation in June 2018, charging the student loan servicer with misconduct in the servicing and collection of federal student loans. In April 2019, Attorney General Becerra secured $4.6 million in a settlement with Advantage Rent A Car and its affiliate E-Z Rent-A-Car to resolve allegations the company overbilled consumers for rental car damages. In June 2019, Attorney General Becerra sued telecommunications giants Sprint and T-Mobile to block an unlawful merger, which would reduce competition and increase costs for consumers. Attorney General Becerra has also challenged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), including denouncing the agency’s rollback of the Payday Lending Rule on February 6, 2019, and submitting a comment letter opposing the CFPB's proposed Debt Collection Practices Rule on September 19, 2019.
Click here for a copy of the Paul Blanco complaint.
Consumers who wish to file a complaint about Paul Blanco may do so at http://www.oag.ca.gov/report.