Money. The Georgia-based 14-store Bill Heard franchise has generated massive volume despite– or because of– an entire range of deceptive practices. As Automotive News [sub] reports, "With group revenues of $2.13 billion in 2007, Bill Heard Enterprises, of Columbus, Ga., ranks No. 13 on Automotive News' list of the top 125 U.S. dealership groups based on new retail units sold." Yes, well, "Heard's Town Center dealership in Kennesaw, Ga., lied to third-party lenders about customers' incomes to increase the likelihood that the vehicles would be financed. Bill Heard's flagship Chevrolet store in Columbus, Ga., forged consumers' signatures on agreements without their knowledge or permission. Town Center inflated the loaned value of vehicles by telling third-party lenders the vehicles carried extra features and options that they did not — an illegal practice known as "power booking." In September 2007, Heard subsidiary Tom Jumper Chevrolet sent a direct mail advertisement informing recipients they might receive financing at interest rates as low as 3.9 percent. The ad went only to people with low credit scores who were unlikely to qualify for such terms." Not to mention a fake recall notice and all the other "normal" shady sales techniques. While these and other matters work their way through the courts, it seems Billy Boy's screwed GMAC one too many times. GM's captive lender has pulled the plug on Heard's biz. How long before the class action consumer lawyers come knocking on GM's door, wanting to know what The General knew about "Mr. Volume" and when they knew it.
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