Dan O’Brien Kia Hit With $1.25m Judgement for Deceptive Practices

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

“There is no choice but for them to improve. They have to find a way to meet customer expectations.” Those are the words uttered by Steve Center, Chief Operating Officer of Kia America, at this year’s L.A. Auto Show in response to questions about the brand scoring dead last in a sales satisfaction survey about its dealerships. 

Well, it seems Dan O’Brien Kia of New Hampshire either didn’t get the memo or is hell-bent on becoming the poster child for Center’s ire. After all, being told to pay $1.25 million in a deceptive practices settlement are unlikely to ingratiate the place to their brand’s COO.

As reported by Automotive News [ ]link], Dan O’Brien Kia must pay that sum to their state’s attorney general in order to resolve allegations of unfair and deceptive practices. Apparently, the bureau found dealership employees “persuaded consumers into purchasing vehicles they could not afford using deceptive sales practices; falsely inflated consumer income information on loan applications; and forged the signature of a customer on loan paperwork.” Fun stuff.

It gets worse. The AG says dealership staff at Dan O’Brien Kia roped customers with poor credit scores into some sort of rehab program which was purported to rebuild one’s financial status so long as they kept up payments for the first six months of the note. However, the AG details this as nothing more than some sort of sales pitch that had no affiliation with a bank, despite suggestions made to the contrary during vehicle negotiations. 

Beyond the financial restitution, the New Hampshire Department of Justice also set out a number of terms by which the Dan O’Brien Kia must abide. They include fun activities like hiring an independent compliance monitor for five years to review and report on its business practices plus recording audio and video of financing discussions between employees and customers.

That last decree is sure to frighten the tar out of finance clerks at Dan O’Brien Kia - at least between sessions of posting pics of their fake Rolex on social media, ignoring cash deals on their desk, and ruining the salesperson’s chance of getting a perfect CSI score on the survey.

Automotive News also states the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau was investigating Dan O'Brien Kia Concord based on a high volume of consumer complaints filed between 2019 and 2021. Good times.

[Images: YouTube]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Douglas Douglas on Dec 22, 2022

    I bought a new Vibe for my wife in 2007 and used a technique I learned from a friend. The basic rule is: NEVER talk to a salesperson at a dealership. I emailed every Pontiac dealer in a 150 mile radius telling them what we wanted and asking for a quote. I got back quotes all over the place, plus various come-ons, plus every technique under the sun to get me on the phone or into the dealership. I simply took the lowest quote, copied it and sent it back to everyone asking if anyone wanted to beat it. Like magic previous restrictions fell away, though one dealer told me to go jump. I wound up with a really fantastic offer on a Vibe with every add-on imaginable (I'd been asking all along for the most stripped down, cheapest version). Bought the car (they delivered it). In talking to them at delivery I learned this dealer had actually done a swap and gotten the car from the dealer who told me to go jump in a lake! My mechanic pointed out six months later the car needed an inspection, so I learned one other thing: if you go through a dealer's lot, look at inspection stickers. They tell you when the car arrived at the dealership. If a car has been on the dealer's lot for six months like mine, they are bound to be very motivated to sell it.

  • Dougjp Dougjp on Dec 22, 2022

    I look at the pictures and the immediate thought was, this guy woke up after a bender, upside down, and the first thing he thought of was..... lets start shaving immediately !! :)

    Why oh why seek to be ultra ugly and somehow think you are funny? Worth a smile? Worth (gulp) laughter? Huh? I don't actually (and obviously) think so !

    Reminds me of the the old song, "Just one look, that's all it took " ! And NOT in a good way, I might add :D

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.