Anchorage used car dealership pays thousands in restitution for shady selling tactics

An Anchorage used car dealership will pay thousands of dollars in restitution after allegedly engaging in unlawful selling tactics, according to the state Department of Law. 

The state received complaints that Anchorage Auto Mart had sold vehicles without disclosing that they lacked valid titles or had reconstructed titles, said Alaska Assistant Attorney General John Haley. Haley said the Department of Law began investigating the dealership at the end of 2018, and filed a lawsuit in September 2020.

“We’re not saying that there’s necessarily anything wrong with a reconstructed title, or in some cases even, selling a vehicle that currently lacks a valid title,” Haley said. “But those things do need to be disclosed when they’re happening. So that’s what the lawsuit’s about.”

Anchorage Auto Mart was also accused of misrepresenting the accident history of vehicles and for false advertising. Owners of the dealership denied the accusations, but agreed to a legal settlement, paying $35,000 in penalties and another $60,000 toward a restitution fund for potential victims. 

Haley said people who bought a vehicle from Anchorage Auto Mart between September 24, 2014 and October 25, 2021 and believe they were victims of shady business tactics can apply to get restitution. 

“We hope that other car dealerships will sort of take this as a warning that they need to be careful and that they need to make sure they’re giving consumers complete and accurate information and that they’re following all of the laws,” Haley said.

The deadline to file a restitution claim is June 17.

Consumers can reach out to the Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit for a form online or call (907) 269-5200.

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.