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Land announces suspension of Greenville auto dealership

La Fond Auto Sales issued 34 fraudulent warranties to customers

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced last Friday, January 8, that she has suspended the license of La Fond Auto Sales, 4213 West Carson City Road in Greenville, as a result of a fraud investigation by her department.

The used car dealership, owned by John Dennis La Fond and his son Jonathan Dennis La Fond, was found to have sold extended warranties to 34 customers between February 2007 and November 2009 without having sent the money to or initiated any contract with the warranty company.

“Our investigation found that La Fond Auto Sales was selling nonexistent warranty coverage to unsuspecting used car buyers. Preying on Michigan residents will not be tolerated and will be met with appropriate consequences,” Land said. “The vast majority of auto dealers represent their industry with integrity. But if a bad apple surfaces, we will move swiftly to protect the hard-working families of this state.”

Post photo by B. Fitzgerald

The Department of State’s investigation began in October 2009, when a consumer complaint was received regarding a problem with a 1995 Pontiac purchased from La Fond. The vehicle experienced engine failure only one month after the sale. A department investigator found that although the consumer had purchased an extended 48-month warranty contract for $1,799 from La Fond, the dealership had not followed through with Complete Automotive Repair Services of Murrysville, Pa. to give the consumer warranty protection. The investigator then discovered a total of 34 instances where La Fond led car buyers to believe they were purchasing warranty coverage that was never secured on their behalf.

During the investigation, the La Fonds were instructed to stop selling the fake warranties to customers. Despite this, the dealership continued the activity.

The summary suspension of the La Fonds’ dealership license prohibits them from buying, selling, offering for sale or dealing in vehicles and used vehicle parts. The suspension began Friday and continues indefinitely. The next step in the process will be the prompt scheduling of an administrative hearing to determine further administrative action such as continuation of the suspension or revocation of the license.

The Michigan State Police is pursuing a criminal investigation of John La Fond and Jonathan La Fond for obtaining money under false pretenses.

La Fond Auto Sales has been in business since Nov. 7, 2002. The department has received numerous consumer complaints about the dealership over the years, three of which led to administrative action in December 2003, April 2007 and April 2009. La Fond was issued notices of non-compliance on several issues, including failure to make title and registration in the purchaser’s name within 15 days of vehicle delivery, failure to provide copies of a document at time of signing, improper odometer disclosure and improper use of a temporary registration. In June 2009, a warning letter was sent to the dealership indicating that any additional notices of non-compliance could result in further action against its license.

The department has strongly encouraged the La Fonds to voluntarily make restitution to the defrauded customers. If the La Fonds fail to do this, the victims may need to seek redress through a civil action.

For more information on consumer rights and responsibilities, visit the department Web site at www.Michigan.gov/sos.

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