More than 125 people have filed complaints against the owner of several web sites that guarantee low down payments and loans for cars he doesn’t own.
Oregon Attorney General Spokesperson Tony Green said, “What he’s really doing is creating a lead generator which in turn he sells to car dealers,” said Tony Green with Oregon Attorney General John Kroeger's office.
The lawsuit filed Thursday morning claims Barry Gian Francisco, of Scottsdale, Arizona and several of his web sites--including Drive with No Credit and AZ Auto Finance--violates Oregon’s Fair Trade Practices Act. He faces fines of up to 25,000 for each violation, which could add up to more than $3 million.
Green said most victims search Craigslist and respond to ads for either a specific vehicle or a guaranteed low-interest loan.
“By clicking on the ad it takes you directly to one of Gian Francisco’s websites,” said Green.
Once there consumers are asked to apply for guaranteed loans, which then ask for personal information including social security numbers.
The attorney general’s suit alleges Gian Francisco isn’t selling cars or loans, but instead is generating what is called a "lead list," which he sells to car dealers.
Consumers who thought they were signing up for guaranteed low-interest loans would then get swamped with calls from car dealers trying to sell them cars or loans at much higher rates than originally advertised.
“When they do get contact from an auto dealership the terms are totally different," Green said. "Because these ads targeted people with bad credit typically, instead of the low financing they get significantly higher financing or significant down payments and those are things they're not prepared to pay."
Green said local car dealers have done nothing wrong because they buy the lead lists in good faith.
Gian Francisco’s company has not responded to KGW e-mails or phone calls for comment.