Car liquidator found violating agreement with state AG

SEATTLE -- A car-selling scheme that raised customers' suspicions has now gained the attention of the state attorney general.

Last week's parking lot sale in Lacey drew customers in from near and far. Maria Victoria Peeler went, looking for a new truck.

"At the beginning, they said that this was an auction, but that was it. There was no details," she said. The salesmen wouldn't provide prices for any of the vehicles, Peeler said, and instead asked her how much she could pay each month.

"They weren't willing or able to provide simple information such as providing a fact sheet," she said.

Peeler walked off the lot and contacted the Problem Solvers. KOMO News went undercover to the sales lot and was told the salesmen were from G & A Marketing. The salesmen then gave the same runaround; they would not share any prices. Instead, they said no negotiations could take place until a credit check is run, and asked for personal information.

But that method doesn't sit well with Mary Lobdell of the state attorney general's office.

"No, it doesn't sound good at all," she said.

Washington was one of 10 states to take legal action against G & A Marketing in 2006 for questionable sales practices. Under the court deal, the Ohio-based car liquidator agreed their sellers would give a buyer the price when asked.

"It signed an agreement with us. If it violated that agreement, we'll certainly take a look at that," said Lobdell.

At the sale in Lacey, G & A partnered with Whitney's Auto Group from Montesano to sell their cars. Whitney, too, has had legal troubles. This year, the state won a judgment against a division of the company for many of the same questionable tactics.

Whitney's refused a request for an on-camera interview, but insisted it runs a clean operation. The company added it will rectify any of G & A's mistakes.

"They're ultimately responsible. It's their business. It's their business reputation," Lobdell said.

G & A Marketing declined a request for a response.