SELCO's 'Free' Car-Buying Service Not SoFree

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EUGENE, Ore. - (07/02/04) -- SELCO CU agreed to settle civilcharges with the state attorney general's office requiring it tostop advertising the car-buying service operated by its SELCO GroupCUSO is free, the two parties said Thursday. The state charged thatSELCO Group, doing business as SELCO Auto Resources, misledcustomers by claiming the program was free, when it actuallycharged fees averaging $650 for the service. The company also toldcustomers that the dealers paid a marketing fee to participate inthe program, when they did not, the attorney general said. DavidKennedy, president of the CUSO, said they disagreed with theattorney general's characterization of the payment but agreed tosettle the charges instead of dragging it out through court. "We'reacting on behalf of our members who all love the service andacknowledge we're negotiating a great deal for them," Kennedy toldThe Credit Union Journal. He said the CUSO usually receives aportion of the purchase price as compensation for each transaction.Under the settlement, SELCO will pay $239,000, $119,556 of whichwill be paid as restitution to 184 Oregon customers in amounts from$100 to $1,853, and $119,556 for the state's Consumer Protectionand Education Fund.

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