Navajo Nation human rights commission hears from Tate’s Auto customers

FARMINGTON — An effort by the Office of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission to have former customers of Tate’s automotive group contact the office about a legal settlement has resulted in hundreds of contacts.

The bureau sought out consumers at closed dealerships to provide up-to-date contact information because they may be eligible for part of a $450,000 settlement reached last year between Tate and the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC filed a lawsuit in 2018 against Tate owners, accusing them of falsifying consumer information on financing documents at its dealerships in Gallup and the communities of Holbrook, Show Low and Winslow in Arizona.

This week, the Human Rights Commission office reported that more than 900 consumers had responded and provided their contact details by March 18.

Previously:Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission seeks former Tate’s Auto customers

Leonard Gorman, the bureau’s executive director, said the information gathered by the bureau was sent to the FTC this week.

According to information provided by the bureau, the FTC has a list of 4,000 customers who purchased vehicles from Tate between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2018.

“Right now, no one knows who is on that list of 4,000. Except there are people who know when they bought a vehicle from Tate’s Auto,” Gorman said.

However, consumer information gathered by the bureau will be added to the list maintained by the FTC or used to update contact information on the FTC’s list, Gorman explained.

He added that the next step in the process is for the FTC to hire a Recourse Administrator and then determine the eligibility requirements for receiving refunds through the settlement.

“Just because people bought a vehicle from Tate’s Auto during that five-year period doesn’t necessarily mean they’re eligible. We don’t know the criteria at this time,” Gorman said.

Another part of the Recourse Administrator’s job is to contact those who are eligible for the settlement, he explained.

The FTC maintains a webpage for cases that result in refunds, including companies administering refund distributions, at: www.ftc.gov/enforcement/refunds.

“For me, as director of this office, I want to make sure that every penny of this settlement goes to the Navajo people or consumers who were involved in this time period,” Gorman said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for the Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at [email protected]

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