A towing and auto repair business has been ordered to pay civil penalties and restitution to customers after it was found they engaged in deceptive business practices.
According to the judgment, Sun Valley Towing must pay $590,000 in civil penalties and $67,580.59 restitution.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office began investigating the towing business, located at 1354 S. 39th Avenue in Phoenix, after numerous complaints from customers. They conducted an undercover sting operation.
During the operation, a state vehicle's "inertia fuel cutoff switch" was turned off and Sun Valley Towing was called.
Sun Valley Towing towed the vehicle to its repair shop and mechanic simply reset the switch, according to the AG's office. The shop owner then allegedly charged the undercover driver $340 for replacing the fuel pump, an unnecessary repair which was never performed.
The AG's office was also investigating the business for failing to make promised repairs, keeping vehicles for months or years, and returning them stripped of parts or in worse condition, the office said.
Due to the permanent injunction, Sun Valley Towing's owners will never be able to engage in auto repair, tow operations, or vehicle sales again.
In his findings, Commissioner Benjamin Vatz stated, "Defendants engaged in a highly culpable, persistent course of callous, willful and deceptive misconduct that caused severe damage to an extraordinary number of consumers over an extended period of time. In the interests of justice, this history of unlawful practices merits injunctive relief as well as a civil penalty to the fullest extent authorized by Arizona law."
"This is the second judgment to result from our ongoing undercover auto sting operations," Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said. "The many serious complaints we received from Sun Valley customers were validated when Sun Valley Towing was caught red handed charging for repairs they never performed."
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