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Suzuki Dealer Sues HQ Over Ads

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - A Suzuki dealer claims the corporation's deceptive advertising has harmed car dealers' reputations and left them battling lawsuits. Jeremy Franklin, who ran dealerships in Kansas and Missouri, claims the corporation's "Drive a Suzuki" and "Drive for Life" programs deceptively claim customers can drive a new Suzuki with no payments for life or for less than $100 a month.

In reality, the program is good for only 10 months to 1 year, at which time the consumer must reapply to extend the offer. If consumers are unable to get financing or refinancing, they must make full payments, which could be more than $700 a month, Franklin says.

Franklin, who has dealerships in Kansas City, Mo., and Olathe, Kan., says Suzuki should have known of the fraudulent ads because of complaints in South Carolina. He says Suzuki had the power to refuse the ads and demand that they be stopped. But it did not, and that damaged his reputation and hurt sales, forcing him to sell his Olathe dealership.

Franklin sued American Suzuki Motor Corp., Legend Suzuki and Chad Franklin, who operates Legend Suzuki in Parkville, Mo.

Jeremy Franklin claims Chad Franklin and Legend Suzuki have been sued by the Attorneys General in Kansas and Missouri and Suzuki has been sued by the Missouri Attorney General for the deceptive ads.

He seeks $10 million for fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of faith and unjust enrichment. He is represented by John Mullen with Franke, Schultz & Mullen.

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