Massachusetts Auto Dealer Accused of Racial Bias in Pricing

September 21, 2022

A Massachusetts car dealership illegally charged Black and Hispanic customers hundreds of dollars more for remote starters, paint protection and other add-on products than it did for white customers, the state attorney general’s office said in a lawsuit announced Monday.

The complaint filed in Essex Superior Court alleges that Jaffarian Service Inc. engaged in unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory pricing practices in violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act and the Public Accommodations Law, which prohibits race discrimination.

“Purchasing a vehicle is already a significant financial decision for many families and individuals — the last thing they should be worried about is unfairly paying more for a product because of their race or national origin,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

The dealer has denied the charges and said it has been cooperating with the attorney general.

Massachusetts Car Dealer Denies Racial Bias Charges: ‘We Would Be Hurting Ourselves’

Haverhill-based Jaffarian, which sells Volvos and Toyotas, appears to have charged Black and Hispanic customers, on average, about $500 more and $400 more respectively for add-on products than white customers, the complaint alleges.

The sales practice resulted in more than $170,000 in improper profits for the dealership in a two- year period, the complaint alleges.

The suit seeks restitution for affected customers.